Skull And Bones Review – A Worse Version Of AC Black Flag

Ubisoft's claimed world's first AAAA game, is it worth buying?

Should You Get Skull And Bones?
  • Story And Setting
  • Gameplay
  • Visuals And Performance


Skull and Bones falls short of being a deserving successor to Assassin’s Creed Black Flag, and it also lacks substantial elements to support Ubisoft’s assertion that it is the first-ever AAAA title.


  • Good Performance
  • Engaging Naval Combat
  • Amazing ship mechanics


  • Lacking On-foot Combat
  • Subpar voice acting
  • Poorly built character mechanics
  • Most of the land is inaccessible
  • Repetitive gameplay

I have been an Assassin’s Creed franchise fan for over 10 years. Assassin’s Creed Black Flag, my favorite pirate game, made me excited and eager to try out Skull and Bones, which has been in development under many different Ubisoft studios for the past 11 years

Key Takeaways
  • Developer: Ubisoft Singapore
  • Publisher: Ubisoft
  • Release Date: February 16, 2024
  • Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S
  • Game Length: 25+ hours
  • Time Played: 30+ hours
  • Editors Note: We thoroughly tested the game on PC, trying out its various mechanics in our 30 hours of playtime.

Regarding Skull and Bones, Ubisoft has made huge claims, calling it the world’s first Quadruple A game to defend its $70 price tag while investing more than $120 million and 11 years of development. Unfortunately, Skull and Bones delivers on none of those ends.

Story And Settings

Skull and Bones Story
Skull and Bones Story Setting [Image by eXputer]
Ubisoft has set Skull and Bones in the 17th-century Indian Ocean. Our main goal as players is to explore the seas and make a name for ourselves. The main story follows the character’s rise from a lowly sailor to a legendary pirate. Apart from that, Skull and Bones focuses on very few characters. You might think the story must be engaging if it focuses on fewer characters.

Sadly, that is not the case, as Skull and Bones lacks the the narrative depth you’d expect from a pirate adventure. Interactions with English Pirate Captain John Spurlock and the Political Admiral Rahma offer very little intrigue, and the contract they offer leaves a lot to be desired.

sailing through Indian Ocean
Sailing through the Indian Ocean [Image by eXputer]
So, if you are playing Skull and Bones with the thought of being able to enjoy a campaign, then you are at the wrong place, my friend. Skull and Bones is definitely not a story-rich game, but if you want to enjoy the seas and roam around for hours while sinking ships, it is the game you are looking for.

Skull and Bones is not a story-rich game, but the ship-to-ship combat is way more enjoyable than I thought it would be.

Having spent more than 30 hours playing Skull and Bones, I find myself disengaged from the underwhelming story and campaign it offers.


Skull and Bones gameplay offers only naval combat. You won’t find any on-foot pirate combat or intense gunfights in Skull and Bones. The only time you get to feel the thrill of a shootout is when the cannons are blazing during ship-to-ship combat. While I enjoyed the naval combat retrospectively, my initial impressions were underwhelming.

Skull and Bones Gameplay image
Skull and Bones Gameplay image [Image by eXputer]
A lot of time is invested in making the ship combat more arcady and enjoyable, but barely any time has been dedicated to the most essential aspects, like character movement. The character’s movement feels sluggish and floaty, which is downright annoying. Even after lifting my hands from the movement key, the character still moves in that direction for a few milliseconds.

Skull and Bones 1st person view
Skull and Bones 1st person view [Image by eXputer]

Ubisoft might have invested a lot of time and money to make the ship combat more realistic and enjoyable but didn’t dedicate enough time to even the most essential aspects, like character movement.

Besides the clunky character movement, the NPC’s voice acting is also robotic during some conversations, besides having bad audio lip-synch.

Another gameplay feature that left me speechless is the crew boarding. The game skips to the win screen as soon as the ropes are thrown, and there is not even a cutscene that showcases any fight that breaks out during the boarding.

Crew boarding in Skull and Bones
Crew boarding in Skull and Bones [Image by eXputer]
However, it doesn’t end there; there are a lot of islands and settlements out there in Skull and Bones, and barely any of them are accessible. The best you can do at a settlement is trade different items or plunder these settlements, but you cannot dock your ship on any of them, apart from a few selected spots like Sainte Anne.

At least the settlements are interactable, but as for most of the islands, you cannot perform any action at all. All you see is a piece of land that is useless.

