Skull and Bones

Ahoy, mateys! Get ready to set sail on a thrilling pirate adventure in Skull and Bones. Developed by Ubisoft Singapore, this game takes you back to the Golden Age of Piracy in the 17th century. Drawing inspiration from Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag’s naval combat, Skull and Bones offers a more elaborate and immersive experience.

But Skull and Bones isn’t just about sailing the open seas. It’s a game of strategy and skill as you navigate treacherous waters, engage in intense ship-to-ship combat, and build your pirate legacy. Let’s jump in and take a look at the game’s features, gameplay mechanics, strengths, and weaknesses.

Skull and Bones

Skull and Bones Details

Platform(s): PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, PC, Amazon Luna and GeForce NOW
Developer(s): Ubisoft Singapore
Publisher(s): Ubisoft
Genre: Action-adventure, naval combat
Mode(s): Online multiplayer
ESRB Rating: M (Mature 17+)

Unleashing the pirate’s tale

While Skull and Bones’ primary focus is its multiplayer piracy experience, it still offers a decent story that sets the stage for all the high-seas action. The game takes place on the waters of the 17th-century Golden Age of Piracy. As you embark on your adventure, you find yourself shipwrecked in the midst of a massive battle, setting the stage for your rise through the ranks. The story unfolds in the pirate haven of Sainte Anne, where you must prove yourself to the pirate kingpin, John Scurlock.

From here, you encounter a cast of characters and events that shape your story and reputation as you try to become the most feared pirate on the open seas. I feel that one of the game’s strengths of the story is its ability to immerse you in the pirate lifestyle and the challenges that they face. In this aspect, Skull and Bones does a good job of capturing the essence of the era, showcasing the cutthroat nature of piracy and the constant struggle for power and riches.

I also enjoyed my interactions with the game’s various characters and factions. It adds depth to the story, offering opportunities for alliances, betrayals, and unexpected twists. While the story in Skull and Bones may not be groundbreaking or revolutionary, it successfully sets the stage for an exciting and immersive pirate adventure.

Skull and Bones

Conquering the high seas one ship at a time

Skull and Bones gameplay revolves around naval combat and exploration of the vast open world. With its focus on sailing the ocean, pillaging ports, and engaging in intense ship-to-ship battles, the game delivers a unique and immersive pirate adventure. The highlight of Skull and Bones’ gameplay is undoubtedly its naval combat mechanics. Controlling your ship feels incredibly satisfying, as you navigate the waves, adjust sails, and strategically positioning your cannons for devastating broadsides.

The combat is fast-paced and strategic, which requires you to consider factors like wind direction, ship positioning, and the type of ammunition used. And, each ship has its own strengths and weaknesses, adding depth and variety to the gameplay. Customization is another strong point for Skull and Bones. You are able to customize your ship with various weapons, sails, and figureheads, each offering unique stats and attributes. I really like this because it allows for a tailored playstyle and strategic decision-making when it comes to ship loadouts.

The open world of the Indian Ocean is just waiting to be explored. From hidden islands and shipwrecks to trading routes and hostile NPCs, there’s always something to discover. The game’s dynamic weather system and day-night cycle add to the pirate lifestyle immersion, creating a living and breathing world. However, there are areas of the gameplay that could use improvement. For instance, the gameplay loop can become repetitive and grindy, as I often found myself performing similar tasks to level up my ship and to unlock new items. Additionally, the lack of gameplay not on your ship, similar to Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, is a missed opportunity that would have added more diverse experiences on land.

Skull and Bones

Visual splendor and immersive sound

Skull and Bones uses the AnvilNext engine for detailed textures, realistic lighting, and breathtaking water physics. The waves, splashes, and reflections make every moment on the open seas a visual spectacle. The diverse landscapes and wildlife of the Indian Ocean add further variety to the game’s visuals, with each region offering its own unique climate and culture.

However, there are a few minor visual issues that I encountered while playing that I feel are worth mentioning. Occasionally I encountered camera glitches making it hard to see where I was going and some of the game’s environmental textures would glitch. Luckily these issues weren’t frequent and only momentarily disrupt the game’s otherwise immersive experience.

The sound design in Skull and Bones is pretty impressive. The crashing of waves, the creaking of wooden ships, and the roar of cannons do a great job in creating an immersive audio experience. And, Skull and Bones’ soundtrack is filled with epic and swashbuckling tunes that do a good job of complementing naval battles and exploration. Finally, while the story may not be Skull and Bones’ strongest point, the voice acting is solid, with the characters bringing the pirate world to life through their performances.

Multiplayer adventures

Where Skull and Bones really shines is in its multiplayer component. It’s an engaging experience that allows you to team up with friends across all platforms, or compete against other players in PvP events. The game’s multiplayer aspect is designed as an online live service, ensuring a dynamic and ever-evolving pirate world.

In multiplayer mode, you can form fleets with up to two friends to take on the challenges of the high seas. Whether it’s playing cooperative missions or engaging in intense naval battles, Skull and Bones’ multiplayer component adds a new layer of excitement and camaraderie to the game. While my multiplayer experience with Skull and Bones was generally enjoyable, there are a few potential drawbacks that I feel are worth mentioning.

The first concern revolves around Skull and Bones’ longevity and potential lack of content in the multiplayer mode. While Ubisoft has promised regular updates and new content, at this point it isn’t quite sure how frequently these updates will be released and if they will provide enough variety to keep players engaged. Finally, during my playtime with the game, I did experience occasional matchmaking issues and connectivity issues.

Skull and Bones

Skull and Bones is a fun and enjoyable pirate adventure with a few drawbacks

Skull and Bones offers a captivating pirate adventure that will appeal to fans of naval combat and open-world exploration. The game’s visuals, immersive sound design, and realistic sailing mechanics create a truly immersive experience on the high seas. The multiplayer aspect adds an exciting dimension, allowing you to team up with friends or compete against others in PvP events.

However, Skull and Bones does have its drawbacks. The lackluster story and repetitive missions can feel generic and grindy at times. And, the limited gameplay options away from the ship left me wanting more. Additionally, there are occasional camera and graphical glitches that can momentarily disrupt the experience.

Despite these flaws, Skull and Bones remains a fun and enjoyable pirate adventure that offers plenty of swashbuckling action and the opportunity to build your own pirate legacy.

+ Thrilling and satisfying naval combat
+ Vast open world with endless opportunities to explore and plunder
+ The ability to customize your ship with different weapons, sails, and figureheads, allows for personalized gameplay experiences

– Lackluster story with cliched characters
– Repetitive missions that at times can feel grindy


Gameplay: 3.5/5
Graphics: 3/5
Sound: 4/5
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 3.5/5

Overall Rating 3.4/5 (68%)

Purchase Skull and Bones on PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X|S

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Jon Scarr
Jon is the Gaming Editor and is based in Toronto. He is a proud Canadian who has a serious passion for gaming. He is a veteran of the video game and tech industry with over 20 years experience. You can often find Jon streaming the latest games on his YouTube channel. Jon loves to talk about gaming and tech, come say hi and join the conversation with Jon on Threads @4ScarrsGaming and @4Scarrsgaming on Instagram.


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