Why is Skull and Bones Worse Than Assassin’s Creed Black Flag?

After more than a decade of development, Ubisoft has finally released Skull and Bones. This game about pirates was inspired by the legendary Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, and fans rightly hoped that something similar would arrive, only with the most modern graphics and mechanics.

The reality is not exactly like that. That’s why we’ve decided to do the analysis and see in what ways Skull and Bones is worse than Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag.

No On-Land Combat

Any true Assassin’s Creed fan, like myself, cherished the Black Flag moments when you attack an enemy ship, command the crew to move, and together invade their deck, eliminate everyone, and loot the treasure.

Unfortunately, we’re deprived of that in Skull and Bones. The combat is limited to ships only. Only from the helm can you order an attack and fight to sink the enemy. You don’t even go over to their deck when you defeat them and get to pick up the loot. Instead, you just move your ship close to theirs, and the loot is automatically yours.

Naval battle in Skull and Bones.
Image Source: Ubisoft via Twinfinite

I have to admit that this is a disappointment, as I’m sure we were all hoping to follow in Edward Kenway’s footsteps. The entire game is, after all, inspired by those naval battles we fought way back in 2013.

Relatable Characters

Maybe it’s nostalgia speaking from me, but despite my best efforts, I couldn’t relate to the characters in Skull and Bones. The dialogue is too mechanical and without any deeper meaning. That’s not what we’re used to with Ubisoft’s games of this type.

Just remember the excitement we all felt when we played Black Flag and discovered that Edward Kenway is the father of Haytham E. Kenway and grandfather of Connor, the main antagonist and the main protagonist in Assassin’s Creed III, respectively. That’s exactly the connection I kind of miss in Skull and Bones.

Edward Kenway in AC Black Flag.
Image Source: Ubisoft

With a vast open world and a huge map for exploration, you would think your in-game character would surely meet a lot of NPCs with different stories and adventures. Instead, all the characters somehow resemble each other.

Sea Shanties

“Oh leave her, Johnny, leave her. For the voyage is long and the winds don’t blow and it’s time for us to leave her…” Sounds familiar? I was able to sail around the map for hours in Assassin’s Creed IV just to listen to sea shanties as long as possible.

To be honest, there are sea shanties in Skull and Bones, but they seem to be random and without an option to choose a specific shanty you want to hear. The only thing you can do is to order your crew to start or stop singing.

Shanties option in Skull and Bones.
Image Source: Ubisoft via Twinfinite

If you look back at Edward Kenway’s crew in Black Flag, sea shanties were a special part of the game. You could unlock them one by one by collecting pieces of paper floating around cities and islands. There wasn’t a way to skip to a specific shanty, but you could always cycle through songs until the one you want to hear starts.

No Swimming

One would think that the first thing a pirate learns when they’re born is how to swim. That doesn’t seem to be the case in Skull and Bones. Unlike Edward Kenway in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, with whom we could swim across the entire ocean if we wanted to, your pirate captain in Skull and Bones can’t swim at all.

You can't swim at all in Skull and Bones.
Image Source: Ubisoft via Twinfinite

Instead, they only walk in the shallows while trying to get back to the ship and do everything from there. Who knows, maybe in a future update we will learn how to swim… after all, Altair remains to this day the only Assassin’s Creed character that can’t swim.

No Boarding of Enemy Ships

At the end of this list in which we compare two games about pirates, we cannot fail to mention that there is no classic boarding of an enemy ship. It’s a disappointment, to say the least.

If we look back at the boarding process in Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, it seems complete. First, you engage in a naval battle. Once you damage them enough, it’s time to board. You and your crew cross to the enemy deck and fight them hand-to-hand. Only after all this is done, you can loot everything.

Boarding and looting enemy ship in Skull and Bones.
Image Source: Ubisoft via Twinfinite

On the other hand, in Skull and Bones, it’s all simplified, but too much in my opinion. All you need to do is to lower the health of the enemy ship to a certain point, come close, press a button and that’s it – you sank them and looted them without setting foot on their vessel…

Those were the five reasons why I think Skull and Bones is a worse game than Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. The list is not final, but these are the most eye-popping things when comparing the two games. I can’t shake the impression that Black Flag is simply a more complete pirate game than Ubisoft’s latest title.

For more Twinfinite guides for Skull and Bones, check the best Brigantine Ship build, how to get Monstrous Tooth, or how to upgrade your ship.

About the author

Nenad Milićević

Nenad Milićević (Nenad Milicevic) has been a staff writer at Twinfinite since late 2023. He has a BA in Journalism and more than seven years of professional experience in journalism and writing behind him, with recent focus on gaming niche. As a passionate sports fan and enjoyer of single player open world games, his expertise includes Assassin’s Creed franchise, Football Manager, GTA.
In his spare time, he likes to watch sports for countless hours, read books and spend lazy days watching TV shows and movies.

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