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Jordan Smith

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Review Date:

27/05/21, 08:12

King of Seas Review

Avast Matey's Another week has gone by, and this week we have been pirating with scurvy crewmates across the 7 seas in 3D Clouds latest title King of Seas. This Pirating adventure has been out a couple of days now on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch, and here at 3Bit, we have spent many hours exploring and plundering the vast oceans to find out what treasures this game may hold. But is this game a chest of gems or gold? Find out in our full review below.

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Gameplay: A Pirates Life For Me

"King of Seas brings a more tactile approach to pirating games than we have seen in more modern pirate-themed games"

King of Seas is an all-new Pirating experience where players sail across a large open world in a quest to prove their innocence whilst also being able to explore, trade and pirate their way across the Kingdom of Seas, meeting a variety of colourful characters and battling the many dangers that prowl the 7 Seas. King of Seas brings a more tactile approach to pirating games than we have seen in more modern pirate-themed games, and when compared to pirating hits such as Assassins Creed: Black Flag and Sea of Thieves, King of Seas is in fact very unique, offering a top-down perspective. 


Unfortunately, due to the vastness of this game, there is also a lot of empty space. You can often find yourself sailing for a fair while before finding a port to trade at or repair your ship, but harder than that is finding other ships, which at one early point of the game felt near impossible even though I had a quest to destroy ships. After completing the introductory quests, I quickly found myself getting bored of King of Seas due to how much grinding I had to do to face the first "boss stage". The grinding in itself was stretched further by a plethora of factors, including having to regularly return to ports for repairs. Of course, you could pick a fight closer to the ports, but if the battle went a bit too close to it, then the town would cut you off for a short while, firing at you from turrets 20-50 levels above your own meaning you either had to sale around for 15-30 minutes finding a new port to repair at or you'd have to die and respawn back at your home base, no matter where you last docked or how far away it was from your last objective.

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 These frustrations are further added to by how King of Seas has balanced the AI. Whilst it is effortless to run circles around ships in combat, you will often find that as battles began, you are extremely underpowered in comparison and will find yourself just getting dizzy and bored pressing the same 2 buttons time after time with the odd occasion where you can press a third to activate an ability that has the capability to again graze your opponents slightly. Meanwhile, your opponent will usually have a lot more cannons than yourself, and you will find yourself being taken out in a few shots from their cannons. Eventually, as expected, you become a little bit stronger thanks to the loot you may receive from destroyed ships when you grind, but King of Seas does not become any more exciting, as the combat plays out the same way almost every single time. While it was refreshing not having to return to port after every fight, the battles all still end up following the same formula of sail around them, fire the cannons, it became tedious. 


I managed to find a bit of solace with the games trading aspect, which offered a little bit more excitement when compared to the combat. Eventually, as I unlocked more of the map through progression, I found myself bouncing between them, all rapidly building my money. Unfortunately, this too can be seen as very tedious, but it did ultimately help me get a bigger ship with more cannons, which in turn sped up the combat with other ships a bit more. 


My final frustration with the gameplay in King of Seas came from the menu system. Whilst everything was nicely presented in a very well displayed art style, there was no indication in the form of words as to what I was actually looking at. Further adding to that, I found the default controller layout a bit weird too. I was using the thumbstick to access a frustratingly blank map and could not be revealed through exploration. Instead, you had to grind more money to buy small segments from cartographers. I think it would have made more sense to make the map open up through exploration, especially as there is a lot of empty space in the seven seas, with the occasional hidden treasure dotted around it. It would have made pathfinding a bit more interesting as you sailed around the islands and more dangerous areas hunting for the ports. The Cartographers could still have a use by being more of a guide, highlighting points of interest like the ports or some of the forts that are scattered throughout the Kingdom of Seas. 

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Audio: No Shanties On My Ship

"A soundtrack which fails to bring you into the moment a lot of the time, due to its general tone or too often surprisingly silent moments"

While King of seas does have a soundtrack, it fails to bring you into the moment a lot of the time due to its general tone or surprisingly silent moments where you are just left with the sound of waves as you sail across a barren stretch of sea. With no soundtrack during the exploration and occasionally during combat, the game can become incredibly uninspiring as you find yourself not as immersed as you might be with a fast-paced battle piece or soothing shanty as you sail the Seven Seas. What soundtrack usually does exist usually lasts for a few minutes before fading to silence, and even then, it can feel out of place as there have been times where I had a fast-paced piece playing, which I would've associated with a battle, but as I continued to sail around, I couldn't see any signs of battle or excitement, such as a Kraken tentacle that may occasionally sprout from the water to smash up your ship.


