Monday, February 22, 2016

Screenshot of the Week #72: Black Sails!

                Swayed by the Black Sails TV series I sunk more time into Naval Action. I've been warned by the developers that the Early Access state of the game can be hard to deal with and they weren't wrong. In its current state Naval Action is a base platform for what is to come.
                Naval Action gameplay has the players joining some of the strongest naval forces of the 18th century and dive into a seemingly open (water) world together with thousands of other players. As a MMO Naval action works much like Elite: Dangerous with a lot of simulator mechanics and an instanced combat system, the only difference being that players meet quite often in this game.
                The Naval Action map represents stunningly looking historic replica scaled in such a way that it makes navigation a realistic pain. The sim-like navigation mechanics don’t allow a GPS or any unrealistic tools leaving everything to the player which makes exploration rather complicated but also funnily intriguing.
The combat is as difficult as it gets with a steep learning curve and no tutorial to guide the players. Engaging in ship battles and emerging victorious requires a certain amount skill, knowledge of the ships and taking multiple factors into account and these don’t come easily. Perseverance and a trial and error process will get you there, but you will have to lose a few (free) ships before holding a grasp on how the combat really works. But understanding the combat opens up a satisfying experience sustained by a progressive gameplay which has you unlocking, buying and upgrading new ships that behave and play differently.
                Aside of exploration and combat, there are a lot of things to do in Naval Action but at the same time too few. The game is held back by its current Alpha state and many of its features are implemented into a rudimentary form or are not present at all. The trading system, the missions, the UI and many other features serve more as an introduction for what is to come and that is both good and bad at the same time. Knowing the game will have these features fully implemented later on it’s reassuring but their current state serves as a tease that many players might not like. Taking into consideration that the game is developed by a team of less than 10 people getting to the point where these features will be complete could take a while. But I’m not here to take your hopes down in fact I would like to be optimistic in this matter because for the first time in so many years I’ve discovered a game that might provide an experience similar to the 2003 Pirates of the Caribbean.
40 minutes later I was victorious!

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