World of Warships: Legends Review – PlayStation 4

This is my first real foray into the wildly popular “World Of” franchise of free-to-play multiplayer online battle games from Belarusian developer, Wargaming. I have dabbled with their games before, but never actually dug through the nuts and bolts to see what all the excitement was about.  Now I know.

Developing mainly for the PC audience, Wargaming’s first major PS4 release – 2016’s World of Tanks was a ported of their original 2011 PC version, by the folks of the former Day 1 Studios (MechAssault), whose vast experience with console classics earned the global free-to-play release a solid cult following.  Oddly, Wargaming’s World of Tanks follow-up, 2013’s World of Warplanes, remained a PC-only release despite descent reviews.

In 2019 we see the second World Of game to hit the PS4 market, in World of Warships: Legends.  Legends is the console port of the original 2017 PC release, with some slight modifications and additions for the console audience.  Developed by Wargaming St. Petersburg (Russia), Warships: Legends put gamers at the helms of some of the greatest battleships in military history and pits them in 9v9 naval battles around the globe.

After having spent far too much time undergoing maritime battle in Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, the last thing I wanted to do was sit through a game that was solely a naval simulation, but World of Warships: Legends pulled me in with its relatively fast-paced gameplay and fantastic strategy.  The “Legends” portion comes from the gamer’s ability to pick from a handful of historic naval commanders, like William Sims, Jerzy Świrski, Max von Spee, Bill Halsey, and more.  I have to admit, I hadn’t a clue who these historical figures even were until I played World Of Warships: Legends, so bonus points can be awarded to Wargaming for the interesting history lesson.

The battle is very similar to that of Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag – with the gamer controlling the ship’s direction and speed, then firing from all directions at the advancing enemy ships.  Ships come in three variants: light but nimble Destroyers, medium but defensive Cruisers, and heavy but lumbering Battleships.  Obviously, each ship has its own distinct advantages and disadvantages, and gamers are challenged to find which ship best suits their preferred style of play.

The visuals are fantastic for an online multiplayer of this scale – sure there’s not a lot of background to deal with, but with the photo-realistic skies and the gorgeously-rolling waves playing host to massive battles like Warships: Legends delivers, the overall package is quite astonishing.  Online play is fast and responsive, with hardly any lag or delay.  The only real issue is that the gameplay is a bit of a one-trick-pony – the sea battles can drag on, even with the 15-minute time limit.

As mentioned World of Warships: Legends is a free-to-play game. This means that you can download it from the PlayStation Store for free, install it to your PS4, and play it online without a PlayStation Plus account.  Of course, the developers want you to get sucked in hard enough to want to eventually open your wallet and shell out for upgrades, add-ons, in-game currency, and other content.

All said, World of Warships: Legends has about $400 in additional content available on the PlayStation Store – some free, some as much as $150.  Of course, most of the content can be earned by playing through the game for a long enough time, but the developers don’t skip a beat trying to upsell at every turn.  It’s a bit annoying at times, but it’s necessary to keep games like this viable.

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