There is no feeling quite like sailing the high seas. Movies like Pirates of the Caribbean are seemingly responsible for instilling the need for adventure among the ocean waves in the general public, The desire to smell the salty ocean air and hear the sails flapping in the wind was certainly planted in me at a young age, and thankfully there are plenty of games to provide for that calling.
Be it a pirate adventure on the high seas filled with epic naval battles, or a simple exploration into whatever lies beyond the horizon, here are the best naval sailing games to live that need for adventure on the seven seas.
When picking the best sailing games, what we look for are fun and exciting sailing mechanics, that really make you feel like you’re a part of the ship. Because of this, games like Anno 1800 or other RTS games where ships are simply moved on a board with a click of a button will not be included.
This list is in no particular order, so no title is ranked above or below another.
If you read our Sail Forth review, you know why this game is on the list. This cute little indie game features some of the most complex, satisfying sailing mechanics of any game on the market, truly immersing you into the feeling of sailing on the high seas.
It also has great naval battles, with the ability to construct entire fleets of ships to engage against pirates on the open waves. It is without a doubt a contender for one of the best sailing games, and might even be the best there is at the moment.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
Assassin’s Creed III featured a new mechanic that surprised and captivated many players; Sailing. This sparsely used mechanic offered players a way to satisfyingly command an entire ship from the perspective of the captain, and was a favorite feature of many who played.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag continued this feature, perfected it, and gave players the chance to use it a lot more. Because of this, Black Flag remains one of the most beloved titles in the Assassin’s Creed franchise, and the 2012 release still holds up to this day.
Sea Of Thieves
Sea of Thieves is perhaps the most well-known Pirate game on the market right now. The cartoony multiplayer game sees you sailing off on a swashbuckling adventure, fighting off ghost pirates, skeleton pirates, and regular pirates as you dig up buried treasure and hunt sea monsters.
From the creators of ARK: Survival Evolved comes ATLAS, an ambitious naval survival game that allows players to be merchants, pirates, fishermen, and real estate agents as they explore the high sea with friends.
What makes ATLAS stand out from a lot of the games on this list is the ability to build your own ships at a player-made shipyard. Though more community involvement is required to get the most of ATLAS, there’s nothing quite like sailing a ship of your own creation and engaging in naval battles with other players.
Putting you in command of a fearsome pirate ship, Furious Seas sends you across the ocean blue seeking treasure and glory as you raid any unsuspecting vessel that happens to cross your path.
Furious Seas is a stand-out on this list due to its unique VR implementation. For those who want to truly be immersed on the seven seas and own a VR headset, Furious Seas is the perfect game for you to pick up.
Assassin’s Creed Rogue
I can’t put Black Flag on this list without also putting Rogue. which has just as much, if not more sailing than its predecessor. Rogue came out at a time when the sailing mechanics were the reason you played an Assassin’s Creed game, so you’d better believe it is jam-packed with it.
If Black Flag is the tale of a plucky, well-meaning anti-hero, Rogue is the opposite, putting you in the sopping wet boots of a nautical assassin turned assassin hunter. The game also takes place in the icey North Atlantic as opposed to Black Flag’s sunny Caribbean setting, making for an interesting change of scenery.
Valheim is a game jam-packed with surprises. The little Viking adventure is far larger than you would imagine with its incredibly small download size, and just one of the many features you wouldn’t expect from this game is a huge sailing mechanic.
Valheim allows you to venture out to sea in your long boat, exploring a shockingly distant horizon to find new lands in your Viking afterlife. Be careful though, as terrifying Sea Serpents lurk just beneath the waters, hungry for your soul.
Black Desert Online
Topping off this list is something I bet will surprise a lot of readers: Black Desert Online. That’s right, this open-world MMORPG really does have a ton of things for players to do, including building and sailing their own ships.
In BDO you can craft your ship and go out hunting sea monsters, fishing, and trading between islands. This feature makes BDO the only MMORPG with an expansive naval system, something we haven’t seen since the days of Pirates Of The Caribbean Online.
Those are 8 of the best games for those who want an adventure on the high seas. If you found this list helpful and want more gaming news, articles, and listicles, check out our site’s abundance of Gaming articles.