World of Warships: Legends Hands-On – Hitting the High Seas

Even though it’s been in beta for a few months now, Wargaming’s World of Warships: Legends is finally ready to set sail on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 August 12th. This free-to-play naval warfare game is likely to get its fair share of fans for its strategic combat and entertaining multiplayer combat. The team at Wargaming has also done its homework and made the experience work well on console, not just PC. In fact, they are so confident in how it plays, they invited us to their Austin offices to give the game a test drive before its full release.


There are some changes you’ll want to take note of, as the console version is slightly condensed from its PC brethren. Instead of full-on 12-versus-12 battles, it’s more along the lines of 9-versus-9. When asked why the count shrunk, the producers explained how the cut makes the battles a little bit faster, something console owners are certain to appreciate. Based on what we played over the course of our sessions, they’re pretty much on the money.

The battles themselves are based upon tiers. If you’re a newcomer to the game, your best bet is to start in Tier 1 since jumping right into Tier 7 is practically a death warrant if you’re not familiar with how the game works. Start light and get used to the game mechanics and orient yourself with others on a similar skill level. It really works out in the long run, and as you get better, you can work up to the second tier and third tier, and so on.

By setting up the system this way, Wargaming opts to make World of Warships: Legends accessible to newcomers and veterans alike. This type of balance is great all around, and truly gives all players options within the game. It also isn’t overwhelming to limit players from getting discouraged. For those worried there’s no room to progress, don’t be. The main game will feature over 100 levels, so you’ll have more than enough room to play around, in a very ambitious set-up.

World of Warships: Legends offers a control system that works really well on the console front. For example, you can change your viewpoint fairly easily, instead of awkwardly rolling around the mouse wheel from point to point. The left shoulder button automatically brings up your binoculars, so you can target far away opponents with pinpoint accuracy. This is great if you want to do some distant aiming, or if you just need to see what enemies are lurking outside your range to prepare for an attack or choose to take an alternative route to your destination.

World of Warships

Speed is also a vital part of the game, as you don’t necessarily want to go speeding into battle, unless you like getting blown to bits. You choose the game’s speed through a scale. You can go all ahead full, come to a complete stop, find something in-between (1/4 to 3/4) or even go in reverse, just in case you come into collision with an island or another ship. The controls are rather intuitive for a game such as this, and we found ourselves manning the ship simply.

That said, do keep in mind that you’re controlling a battleship and not necessarily a speeding car so you’ll need to judge your turns properly. You can lean the analog stick to get your turns in, but it’ll take a little time for the ships to react, particularly the bigger battleships in your armada. The bigger the ship, the more trajectory you’ll need to get the turns going. However, you can still aim around your ship with ease, using your guns and torpedoes to target enemies. So don’t worry if someone’s outside your range at the moment, they’ll get there soon enough.

Speaking of weapons, each battleship features a fair share of great ones that you can unleash on opponents. Perhaps the most effective are your deck guns, since they can provide both consistent and accurate fire on ships that are either incoming or at a distance. Some are a little stronger than others, so it helps to try and point for critical parts of the ship when you can. Getting multiple shots on a ship can pay off, as they’ll eventually make their way to Davy Jones’ locker, should you do enough damage.

Torpedoes, however, are a little trickier. You can line up your shots with a meter that shows what kind of range they have. If they land, they’re destruction is highly effective, but keep in mind these aren’t the same as guns, and they require a little more patience. Maybe stick with your guns when you can, because they’ll be the best in battle. If you’re going for a tactical approach, however, load up with torpedoes.

No matter which way you go, the tactical battles across the many maps featured in World of Warships: Legends are impressive. They take a good while to go through, and feature a number of variants from all-out domination battles to point capture battles against invading enemies. They really challenge you at every corner. Fortunately you have the ability to properly prepare your team, so you can cover the points as needed while still riding the waves tall; if you’re not blown out of the water, that is.

The console versions of Legends comes with exclusive content as well. A new campaign mode, Tirpitz, will be introduced at some point. It hasn’t been given a breakdown quite yet, but more than likely, you’ll find yourself in a few legendary battles as you try and rewrite history in your favor. Based on the set-up with Legends and its many commanders (and ships!), you’ll have a lot to call upon when making history.

World of Warships

For that matter, the legendary battleship Yamato, which was known for making its own share of history in its day, will come to the game as well. A lot of players may not be familiar but we think it’s worth looking up. Once it hits the water it would be wise to unlock it and add it to your arsenal since, from what we read, it can do a great deal of damage.

The game will also feature a number of customization options that will allow you to add distinctive touches to make the ship your own. Not to say you’ll have various paint options available (no, you can’t paint the mother pink), but there are other items such as flags that will be customizable. Remember, these are optional purchases. The game won’t require you to overload your wallet  to have a good time blasting enemies out of the water, but it doesn’t hurt to have a little more in your arsenal, right, Wargaming devotees?

On top of that, there’s quite a load of content coming to the game in the months ahead. Wargaming has already hinted that World of Warships: Legends will receive a number of new nations and commanders to choose from, along with additional maps, and possibly even more modes. For the time being, there’s more than enough to choose from for the game’s launch, but it’s nice to have content to look forward to.

The game will also receive visual updates over the course of the next few months, with 4K support, but for the time being, Legends certainly doesn’t look like a slouch. Wargaming’s visual representation of naval combat is off the charts thus far, with accurate recreations of warships, beautiful water effects, and all the explosive action you could hope for. The frame rate looks pretty steady, but keep in mind it’s still in beta. How it’ll perform once everything goes live is still up in the air, but if it’s anything like how World of Tanks has done, Wargaming should have nothing to worry about.

World of Warships

While Tanks continues to be the company’s prized franchise, it’s nice to see forward movement with Warships in the spotlight. Not everyone thinks that naval combat is accessible on the console front, but the publisher hopes to change that with Legends. It feels great so far, and the battles we got into were a lot of fun, win or lose. On top of that, the abundant amount of content coming to the game, customization options and upcoming legendary goodies, will keep players busy for some time. This is one battle that we’ll probably never get tired of.

(Big thanks to Wargaming for having us down to their headquarters to check out the game! Catch Legends in beta now on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 before it’s launch on August 12. Also available for PC!)

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