After watching the crew play a bit of the game, I hopped on the free trial with Xbox Game Pass and tried the game out.
For four hours, I managed to complete around ~9 voyages after bumbling with the interface and slowly understanding the core loop. Level factions with quests, sometimes I dig treasure, other times I'm capturing chickens, and occasionally I slap a skeleton for a skull or two.
Does it get better? It feels like I'm playing a watered-down sandbox with no appealing incentives and very few toys to play around with. Purchasable gear doesn't make itself clear on whether or not it has an added benefit, and even if there were stronger weapons -- it wouldn't make the combat any more appealing. Most enemies I encountered were skeletons that are only a nuisance to completing quests, since ammo is so limited and sword combat doesn't have any satisfying weight to swings.
The idea behind the game is wonderful in concept. Ship mechanics feel immersive and near-breathtaking as the dock rises and dips along waves that are beautifully lit. It's a game that feels like its trying to capitalize on GTA Online's success in its own way.
But everything else feels so shallow and underdeveloped. I'd like to know your experiences so far in the game. What do you like about it? Is it worth your $60? What were your initial expectations? I know it's not the game for me; but I'd love to hear why some people really dig it.
EDIT: Thanks everyone for pitching in your experience with the game. General consensus: no. It doesn't get better. But maybe it'll pull a No Man's Sky and continue to develop its progression system. The way the game doesn't explain itself at all is somewhat charming, so let's hope that they manage to add a sense of purpose and direction without compromising subtlety.