Sea of Thieves is not a lot of things, but expensive is one of them.

I loved the idea of an open-world adventure to share with friends, but I wasn’t about to drop a grand on something that has been getting mixed reviews.

Enter Xbox Game Pass, which gives you two weeks of the pirate life for free. Don’t stop reading if you’re a PC gamer, it works for us as well.

The process is pretty simple – go here to sign up, and opt for the 14 day free trial. Then fire up the Microsoft digital store and sign in, and click the “play with Game Pass option” – easy. It works on PC as well since this is a “Play Anywhere” title.

This is something I recommend you do, since my initial impressions of Sea of Thieves have not been good.

I haven’t played nearly enough to be comfortable giving any kind of a review, but the truth is I don’t really want to go back – even though it’s free. While the co-op nature of the game is innovative and intriguing (operating the large ship in particular requires communication and teamwork), the core gameplay loop is ultimately repetitive and not very engaging.

Sail to an island, complete a relatively simple quest against uninspired enemies (so far, for me, animated skeletons that aren’t even remotely a challenge), sail home and drop off the treasure for a reward that isn’t all that exciting either.

The islands are incredibly samey, and there’s not really much to distinguish them. The whole game is samey, which is kind of the problem. There’s a lot of promise of epic pirate battles and interaction, but I played for four hours straight and didn’t see anyone except the random crew I’d been put in game with. Some love it though, Dane certainly did (and still does); but his concerns about the game’s release in that gushing love letter all ring true for me.

I think developer Rare has plans to expand this game, but right now the sea of thieves is a shallow one indeed, with little to make me want to come back. There’s certainly not enough content as it stands to warrant the R1000 price tag, and I strongly recommend this as a “try before you buy” – it’s definitely not for everyone, and those looking for epic pirate adventures may be disappointed.

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