King of Seas, from developer 3DClouds and published by Team17, promises an open world pirate adventure with action role playing elements. Out now for all major consoles as well as PCs, we couldn’t wait to set sail.
Although a present-day reference for this genre would probably be the Xbox title Sea of Thieves, older gamers probably fondly remember Sid Meier’s Pirates and the top down perspective that King of Seas uses certainly brings back memories of that 1987 classic, which was remade about fifteen years ago as well. It was one of the first open world games for many, and the sandboxy nature of King of Seas shows once again that the pirate theme is a good fit for it.
Narratively, you play as an outcast, a son to a murdered king who has been framed for the crime and pushed into a life of secrecy and piracy. Story delivery isn’t front and center here though, as the focus is much more on the gameplay loop that you end up in after the initial stages of the game set the scene for you.
As these games go, you’ll start off with a small ship, with which you’ll start navigating the nearby seas – something that actually takes a fair bit of time and involves taking into account which direction the wind is coming from and taking advantage of favorable weather conditions while steering clear of the royal navy that’s after you.
There’s also a touch of the supernatural here, with large sea monsters also putting you in danger. Combat’s fairly simple though, and certainly evokes memories of the pirate-themed games of the past – positioning yourself to the side of your enemy so you can unleash your cannons, carefully maneuvering so he doesn’t get away or moves out of range of your shots.
Despite the sandbox nature of the game, the narrative – combined with RPG mechanics – makes sure you keep pushing forward. Completing missions grants you XP, and as a good pirate you’re frequently finding treasure or looting other people’s ships. This all allows you to upgrade your ship and its various parts, letting you tackle bigger dangers. You can also engage in side objectives that are granted in the ports you visit, or trade goods to make a bit of extra money.
It may be a tad formulaic at times, but it’s a nice return to the genre for those who fondly remember what came before. If you don’t, then you might find the combat underwhelming and the story not engaging enough. Recommended to fans of Sid Meier’s early work.