Skull and Bones: the good, the bad, the ugly – and the utterly bizarre

February 24, 2024
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Some say that Skull and Bones has spent over a decade in development, so just how good is the final release? Well, Ubisoft says it’s a game of quadruple-A quality no less, but in our opinion it’s very much a mixed bag. There are elements to commend it from a technical point of view, but equally, it falls short in so many ways. Originally conceived as an off-shoot of the naval battles in Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag, the lineage is clear – but for all the technological advances seen in the last decade, Skull and Bones is arguably worse than AC4 in some regards. Meanwhile, beyond the technology, we’ve got issues with the core game design – not to mention its bugginess and lack of consistency and polish.

Let’s talk about the positives first. The PC version of the game is competently put together and doesn’t suffer from the usual array of issues that blight many releases: there’s no shader compilation or traversal stutters, the menus and options all make sense (as they should, based on the standard Ubi template). There’s also access to a range of upscaling options and I’m reasonably confident in saying that the PC version is the best way to play the game.

There are positives on consoles too: PlayStation 5, Series X and Series S all possess 30fps quality and performance modes, targeting 30fps and 60fps respectively. There can be some minor performance drops on PS5 and Series S, but ultimately, these are minor issues and the majority of gameplay runs smoothly. The game’s early hub area does seem somewhat heavy on the CPU based on the PC version, which may be the root cause of the issues on consoles but overall, it runs nicely.

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