'Skull and Bones' is about pillaging your friends' ships

It's pretty much multiplayer 'Assassin's Creed' ship fights.

Pirates are back. As the Pirates of the Caribbean movie juggernaut refuses to let Jonny Depp rest for more than a year or two, Ubisoft's Skull and Bones takes the ship battles of Assassin's Creed: Black Flag and turns them into grand-scale, five-on-five multiplayer naval warfare. It'll be a standalone title when it launches in 2018, but ahead of open-beta testing, I got to enjoy some demo time at E3. Caution: slightly shallow gameplay waters ahead.

The demo I saw was entirely multiplayer, but not everyone's ship was the same: I could choose from a mid-size Brigantine; a ramming vessel; the Sloop-of-War, which is like the sniper of pirate ships with long-range cannons; or the tank ship, the Frigate, which is slow but powerful. Raiding ships is surprisingly well-suited to squad fights, and due to my Black Flag experience, I knew exactly what I was doing. Playing with other E3 attendees offered a glimpse of how everyone could pillage the high seas. I'm still waiting to see how Ubisoft is able to spin this spin-off (it plays almost identically to Black Flag ship battles) into something that can stand alone.

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