Sea of Thieves has come a long way. After a lacklustre launch, many thought the game to be dead in the water but skip a year later and the game filled all that open water with a ton of content. One feature that has finally made its way into the game is fishing, which has been a highly requested feature from day one but on top of that they have added cooking too and a new faction that focuses on fishing and hunting. Though there are some minor gripes with all of this. But first, let’s sink into the good stuff.
There is a lot of fish to catch from colourful little fish to oddly cute anglers. All of which have lore-specific names like Stormfish, which acts as a Marlon/Swordfish as well as Wreckers that live close to shipwrecks and look like Anglers. Each fish has specific conditions that need to be met in order to be caught. Pondies, for example, are only found in freshwater ponds on islands while Anglers are found near shipwrecks and each has preferred bait, or at least, that’s what it says as I’ve caught some of these without any bait. As far as fish go, there are quite a few to keep players busy with because one can’t help but feel like there is a need to catch them all.
I have mixed opinions on the fishing itself. It feels a little bland compared to other games. The animation, audio and vibration cues are on point and the fact that we can fish while on a moving ship is amazing. Seeing a fish chase our line is always exciting as everyone gatherers round to see what you attracted but once the fish bites it feels like more of a long-winded chore than a struggle. Players are required to move the line in the opposite direction that the fish is swimming in and it’ll move directions for a bit until it gets tired then players are required to hold RT (on the Xbox) to reel it in until it puts up a fight again. There has been a general consensus amongst my friends and myself and that is it’s not as challenging as Red Dead Redemption 2’s fishing, which requires players to rotate the right analogue stick to reel in a fish which actually tires you out after awhile. Maybe that’s an unfair comparison but I can’t help but feel that the act of catching the fish itself lacks that “Aargh! My finger is aching but I nearly got it!” flare which ends up making the bigger, more aggressive fish more of a dragged out waiting game rather than an exciting battle between fish and hungry pirate.
Despite this, what we can do with the fish once we have caught it is where I get the most enjoyment. Besides selling it to the new faction, The Hunter’s Call, players can cook it and then eat it for a very nice health regen pool that regenerates lost health at the cost of draining from the regen pool. It’s a nice touch and makes up for those annoying missteps off a cliff that should have killed you but didn’t because your pegleg is apparently stronger than it seems.
This goes the same for shark, chicken, pig, Kraken and Megladon meat. The sharks aren’t the only hungry things on the Sea of Thieves now. Annoyingly, chicken and pigs seem to have become tanks, or maybe they always have been, I’ve never had any incentive to hunt them until now and they take a ridiculous amount of shots, sword strikes and power attacks to kill. At the end of the day, I’d rather go smack a snake that only takes a few hits. Everyone in my crew avoids hunting chicken and pigs all together as they take way too many hits than what makes sense. Either that or we are doing something wrong.
The cooking is fun too. Besides the sizzling noise that has made me crave Stir Fry more than usual, the only indication of how well cooked the food is, is the colour, smoke and sound. The meat goes from pink to a tan colour then to brown which comes with a slight difference in sound, the only thing I can compare it to is the sound of cooking oil. That’s when it’s perfect, anything longer than that would cause it to turn black and burnt which gives you no health at all besides an achievement so maybe doing it once is worth it. Different sizes of meat and fish take different times to cook. The smallest being a snake which takes more or less one and a half minutes. There is always something on the stove in our ship; this combined with fishing makes those long voyages across nothing but water a lot more fun.
There is a lot more to the Sea of Thieves Anniversary Update and I hope there is still a lot more to come as the future of this game is looking like a glinting jewel on the horizon.