In this vast, vast world we live in, we have developed so many different ways to navigate it. Our own legs are a good start, but they won’t get you anywhere fast. This is where horses come in, or carriages, cars, planes and, of course, those marvelous vessels of the sea, boats!
With the popularity of open-world games, you need a reliable way to navigate those vast bodies of water that’s more than just swimming. Many games will treat a ship as a home you can build yourself, while others will feel thematically more important, but all are etched in our hearts for their grandeur.
8 Final Fantasy 15 – The Royal Ship
There’s so much you could say about the troubled development of Final Fantasy 15 – it’s definitely a series with a story. So many entries, however, focused on vehicles traversing their vast worlds, and for 15 it was the Regalia, your family car.
Of course, FF15 came with years of updates, one of which massively expanded the Royal Vessel. A personal yacht, its gameplay isn’t really that deep, but it plays into what makes FF15 so great. Sailing the seas while taking pictures with your friends and catching some fish for dinner while sightseeing is so memorable.
seven Dishonored – Samuel/Meagan’s Boat
Arkane has found great fame for immersive simulation games beginning with the Dishonored series. Although Dunwall is often seen as the face of the series, it’s just one of many other island nations, and so the sea is a major aspect of the world, from the dreary piers of Tyvia to the sun-bleached shores of Serkonos. .
In the original game, pretty much every mission opens with Samuel Beechworth taking you on missions on his little boat, and it’s even where he says his final goodbyes. The same goes for the sequel, with Meagan Foster bringing you ashore, not in the terrible big whale but in this nameless little canoe. He sees every mission with you, this lowly thing.
6 Spiritfarer – The Spirit Ferry
Released to critical acclaim in 2020, Spiritfarer focuses on something many of us in life struggle with: death. It teaches us that death should not be a painful thing but rather a celebration of life as it was lived, whether long or short. You will undoubtedly shed tears, but at least you will know that they are not entirely from grief.
This whole journey takes place aboard your own ship, the ferry of the deceased. By paying as Stella, you expand the ferry and customize it, building a home for these spirits on their final journey, forming memories along the sea before sending them off. It’s poignant, and a ship is a perfect metaphor for this tale.
5 Sea Of Thieves – Your Ships
Who’s to say they don’t love a good pirate adventure? It’s a tale that has beguiled society for centuries, a world of hidden riches and reclaimed treasures while rebelling against zealous overlords. Pirate crews are the very definition of fun when you’re there, and Sea of Thieves flies that flag with glee.
The game has grown exponentially over the years, but your ship has always been its heart. The ship is more than just a vehicle through rough waves, it’s a home for you and your crew. It sees every adventure you do, and it needs to be kept in top condition to survive encounters with other crews as well.
4 Skyrim – Jorrvaskr
Skyrim is a game that needs no introduction and has achieved countless things with its world that few others can emulate. Such deep lore and myths woven into the world, a sense of scale with minute detail throughout, and a huge variety of gameplay. Quite funny for a game focused on Nordic inspirations, however, very few boats.
In fact, the most remarkable ship in the game is the one barely worthy of the sea! Jorrvaskr is the hall of the Companions of Whiterun, as well as the name of the ship from which the hall is built. There is an incredible story at play in the building, a testament to the legacy of the world. Even if you can no longer use it as a boat.
3 Animal Crossing – Kapp’n’s Boat
There are a lot of animals in Animal Crossing. It’s in the name, after all. It’s actually kind of weird that you can go fishing when there’s an octopus villager… Anyway! Not all entries have been on an island like New Horizons, but pretty much all feature Kapp’n to show you around.
From his appearance in the very first game until now, his main vehicle has been his motorboat. He takes you between other islands and sings a few chants along the way, and will even scold you for trying to ignore them in New Horizons. It’s a simple little boat, but it’s a symbol of both Kapp’n and the series as a whole.
2 Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag – The Jackdaw
Assassin’s Creed has jumped quite a bit, chronologically and mechanically, from the simplicity of the original to the bloated nature of its more recent entries. Assassin’s Creed 3 featured the beginnings of the series’ love affair with all things naval – a relationship it has struggled to let go of ever since.
Although he’s appeared in many entries since, he culminated with the jackdaw in Black Flag. Sailing this great beast through the West Indies, boarding other ships, and sailing from island to island seamlessly was a joy, and all in a ship that grew and changed alongside you.
1 The Wind Waker – King of the Red Lions
One of the many pillars of The Legend of Zelda, the two you might say are the most important are the music and the vehicles. From horses to trains and even Skyward Sword’s Loftwings, they’re all great and essential to their worlds, but there’s none other than Wind Waker.
The link here is… a little less majestic than usual, being a simple boy who doesn’t even seem to mind an adventure at first. So having a sentient ship called the King of Red Lions talk to him while literally sailing inside of him has never been boring. This fiery red stood out well against the blocky blues and greens of the rest of the world.
NEXT: Games Where You Control Massive Vehicles