Skull and Bones: Ubisoft's follow-up to its most acclaimed game is here, and it's not very good

Assassin's Creed: Black Flag is supposed to be the good one. Supposedly the fourth mainline entry in the series (but actually the sixth), Black Flag revolutionized the Assassin's Creed formula by essentially throwing out the Assassins altogether and leaning hard into the fantasy of being a rip-roaring, swashbuckling pirate explorer. The series has never felt quite as fresh or creative since, and Black Flag is often cited as its high point next to perennial favorites like Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. It's certainly the single best pirate game ever made.

A follow-up that focused exclusively on Black Flag's acclaimed sailing and piracy mechanics without the restrictions that come with the Assassin's Creed branding, then, should have been a slam dunk for Ubisoft. Enter Skull and Bones, which promised just that- but with years of development hell, multiple internal reboots, and constant staff reshuffling, the game seemed to be as cursed as the Black Pearl. Sending it to Davy Jones' locker wasn't an option, either- Ubisoft was obligated to complete the game by an agreement with the Singaporean government, no matter what. Now, however, Skull and Bones has finally materialized- and players aren't happy with it.

Even the game's own dedicated subreddit has turned against it, with some of the most common complaints including mechanical steps back from Black Flag, which is more than a decade old, shallow gameplay, bizarre technical bugs, and more. Unfortunately, this seems to have become Ubisoft's Duke Nukem Forever. Just stick to Sea of Thieves—or better yet, Black Flag hasn't gone anywhere.