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World of Warships is a free to play multi-player action game which sets you in control of one of a fleet of warships out to defend your base whilst defeating all of the enemy ships. I am pretty sure that there are other excursions into adventure but the formative battles are very similar to those you have played as a first-person or third-person shooter, where you are an infantryman or tank commander and either see yourself or your gun and sights as you make headway into enemy territory.

WORLD of WARSHIPS has spectacular sounds and graphics and for game play purposes the ship's maneuverability is both straightforward and fast; meaning it goes fast straightforward ... only joking! Seriously there are speed controls and direction turning by using the WASD keys, the S acting like a brake in a racing car game, the W meaning full speed ahead and the A and D moving the ship left and right almost immediately - the waves and the fact you are at sea with only a rudder to steer with do not hamper your direction changing capabilities; the game is built for speed and action.

Onscreen for most, if not all, of the time you are at sea you have the reticule of the sights and when you get a ship in line the left mouse button fires your guns at it. You cannot continually fire though, you have to reload, and while you are doing this (automatically) you need to be moving your ship in a random slalom fashion style to dodge the incoming tirade of cannon fire from the opposition. You watch the tracers of your shells heading towards your target and get great satisfaction when you not only hit the opposing ship but eventually destroy it, watching it go up in smoke and then down to meet Davey Jones; if you miss there is a splash in the ocean that gives you an aiming guide for your next shot. Firing broadsides as you pass an opposing ship is also exciting, I even found myself ducking (even though I was safely in my office chair) during this close combat.

I have a long way to go before I can say I am a master of WORLD of WARSHIPS and so I am bringing this short review to you now so that you don't have to wait for me to finish before you know how good it is, "good" doesn't even begin to cover the fun I have had to date. WORLD of WARSHIPS isn't, at least to begin with, a complicated strategy game but tactics and strategies can play their part. It is possible for all ships in your fleet to steam ahead towards the enemy all guns blazing and indeed it is quite impressive to do so occasionally, but I have found that it is better to fan your ships out and bring them into play from the flanks as well as up the middle; sailing around an island may take you a little longer to get into range of the enemy but when you do it is usually with at least one "surprise" rear shot. Ganging up on a ship and concentrating fire on it while other enemy ships fire at all of your fleet is often a good tactic as long as you don't hang around for long after you have severely damaged your initial target.  As you get better and gain finances you can buy better, bigger, faster, stronger more heavily armed vessels but of course if you are doing this so are your opponents, thus the battles are often similar but faster and harder hitting, thank the blacksmiths for stronger armour.

I have barely touched on all you can do within the game but I hope I have given you enough reason to try it for yourself. If you click on the first screenshot on this page it should take you to the main screen for WORLD of WARSHIPS and from there you can navigate your way through to downloading and installing before beginning your own adventures in a heavily armed and armoured tin box on the mighty oceans of the world. It's free and it's fun, so why not give it a shot?

Initial release date: 17 September 2015
Genre: Massively multiplayer online game
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, macOS
DevelopersWargamingLesta Studio
NominationsBritish Academy Games Award for Multiplayer

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015