For those that have enjoyed the “World of…” titles, World of Warships: Legends is the one of the newer installment within the franchise (and by new, we’re talking 2015). This time, however, you’re pitted against others in naval combat, utilizing some of the greatest vessels the high seas have ever seen. What’s even better than that? Like other titles in Wargaming’s war chest, it’s free!
Initially out for the Xbox and PC, World of Warships: Legends received a PS4 port.. get it? “Port”? Nautical Puns! Anyway, this title offers a great amount of content, polished content at that, for the low low price of no cost at all. What’s more, the time taken to accurately represent all of these ships, spanning from the early 1900s to present, is beyond impressive. Each vessel has been carefully crafted to properly represent its real-world counterpart.
For starters though, we’ll touch on the micro-transaction side of things. Like with any free-to-play game, World of Warships comes with a jam-packed online store where players can spend or trade in currency to purchase new items, including ships. The issue stems from the outrageous prices. Put simply, you need to spend a lot, to gain a little. With that being said, there is nothing other than your own impulsivity that would drive anyone to make the purchase. If you think it’s too expensive, simply don’t pay for it, simple as that, shocking I know right?
Those looking to get the most out of this priceless experience can always buy the ships through in-game currency, it just takes a LOT longer. The option is there though, nonetheless. While this might seem like a pay-to-win game, because it is, at least everyone has the same opportunity to earn the ships and commanders in-game without needing to buy them with actual money.
Ships can be unlocked with silver currency, commanders with star currency, while mod packs and ship upgrades are unlocked through gaining experience points. Commanders, however, can not be unlocked/upgraded until hitting somewhere around level 7.
You start the game with three different Naval federations, Japanese, British, and Americans. Along the way you’ll earn access to other country’s fleets as well. The U.S.S.R., Germany, France, Italy, Pan-Asia, Pan-America, Commonwealth, and Poland nations are all represented as well. These aren’t just ships sailing under a different flag though, each nation has ships with specific traits that make your selection of which ships to use an important one. For example, a Japanese cruiser excels in speed but might lack in defense, where the American cruiser will come strapped with hardened hulls but will be a bit more sluggish navigating the waters.
Each nation offers three types of ships to sail as well. Each class of ship comes with specific strengths and weaknesses, which you’ll need to take into consideration prior to dropping into a team. Battleships are your typical heavy hitting “tank” class, capable of destroying a.. destroyer in one shot. They are large, lumbering ships that require quite a few dead on shots to notice any damage, but of course this makes them harder to navigate. Destroyers, as you can imagine, are the opposite; highly versatile, but lacking in defense. These nimble ships are great for swooping in for a shot then getting out before things heat up.
Alternatively, they can be used as a sniping class, assuming your positioning is good enough. However, they don’t have high damage outputs, so shooting at ships with long-range torpedoes will take some time before you see them accrue any significant damage. The flip side is they go down relatively quickly, so don’t expect to make any long term contributions to your team with these tiny things. Finally, the Cruiser is the middle ground ship, providing a mostly even balance between strength and defense. They boast the biggest range of customization, offering great defensive and offensive options, like anti-aircraft potential or smokescreens. Cruisers tend to be a solid short to mid-range option.
Basic ships come with a slew of customize-able options thanks to skill trees that allow them to bloom into intimidating aquatic threats. On top of that, Captains/Commanders can be assigned to any ship, further progressing their ability to be customized. Like ships, Commanders come with their own upgradable skills that only add to your ship’s bag of tricks. Pairing the right commander to a ship opens up the potential for any ship, Destroyer or Battleship alike, to be a dominating force on the open sea.
Speaking of controlling ships, navigating them around islands or through open water is surprisingly smooth. Each ship felt like it handled a bit differently, and that adds to the realism. Destroyers feel light and nimble, where a Battleship will take a few seconds to fully make a 180-degree turn. Landing your shots requires a degree of skill as well. Some ships have a cone extending from them which means you’re pretty sure to land a hit as long as the passing enemy vessel is within this area. Where others require a bit more finesse. The more precise weapons need you to shoot in front of the ship, especially if they’re quite a ways away from you. Tracking the target for a while and shooting where you think they’ll end up in a few short moments will drastically increase your chances of landing a hit.
This is a team-based title, though, and is meant to be played with other people. Organizing attack patterns and strategies can mean the difference between a win or a loss. The game does a decent job of trying to pair similarly ranked players, but it goes off of the ships abilities and skills, not say a player’s own level. This sometimes works to your benefit, or detriment, depending on which side you’re on. Sometimes you’ll get paired with a group of under-prepared players and it won’t be long until your whole team is wiped out. Others you’ll end up next to the guy that lives, eats, and breaths World of Warships, in which case, no one can blame you for holding back and watching as a one-man-wrecking-crew annihilates the opposing team. Of course, there will be those occasional ill-fated moments where you get a hot head on your team and he sails off on his own thinking he can take on the world alone, only to be shot down in a matter of seconds, instantly leaving your team outnumbered. You know who you are, ya ass.
Thankfully, the game doesn’t just up and throw you into the fire. There is a great tutorial section that slowly acclimates you into this World of Warships by letting you get used to controls while going up against AI combatants. It’s a good enough section that lets you remain in a more comfortable setting while you get used to the game’s controls.
Overall, World of Warships: Legends is a highly enjoyable experience that welcomes new and returning players with a plethora of content. While some of it is locked behind pay-walls, none of it is restricted to only those that choose to pay. Grinding out levels eventually nets you the same ship that costs $15 in the store. Another great feature is the fact that this game is free for EVERYONE, not just PS Plus members. So, if nothing else, it’s worth giving a fair shot. Through deep customization options, smooth, enjoyable controls, and a deep well of ships to choose from, World of Warships offers a well-rounded experience that will only ever cost you time, if you prefer to earn your content instead of pay for it upfront.