KING OF SEAS (ALPHA PREVIEW)
By Mark "Demius" Bronneberg on December 1, 2020
I had the opportunity to play the alpha preview for King of Seas. Since I have always dreamt of being a pirate, Arrrrgghhh, this is an opportunity I couldn't pass up. King of Seas is an action RPG in which you control your own pirate ship. The alpha release starts by choosing a male or female pirate and a difficulty. I choose the normal/ medium difficulty (I was going to regret this really soon). Once the game got past its initial cutscenes I could sail my own boat and there was a timer on my screen. Damnit I'm only allowed to play this for 45 minutes. But let me tell you those were some hectic minutes and it seems I was ALMOST the worst pirate ever to sail the seven seas...
Since the game is in its alpha stage I am not going to spoil the story... But without spoiling anything, I can tell you it was a bit shallow in places... hahahahaha! Damn, I love these pirate jokes.. Okay, okay, on to more serious shores, like the difficulty. I got my ass handed to me 8 times in those first 30 minutes. I even died during the first 'tutorial mission', during which I had to take out a tiny boat. As soon as the map opened up and I had a chance to explore. From this point on, I seemed to have the extraordinary ability to always run into frigates of war or pirate hunters twice the size of my own boat, and carrying 10 times the canons. Let's just say this tiny pirate boat never stood a chance. But to be fair, this never felt like 'normal' difficulty to me.
There is a skill tree that you can use to upgrade yourself in three categories: navigation, battle and voodoo (magic). But the 45 minutes were too short to really explore any of these. You can also find and equip special skills or find crewmembers which provide you with these skills. These skills can be used during battle to turn the odds in your favour. The skill I acquired was the ability to use a mighty flamethrower. After being used these skills go into a short cooldown period. Your boat has an inventory and you can equip better sails or canons. Pro tip: old shipwrecks are great for looting and getting new equipment for your boat. Gameplay took me a few minutes to get used to; the ship has three sails, the more you put on the faster it goes. At zero sails you come to a stop and can loot or explore special places on the map (I wonder what all the red X's are for...)
The graphical style of this game is really cool, I love the story bits where there are hand drawn paintings, which reminded me of some Zelda games story sections. Sadly my gaming PC (which used to be a beast 7 years ago), isn't much nowadays. I could still play the game on minimum-medium settings, so it looked okay and was quite playable. The game ran fine on these minimum requirements. Sounds are nice but nothing too fancy.
When I got near the 45 minute mark, something scared me half to death: The day-night cycle turned to night. Now, that in itself is no problem, it's not like I'm afraid of the dark anymore. No honestly, I'm not! I was just cruising around the high seas, minding my own business and trying to find some merchant ships to raid, when a freaking GHOST SHIP appeared. It was huge and had an eerie blue glow surrounding it. Let me tell you; it was a super cool encounter! Of course, the thing had 15 cannons, all of which it used to fire at me (my tiny boat has 3). Luckily, I managed to trick the AI somehow into going into circles, and since my tiny boat was a little quicker I could stay ahead of of the spectral vessel. This meant my cannonballs would always hit their mark, while its volleys would always miss. It was a close call but I managed to destroy the GHOST SHIP!!!
So, after my victory dance and a heartfelt pirate "Arrrrggghh", I anxiously awaited the epic loot I would get for killing my ghostly opponent! I received the 'Shark' skill... Huh? Why does a pirate need a shark? I equipped and tried out the skill and Jaws appeared; a really, really huge shark, even bigger than my boat, which I could direct at enemy vessels. Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! It was time to get revenge on all those pirate hunters and frigates of war that plagued the first 30 minutes of my Alpha playthrough! But like all good things, it didn't last; my game timer was almost down to zero... I tried to use my new-found skill, but never got my aim with the shark right, so I didn't get to see it in proper action (sad pirate face).
In the end, 45 minutes is a bit short to come to a thorough conclusion, but I can tell you that I enjoyed the time I spent on this alpha playthrough of King of Seas. The difficulty was way too high for my taste, though. It's really rough when you only have a tiny boat yourself and all enemies have huge frigates with multiple canons. The ghost ship and funny shark skill were amazing and I'm curious to see what the developers will come up with next. This surely is a game to keep an eye (preferably the one without the patch) on if you like being a pirate captain and reign the seven seas, or if you want to direct huge sharks at unsuspecting merchant vessels...
KING OF SEAS (ALPHA PREVIEW)
Full game release: TBA