Xbox One, PC; Rare/Microsoft
Teamwork makes the game in this gorgeous pirate adventure, whether you’re fighting the Kraken or chasing pigs. But then the fun starts to ebb away

There are moments of astonishing beauty in pirate adventure Sea of Thieves. As the sun falls, it becomes a giant fireball on the horizon, silhouetting the craggy cliffs of some distant island. Although the visual style is painterly rather than naturalistic, it gives each moment warmth. You may not feel as if you’re really out on the open waves, but you wish you were.

There are plenty of moments like this if you play for a while. In Sea of Thieves, you spend much of your time on the ocean, sailing between the desert islands. It’s currently a game about fetching stuff. You begin alone, with a single crew member or as a squad of four, and then you’re out into the world, taking on jobs for the seafaring organisations that set up tents at every outpost. For the Gold Hoarders, you’re looking for buried treasure; for the Order of Souls, it’s the skulls of defeated foes; for the Merchant Alliance, it’s ferrying goods – mostly animals – from one place to another. The jobs are always the same: accept the mission, find the island, do the task, return to an outpost, collect payment.

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