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Leviathan Warships Review

leviathan-warships-3Leviathan Warships is the latest strategy game from Paradox Interactive of the naval variety. Boasting turn based strategy and ship customization, Leviathan Warships has a unique gameplay style and nice visual execution. It falls short on a couple instances that hold it back from being a game you MUST play regardless of your genre preference. While this is a must have for strategy game enthusiasts, others may find it to be not their cup of tea.

You are a naval commander that must rid the seas of marauder enemy ships who wish to take over the seas with violence. Of course the best way to fight violence is with violence so you must fight against the odds and use your underpowered ships to repel enemy forces. As you move through the campaign you gain access to more ships and more equipment.

First off, this game has more of an arcade type of execution. It doesn’t necessarily have a coherent story despite what the briefings tell you in game. This is a game where you play just to have fun in a variety of challenges and missions. They are all co-op as well, which is a pretty nice way to play Leviathan Warships. There is also matchmaking, so you can search for games easily.

The core gameplay of LW is turn based. You must plot a course for your ship and depending on your settings; any enemy that comes into the sight range of your ship will be fired upon. The turns are divided up into two phases. Phase One is planning. This is where you will plot your course and ready the weapons to fire. Now something that felt really odd what the two movement icons, there is the arrow and compass. When you click and hold the compass it just changes the position of your ship. You can’t set it to move forward. And for a while, you will be scratching your head on why it isn’t moving. Then you realize you have to click and hold the arrow to move forward or backward. Phase Two is the execution. This is where everything you have done in planning phase comes to fruition. Ships moves and shoot at each other or in the areas you designated them to shoot in. After this, a new turn starts.

warships_2012-12-17_10-07-51-72This is something that makes the turn based naval war games interesting compared to other naval war games. They always take a bit more strategy because of the turn phase separation. You have to predict where the enemy ships are going and compensate that for where your weapons are going to shoot. Many of the weapons have interesting firing ranges especially on where they are located on the ship. Factoring these small but significant details into your next turn will give you an edge when fighting multiple enemies. On occasion I will feel like that Romulan from the JJ Abrams Star Trek film when I FIRE EVERYTHING! I guess it is the little things that add to the enjoyment of a game like this.

In between missions you will have the ability to change your ship loadout and your ship lineup. You are allotted a certain amount of points that you cannot exceed. This is where I find the most fun to be in Leviathan Warships. While many people don’t view customization to be a centerpoint for gameplay, I think it is something that is just as important as having a good soundtrack or art direction. In Leviathan Warships, the amount of weapons you have at your fingertips is quite extensive and trying to build a fleet that won’t get sunk in seconds but also being able to dish out damage is a feat that can be learned and built in time. The customization is really well done, however, at first, it isn’t very user friendly.

The game menus are a bit on the cluttered side and launching missions appears to be confusing. You have to start a lobby regardless if you want to play online or not. So when you start a game or continue one, you are taken to a screen that looks like matchmaking and there is a lobby with your username to join. While it doesn’t hinder the gameplay, a better UI for the Main Menu and subsidiaries would be nice. The game’s progression is also very slow. While the game can have some epic naval battles, the game still goes about its business at a snail’s pace. The slow movement execution of the second phase of the turn is also something I wish I could speed up.

However, the core gameplay is very fun and many strategy enthusiasts will get a real kick out of this game. The content isn’t very large so the game is pretty short despite how many hours you will spend on it. That may be why the game progresses so slow. While Leviathan Warships has great ideas for gameplay, the execution was a bit sluggish and it holds the game back. I give Leviathan Warships a 7.5/10. You can pick it up on Steam and Gamersgate now.

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