World of Warships: Blitz is an interesting title, as it’s a port of the widely successful PC game World of Warships, which came out in 2015. The original game sports top of the line graphics and prides itself on its crisp, lag-free presentation, that only runs on powerful computers. As a result, I was skeptical as to how the game would fair as a port and whether it would live up to the standards of its PC companion. Thankfully, World of Warships: Blitz is a mobile port done right, and a game that feels like it was specifically built for the platform. The combat is fluid, the graphics are sharp and most importantly, it’s a whole lot of fun.
The game kicks off with a handy tutorial that teaches you the basic controls and lets you blow up a ship or two. From there you are set free into the full game. One consistent thread from every mode is that once your ship is sunk you are out of the game. This adds a significant level of weight to the decisions you make in the game, as one wrong flank or missed torpedo can and often does, spell your doom. That being said, even when you’re ship does go down the battle often continues and World of Warships: Blitz gives you the option to spectate battles from the perspective of any of your living teammates. It’s a neat feature that I didn’t expect to utilize as much as I did. It’s great, as being able to see the strategies and tactics that other, more experienced players use is especially helpful for new players to learn how to improve their own gameplay.
There are four modes currently in the game: Random Battles, Co-op Battles, Campaigns, and the newly added Ranked Battles. Random Battles has you go up against human controlled ships in one of three modes: Standard Battle which tasks you with destroying all enemy ships or capturing all enemy bases, Nautical Superiority, in which you race to reach one thousand points by capturing the center objective and destroying enemy ships, and Domination, which serves as a combination of the previous two modes. Co-op functions the exact same way as Random Battles, except instead of going up against other human controlled players, you face off against computer controlled teams.
Warships Blitz‘s Campaign mode throws you into a Second World War scenario that involves you completing different missions with unique ships such as escorting a tanker and defeating a certain number of enemy ships. It’s probably my favourite mode and the best way to try new strategies, as losing is very easy and adjusting is key. It’s just strange that the app needs an online connection to start, as being able to play the campaign regardless of where you are would have made it much easier and engaging to pick up and play.
Along the same vein, my biggest issue with World of Warships: Blitz is the sometimes tedious grind to unlock new ships and upgrades. This problem is made more pronounced by the campaign mode which, fun as it is, has severely limiting ship eligibility restrictions. The first mission of campaign mode requires a tier III to IV ship, something that you can’t even access unless you play a few online games or pay real money for. From there the issue is further compounded by missions requiring a certain type of ship as well as a certain class type. This lack of options for new players who enjoy single player campaigns is unfortunate and lessens the accessibility for players not familiar with the game or those who tend to game more casually. The addition of a story mode in the vein of classic easy, medium and hard difficulty levels would be a wonderful addition and one that would help new players acclimate to World of Warships: Blitz without having to play online.
That being said World of Warships completely surprised me with its presentation, as I was not expecting it to be nearly as sharp as it is. The backgrounds are dynamic, the water reacts to the way in which your ship moves, and the detail on the dozens of available ships is intricate and polished. I’ve played around 15 hours of the game so far and I have yet to experience any sort of lag or noticeable frame rate drop, save for a couple times where I fazed through an enemy ship instead of colliding with it.
Just as importantly, the ship to ship combat is intuitive and is buoyed by the stellar graphics and sound design. I highly recommend playing this game with your sound on, as it will not only allow you to hear incoming ships and aerial bombardments but also because the game completely nails the sounds of nautical warfare (or at least what I imagine it to sound like).
As far as progression is concerned, you begin with one low tier ship and in order to unlock other, more powerful vessels you need to earn experience, by engaging in more battles. There are ten tiers of ships in World of Warships: Blitz and as you level up you unlock new tiered ships to purchase. You also only have a certain amount of slots available for your ships which you also have to use in-game currency to unlock.
That being said, the game does offer micro-transactions in the form of gold, a paid currency that allows you to speed up the unlocking aspect of the game. As a result, I was worried that World of Warships: Blitz would be a pay-to-win game, seeing as you can unlock every tier of ship and fully upgrade them by spending real money. The account which I reviewed this game on had every ship unlocked and I further upgraded my ships to the highest possible degree. As a result, I went into my first fully upgraded battle feeling rather smug and confident.
I did, after all, have access to the equivalent of hundreds of real-world dollars and as a result felt that my victory was all but assured. I was very wrong. Within a minute of the round starting, I found myself clinging to a fraction of my initial health points and unable to make any meaningful progress towards taking down the enemy. I took my ship out of binocular mode (a feature that allows you to zoom in for more precise aiming) and saw, far too late, that four torpedoes were streaking towards my battered vessel. And with that, I experienced my first of many deaths.
The fact is that while you can buy all of the best ships right off the bat using real money, they give you no real advantage in-game as you play against people who have the same tiered ship as you. The players that I went up against in my tier X ship were extremely dominant and skilled, as you need to play hundreds of hours in order to unlock them without paying. As a result, I found myself easily outclassed at the beginning and even now I have only won a tenth of my tier X matches. In the end, the game isn’t pay-to-win, but instead, pay-to-progress and frankly, it’s much better for it.
World of Warships: Blitz is a deep experience that pushes the boundaries of what a quality mobile game can be. It can be a fun time waster, that allows you to jump straight into online nautical warfare, but World of Warships: Blitz is much more fulfilling and engaging if you take the time to dive in deep. The fact that its a free to play game is a big plus and you can unlock everything in the game for free, it’s just gonna take you hundreds of hours. The grind is real, but overall the grind is also worth it, and World of Warships: Blitz is easily one of the best mobile games I’ve ever played.
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