King of Seas was also distinctly missing voice acting, something that could have really brought its colourful characters to life. Each character has a very unique appearance, and whilst I appreciate this isn't a big-budget game, I feel that even if just the main cast of characters had a voice, this game could have offered a lot more to its story, especially through the more story-heavy segments of the game. Instead of voice acting whenever somebody talks, we have the constant scratching of writing. While it carries a certain charm of its own, it can become very tiresome during the more lengthy conversations that take place during King of Seas story. 

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Story: Voodoo Pirates

"A fantastic story that is unfortunately undercut by the core gameplay and heavy text-based conversations"

King of Seas offers a fantastic story that is unfortunately undercut by the core gameplay and heavy text-based conversations. In King of Seas, we play as a Prince or Princess who is the heir of the Kingdom of Seas. During our first expedition as a captain for the Royal Navy, the King is killed by Voodoo magic. We are Intercepted and told of this news by other Royal Navy Ships before being falsely accused, and our ship is sunk. By some miracle, we are saved by pirates, loyal to the King, who find our shipwreck and welcome us to our ranks. From there, our adventure across the seven seas begins as we learn the ways of the pirates and use their teaching to uncover the truth surrounding the Kings death. 


There are many great moments within the King of Seas Story, from deception And conspiracy through to the use of Voodoo, but unfortunately, a lot of it feels extremely drawn out. The core Story is there, and there is a lot of excitement, but with the way the gameplay ties in through grinding and the plethora of fetch quests, it feels like you need a catch-up segment before moving into the next story piece. Overall the story itself is an enjoyable aspect. However, with the rest of the game, it feels very padded out and overall not as exciting as it could have been. 

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Graphics: As Wild As The Sea

"There is a lot to take in in King of Seas and the graphics are not dreadful, unfortunately, what is lacking is individuality"

When playing the main game, the graphics to King of Seas are not dreadful. There is a lot to take in, from the sandy beaches of the archipelagos as you sail on by to the more intricate inland areas filled with little towns and landmarks which, through the topdown perspective, look like models. Unfortunately, what is lacking is individuality. Almost every port looks the same, with very little difference between them, other than a variety of landmarks, many of which look out of place, such as ancient viaducts that stretch across the coves or a stone henge monument. The overall environment felt very off theme with what the game is ultimately about, Pirates and the Navy. I would have loved to have seen more naval/ pirate themed landmarks dotted around the map, such as Skull shaped coves, dry docks or even a tiny castaway or treasure hunter on one of the smaller islands. 


In terms of the art style during the story however, I found myself somewhat bemused by the character designs. Each character had a distinctly unique appearance reminiscent of the art style of children's illustrator Quentin Blake. When I first saw how these characters were designed, I was sceptical, especially with the Royal Navy Characters in their wigs, but as the cast expanded into the Pirates, I found them rather amusing and felt that they added that much-needed level of fun to King of Seas. 

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Review Summary:

Playable

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Gameplay: A Pirates Life For Me

Audio: No Shanties On My Ship

Story: Voodoo Pirates

Graphics: As Wild As The Sea

Overall, King of Seas is a title that has a lot of potential with improvement. If rebalanced to make the game a bit less of a "grindfest" could end up being enjoyable. Unfortunately, in the state it is in, I have found it very tedious and rather dull. That is why we are giving King of Seas 5 Bits out of 10.  I hope that we do see some future improvements to King of Seas so that anybody who is trying to save the seven seas can do so without spending hours sailing an empty sea looking for that next ship to hunt. For more King of Seas, be sure to check out the trailer below! 

Pros:

  • A Pretty Strong Story


  • Comfortably Acceptable Graphics


  • A Good Playtime

Cons:

  • No Voice Acting vs Heavy Text Conversations


  • Repetative Set Design


  • Too many quiet moments, with nothing to do


  • No Soundtrack,  NOT EVEN A SEA SHANTY

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