The second Sea of Thieves campaign-slash-major update hit Xboxes and PCs last week, and it is, in a word, dull. Cursed Sails isn't too dissimilar from the first campaign, The Hungering Deep, in that the main quest is basically just a case of sailing from island to island to find the next clue. The new equivalent of the boss battle is identical in many ways, too. It's not so much a challenge as it is simply showing up with enough resources to keep your shift afloat, crew alive and cannons firing until you inevitably win. Alongside the humdrum quest, though, are several meaningful updates to the core game.
AKITA – After winning gold in women's ice skating at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in February, 15-year old Alina Zagitova has her eyes set on another prize -- a Japanese puppy named after Akita, the prefecture from which it originates. While training in Japan for the Olympics, the Russian figure skater fell in love with the fluffy breed from the moment she saw a photo of it and promptly asked her mother to buy one. In a quandary, her mother promised to do so only if Zagitova did well in the games. Upon hearing the story, the Akita Dog Preservation Society based in Odate was quick to respond and is preparing to give a puppy to the Olympic champion. The plan is seen as part of efforts to attract more tourists to the prefecture, and there are signs that it is already working.
I played the new, localized version for roughly 30 minutes and came away pleasantly surprised. It's set after the original Dragon Quest and explores what might have happened after the so-called "bad" ending, where you choose not to fight the Dragonlord. The world of Alefgard is ruined and you wake up with no memories (surprise, surprise) and the power to build. Your task is to venture out into the world and teach the art of creative construction to everyone you meet, healing the land along the way. The characters, items and monsters are all Dragon Quest-themed, offsetting the blocky visuals taken from Minecraft.