Ship Mechanics And Customizations

Moving on to the ship mechanics, Skull and Bones introduces somewhat of an arcade-style ship combat. Personally, I feel like Skull and Bones is not missing anything in the case of ship mechanics; everything seems to be okay.

The ship movement and the different shooting styles for front and side cannons seem to be an exciting addition. However, it doesn’t mean that there are no flaws in the ship’s mechanics. 

Skull and Bones Ship Customization
Skull and Bones Ship Customization [Image by eXputer]
As for the customization, it is well-designed, and nothing is missing in the case of ship customization. You can unlock new weaponry for your ship, unlock whole new ships, and can even change the ship’s attire. The path towards being the best on the sea is what Skull and Bones is all about.

Excellent Naval Combat, But That’s All It Has To Offer

After seeing so many flaws in Skull and Bones, I thought I would never touch this game again, but that was not the case. Despite all of that, I enjoyed Skull and Bones, especially the minigames. It may not meet the fans’ expectations, but the ship-to-ship combat is way better than any pirate game I have played.

You won’t find any on-foot pirate combat or intense gunfights in Skull and Bones.

Skull and Bones has excellent naval combat. The ship-to-ship battles are refined and way more enjoyable than I thought. You will have a great time in Skull and Bones if you only care about ship battles.

Skull and Bone Naval Combat
Skull and Bone Naval Combat [Image by eXputer]
Even though the ship combat felt great at first, the gameplay still got repetitive later as I found myself repeating similar missions and contracts throughout the course of the game. There isn’t really anything else to keep things fresh, and its core mechanics don’t expand enough to keep players engaged for several hours.

However, I think that’s it; there are no other aspects of Skull and Bones that stand out from other pirate-themed games. 

Visuals and Performance

Skull and Bones Visuals
Skull and Bones Graphics Detail [Image by eXputer]
Regarding the visual aspect of Skull and Bones, I think they are pretty much according to today’s standards. I find no issues with the visuals, and some places are well-built. NPCs are designed very well, of course, if we ignore the terrible voice acting and robotic sounds.

Regarding the performance, my first experience was not so good as it crashed during the loading screen of my first launch. When I gave it a second chance and made it to the gameplay screen, I was surprised by the game’s performance despite its graphically demanding performance.

Performance on my PC
Performance on my PC [Image by eXputer]

FPS Dedicated Area

While running it on a Ryzen 5 5600x and 6700XT, I was easily able to cross 60 FPS in Ultra High graphics settings in 1080p while being in the sea, with FSR off; however, these frames drop during the combats but at max by 10 to 5 frames, not more than that. Skull and Bones could easily cross 90 FPS with FSR set to quality. While on land, these FPS went up by 10 to 15 frames as those areas were less busy.

Running Skull and Bones on Ryzen 5 5600x and 6700XT, I was easily able to cross 60 FPS in Ultra High graphics settings in 1080p with FSR off.

After the initial crash, I was surprised to get such a good performance because I thought the game would keep crashing. Many people have been saying they are facing crashing issues in the game, but it hasn’t crashed for me since then. 


Skull and Bones
Skull and Bones [Image by eXputer]
Skull and Bones falls short of being a deserving successor to Assassin’s Creed Black Flag, and it also lacks substantial elements to support Ubisoft’s assertion that it is the first-ever AAAA title.

I see this game nowhere close to the claim of being a Quadruple A, and the price tag of $70 also makes no sense. However, if Ubisoft decides to decrease the price, I am sure you will see many players in the seas of Skull and Bones.

With all of the above opinions, my review of Skull and Bones ends. While you are here, make sure to have a look at our other games, reviewed by our competent game reviewers.

This is box title
Get This Game

If you only want to play as a pirate and roam around the sea while sinking ships.

Dont Get This Game

If you are an Assassin’s Creed Black Flag fan or don’t like pirate-themed games.

Do I Need To Get This Game

Not in the current price tag.

Alternative Skull and Bones Games
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
Sea of Thieves 
Pirate Caribbean Hunt
Atlas Video Game
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Moiz Banoori is the brains behind eXputer. Having worked at various Video Game sites, with 8 years of Content Writing Experience and a Journalism Degree at hand, he presently monitors teams, creates strategies, and publishes qualified pieces through his aptitude at eXputer. Feel free to get in touch with him through his gaming profile on Steam and PSN.

Experience: 8+ Years || Manages Teams, Creates Strategies, and Publishes Guides on eXputer || Education: Bachelors in Journalism.

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