I’ve been following developer Ubisoft Singapore’s multiplayer naval warfare game Skull and Bones since its release years ago, both as a huge fan of all things pirate-related and as someone who particularly enjoys the high seas action of Assassin’s Creed IV : Black Flag loved. I have written Game Informer’s Skull and Bones’ cover story dates back to 2022, and we’ve played the game multiple times since then in previews, betas, and more.
Despite various delays that led me to believe, Skull and Bones at least turns out to be an entertaining and competent experience. Because I’ve played so many of its parts rather than the whole thing, I think there’s something really good about the game. However, it’s hard to say how it all fits together without playing the entire package, which is a crucial aspect for any live multiplayer game.
I’ll go over what Season 1 has to offer and some of the Endgame content I saw in this latest preview. However, if you’d rather watch some gameplay and hear me talk about my time playing this time around, Check out Skull and Bones Today’s new gameplay below:
Skull And Bones: Season 1 Endgame and Bosses
The first season of Skull and Bones is called Raging Tides, and this and three subsequent seasons – Chorus of Havoc, Into the Dragon’s Wake and Shadow of the Deep – are all part of the game’s Year 1 roadmap. All in all, Year 1 is the rise of the Kingpins, Ubisoft tells me.
In Raging Tides, players face off against the Pirate King Phillippe Le Peste, a master of powerful African poisons. He is drawn to the region after hearing of the loot you have captured as the region’s leader, and sends skirmishers and headhunters to you to put an end to your rule. Finally, after you defeat enough of his armada and threaten to strangle him on the seas, La Peste will face you in the La Potence World Event, the penultimate battle against the boss in the Indian Ocean. This leads to a final decisive battle against La Peste that will end the season.
I didn’t participate in this final battle in this Skull and Bones hands-on preview, but I did play through the La Potence World event. I’m impressed with how unique this boss fight felt, especially compared to the action against other ships in the game. Admittedly, I wasn’t expecting anything more than third-person arcade shooter (ship?) action from the rest of the game – how much more varied can firing weapons from a ship while piloting the ship be? It turns out that some queues come from MMO games, a lot.
La Peste uses poison attacks to keep me moving, forcing my tank-class ship to be played differently. I can’t hide and hold a spot while I hurl cannonballs, mortars and torpedoes in La Peste’s direction. He not only targets me, but also several other areas at the same time with a barrage of poison mortars that deal damage on hit and also area damage. His greatest attack places at least eight or more green targets on the seas and seconds later each is hit with a powerful poison attack. Luckily, my teammates, especially our squad’s healer ship, are constantly firing healing mortars at me, allowing me to withstand the worst of La Peste, albeit just barely.
La Peste is also fast, meaning I have to move back and forth between its venomous barring attacks and use my ship’s three different sailing speeds to balance between running for my life or not going so fast that I I lose my ability to maneuver. After about five minutes, me and the other five pirates helped defeat La Peste and ended this world event. It’s a great time and I hope other boss fights offer similar variations on the Skull and Bones formula.
Elsewhere in Season 1, players can expect a Smuggle Pass, Ubisoft’s version of the Battle Pass for Skull and Bones. The pass gives players access to a special ship, the Barque, and themed equipment perfect for the fight against La Peste. You’ll also be able to unlock La Potence blueprints, which Ubisoft says are essential to taking on the season’s main protagonist. The ship, themed gear and blueprints are free, but you can also upgrade the Smuggle Pass for a paid premium experience to get even more seasonal offerings.
In Season 2: Chorus of Havoc, the Hubac twins of the power-hungry Compagnie Royale decide to invade the Indian Ocean, putting their status as kingpin pirates at risk once again. Sent by the King of France, the twins will make their presence known throughout the region with stronger fortresses and stronger defenses, as well as offering new opportunities for action and challenges.
The final piece of the Skull and Bones endgame puzzle I want to cover is the Hostile Takeover and Legendary Heist events. In the first case, you have to stay in a certain zone and destroy ships, buildings and fortresses, ultimately causing as much damage as possible. The more damage you do without leaving the designated zone, the better your performance. I enjoy this challenge because it forces me to stay in the middle of the action and gives me the opportunity to sail to safety for a breather.
The Legendary Heists require me and other players on the server to work together to take down a legendary captain and his armada of ships. It was extremely difficult – I failed this event twice before finally making it the third time – because not only is the captain difficult to defeat, but other players can also target me if they want. You could do this because only one ship can take the captain to a marked outpost to receive all rewards. The same goes for sea monsters like the one I take down in the New Gameplay Today episode above – only one person can contact specific traders in his head, meaning that different pirates could work with me to get the beast to kill, but this may also be just as easy for them to turn on me once the monster is dead, hoping to secure the head.
Overall, I really enjoyed browsing through the endgame content from the first season of Skull and Bones. It’s still hard to say how the entire experience fits together, and I’m still not entirely sold on a game where I play primarily as a ship rather than a pirate, but if my various hands-on options have proven anything, it’s that This Skull and Bones is better than I expected so far and is worth trying out in its final form.
Skull and Bones will be released on February 16th for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S and PC.
Will you be watching Skull and Bones next month? Let us know in the comments below!