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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