Anyone can be an Admiral, for a price
Every game has good points and bad points. It’s a fact of life that nothing is perfect and there will always be clouds in the sky. Thankfully many games succeed in covering their weaknesses with strengths. Warship Legend is not one of these games. And the most disappointing fact about this is that it very nearly is. There is much to like about it. Unfortunately, much like the food in TV advertisements, the facade of quality is only there to loosen your purse strings.
My Kingdom for a Ship
First the good. Warship Legend looks great for a mobile game. You take command of a small fleet of real-world warships ranging from submarines to aircraft carriers. The detail on the ship models is quite extensive. To the point where you can not only tell one ship class from another but even different variations of the same class. All the models seem to be accurate to their real-world counterparts as well. Combine that with an intuitive UI and decent effects and you get an excellent visual experience.
The gameplay too, while lacking in more in-depth control, does have a certain level of strategy to it. Placement of ships in your formation, as well as the types of ships included, do have a measurable effect on battles. For example, ships in the front line are attacked first so you probably don’t want to put your low defense support cruiser out front. You can also build formations with specific types of ships to get bonuses to your overall stats. It would be nice to be able to target specific enemy ships rather than relying on auto-attack, so as to take full advantage of the bonus certain ships have against other types, but one black mark doesn’t ruin the experience. Unfortunately, this is about where the good points end.
The Idle Myth
Warship Legend is an “Idle Game” meaning that you accrue items and resources even while you’re not actively playing. The more you advance through the story the more resources you gain per second and the better the items you find. A good idea in theory but the developers have placed a number of restrictions that limit its effectiveness to free to play users. There’s a hard cap on the number of resources you can collect before you stop doing so. That limit increases with your level to a degree but the only way to get a drastic increase is by paying. Similarly, if you pay to become a VIP you get more resources over time. Starting with 10% more at VIP 1 up to 300% more at VIP 10.
The real limiting factor here is Cash, the primary in-game resource. There are a number of other resources in the game that are used for specific actions but Cash is used for everything. So pretty soon you start running out of Cash to upgrade ships and modules and have to decide if you want to level up your carrier from 79 to 80 or upgrade a single piece of equipment. This isn’t so bad at low levels as the amount of Cash you have versus the cost of actions is pretty favorable. But at high levels? Well, good luck getting the cash you need to raise that new ship from level 1 to 80. As battles get harder and upgrades get more expensive you’re likely to find yourself stagnating fairly quickly. While at the start you were advancing to new areas every few minutes now you spend several days just trying to gather the resources to advance one stage.
To Davey Jones’ Locker with You
The ultimate disappointment of Warship Legend is that it very nearly delivers a lasting worthwhile product. The visuals are on point, the variety of ships and their abilities are extensive. Both landlubbers and Seamen alike are likely to enjoy looking at and experiencing this game. But only at first. The monetization of resource gathering and the acquiring of better ships means that trying to play the game for free quickly becomes frustrating and tedious. This design is intentional of course. Capture players with a fast-paced engaging experience and then charge them to maintain that experience. And that’s not even mentioning the thematically unrelated roulette-style mini-game that is most definitely rigged to favor big spenders. All in all, there is too much wrong with the way Warship Legend nickels and dimes its players for it to get a recommendation. Despite some strong qualities, ultimately this ship sinks.
Is it Hardcore?
Falls well short.
Warship Legend is a good looking game that falls on its face after its early game stages. Aggressive monetization and glacial free-to-play progression mar an otherwise decent title.