Skull and Bones is off to a rocky start with 'generally unfavorable' user scores on Metacritic

Skull and Bones key art
(Image credit: Ubisoft)

Ubisoft's much-delayed pirating simulator, Skull and Bones, finally released on February 16. However, despite promising plenty of features in the run-up to launch, it looks as though the high-seas adventure game has been dashed on the rocks when it comes to user reviews.

Skull and Bones currently suffers from an average user score of 2.9 on Metacritic, based on over 300 user ratings at time of writing. Many of these reviews make unfavorable comparisons to Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag. Released back in 2013, Black Flag had you play as Welsh pirate Edward Kenway and involved plenty of swashbuckling, sea battles, and sneaking about. Conversely, Skull and Bones, is more acutely focused on naval battles, having players send crews to board enemy vessels rather than doing it themselves.

The negative reviews center around issues with pacing and a narrow approach to game design. "Painfully slow and boring," said one user, while another complained: "It is worse than it looks. No ship boarding, can't swim, sea battles are all the same. No endgame at all."

The 12 critic reviews on Metacritic at time of writing are more favorable, coming to an average of 64, which the site calls 'mixed.' These were somewhat more favorable than the user reviews, with PC Gamer, our sister site, saying: "Combining moody and gratifying ship-on-ship combat with shallow live service trappings, Skull and Bones is great within the claustrophobic parameters of what market forces allow it to be."

Skull and Bones had a notoriously troubled development, having received multiple delays since its announcement in 2017. Since then, the title has been changed in numerous ways, with overhauls to the setting, branding, and the scope of its game mechanics.

The swashbuckling game is currently available on PS5, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and on PC via the Ubisoft store.

Looking for an alternative? Try our lists of the best single-player games and best story games.

Cat Bussell
Staff Writer

Cat Bussell is a Staff Writer at TechRadar Gaming. Hailing from the crooked spires of London, Cat is an experienced writer and journalist. As seen on,, and, Cat is here to bring you coverage from all corners of the video game world. An inveterate RPG maven and strategy game enjoyer, Cat is known for her love of rich narratives; both story-driven and emergent.