The Wargamer

23 July 2017

PC Game Review: Victory at Sea Winner or Loser?

Cam Woolnut reviews Evil Twin's WW2 naval game

Published on 8 JAN 2015 7:50am by Cam Woolnut
  1. world war ii, real-time, pacific theater, tactical, europe, naval combat, introduction, intermediate, pc, 3d, english, 1, 2, yes, single unit

Hi, Iím just your average gamer who loves playing all different kinds of games. This review will be here to help you ask one question, "Should I buy Victory At Sea?Ē I'd just like to tell everyone that I was playing this game whilst it was in beta and so I would like to point out that this game has improved substantially since then. Now, on to the review!

Victory At Sea is a World War 2 Naval RTS Game created by Evil Twin Artworks, this was their first PC game, they have only created mobile games in the past. The game was built on a game engine called unity (This engine has also been used to create some other nice games, e.g. The Forest and Stranded Deep which will be releasing soon). I will say now, this game isn't for everyone, itís definitely aimed at a certain hardcore RTS audience; either you will hate this game or love it basically.


Victory At Sea has 3 modes:

  • Campaign (3 different campaigns)
  • Historical Scenario
  • Custom Battle

 

Let's start with the last on that list, Custom Battles. 

Custom Battle's are what they sound like, just the same as any other type of game, standard really (but still a nice option). There are 7 different scenarios you can fight: 

  • Regular - this is where you have one fleet just having an all out attack on another.
  • Port Attack and Port Defend - these are where you either have to attack or defend a port against invading or defending forces.
  • Blockade Attack and Defence - where you just have to not allow enemy ships past your blockade or you have to get past the enemies blockade.
  • Lastly, Convoy Attack and Defend - you have to either defend or attack ships like cargo containers etc.

 

Click for full imageClick for full image

 

At the start there is setup where you choose how many points you want to let each team have (it has to be either 400, 900, 2000 or unlimited - you canít choose your own amount), you then pick which country you want to play as and which one you want to fight out of the ones available: Britain, USA, Germany, Japan, Vichy France, Free France and the Netherlands. This is a generally small amount of countries if you compare it to the number of countries involved in the conflict (such as the Soviet Union, Australia, Canada, Brazil etc..). However, the developers are still doing updates so they might add others. After you pick your country you then pick which ships you want and how many (20 max), you use the points to spend on the ships. Additionally you can change what time of day you start the battle at so you can have night battles as well which is a nice feature. When you start the battle you will be able to deploy your ships where you want (up to a certain extent, but itís flexible enough) and then you click next and start the battle and, instantly, you are dropped in to a beautiful map (the water is seriously nice). In play you can choose how fast you want each ship to travel, you can tell it what guns to fire, where to fire them and you also have a range bar so you can see very easily how close you have to get before you can start firing on your enemy. The visuals of the explosions of the guns firing and the shots landing are really satisfying. 

When shooting, because thereís a long bullet travel time (as there should be), you really have to lead with your guns and think about where your shooting - it's really challenging and yet really fun. After you've destroyed most of the enemy ships and damaged others they start to rout, however, there is no system to show how close they are to routing or what their morale is in the first place and I think that something needs to be implemented so that you could, for example, know when to send ships around to outflank enemy ships to stop them running, or so you can target a ship with low morale to get it out of the fight faster. The reload times on the guns are really natural, as if they are going through all the processes of loading the new ammunition. The torpedo's take an extremely long time to load, which is logical seeing as most ships aren't designed to have torpedo's as their main weapon (the submarines torpedo load time is a lot faster). 

That about sums up custom battles, it definitely helps you practise your battle skills, as you can also choose what difficulty level you want the enemy ships AI to be. This ranges from 1 to 10 -with10 being the hardest. I have to say though itís annoying how you can't set up play so as to have a 2v2 or 2v3 etc. It would make it a lot more interesting having multiple countries in the battle.

Click for full imageClick for full image

 

Historical Scenarios  

You have 8 historical scenarios to play, 4 of them being Britain v. Germany, 3 of them are Britain v. Italy and the other one was an ABDA battle which was against the Japanese, the battle of the Java Sea. (ABDA was a force consisting of four nationalities, America, Britain, Dutch and Australia. They were tasked with protecting the Malay Barrier, the bit of sea in between north Australia and south China.) 

They are what they say they are, they are made up of the ships that took part in those battles and you try and change what actually happened in history, quite nice. However I would like more of them, so hopefully more will be added. 

 

Campaign 

So the campaign is made up of 3 different campaign choices, you have the three different theatres of war: the Pacific, the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. In whichever one you choose, you have to go around fighting enemy fleets. You get given missions to do certain tasks plus you have to defend your ports whilst attacking enemy ports as well. It's actually really similar to Mount and Blade: Warband's campaign mechanics when on the campaign screen. 

But overall the campaigns are really fun and thereís 3 of them which allows for more replayability. 

 

On to bugs... 

Bugs get their own section as Iím kind of mad. They released this game fully at the end of August and yet it still has bugs even now. The UI is buggy (look at the screen shot)

Click for full image 

 

When you're on the campaign map you literally bump in to islands and rebound off of them if you click on the opposite side of the island. Itís not like you get stuck, but itís like they hit a barrier and get repelled. I was just playing the game for 5 minutes doing that, just watching my navy being rebounded off of the islands - yeah, Iím entertained really easily ... Thereís also this bug where I alt tabbed in the deployment screen and came back in and lost all my troops.

Click for full image 

 

However, to be fair, itís not as if they are ignoring these issues, they are still updating the game, listening to the players of the game and their feedback and improving on the game. They still listen. This is a big point because most game companies like to make the game, throw it on the market and then concentrate on the next game, they just leave whatever game they made on its own and refuse to make any more improvements on it. 

But I do think they need to spend more time sorting out these bugs. 

[Editor] As this is a significant issue to be raised we thought it reasonable to allow the developers to comment on the criticism. The following is their response: 

James Carroll, Director Evil Twin Artworks Limited ďWith regards the odd bug (and it is just one here and there), this is due to the fact that this is a community game, the game we have now is very very different from the game launched in August. We have encouraged feedback and ideas to make this a game that the players enjoy. The community appreciates us listening to them and working their ideas into the game. Of course that has meant some major updates with whole new game mechanics being added based on the community's wish list. As with anything like this that does mean the odd bug appears, which is why we keep the updates in Beta on Steam while we address these. Being a small team we have prioritised getting these game mechanics in and we encourage the community to feedback to see if this is how they saw it working, as well as give us any feedback on bugs that may have cropped up with the new mechanics. 

Based on community feedback this game has seen fleet formations being added, a whole extra tactical map added as well as the ability to group ships, add subs as more of an ambush predator as well as add the Japanese and German campaigns, to name but a few. But as you can imagine these were big undertakings and the community has helped as much with the bug fixes to make them work the way they want as they have suggest mechanics and make this game their own. I think as Cam has said we are listening to the community, we havenít just put this up and hoped it would sell. We are improving it weekly and overall I think the community understands that with these major updates there is a transitional period where the odd issue has to be addressed. In fact we are really blessed with the game's community and how positive, constructive and encouraging they have been, it is wonderful to collaborate with them! However it does mean we have a wish list as long as my arm.Ē 

 

UI Issue 

One thing I really hate about this game with a passion is some parts of the UI. I think itís because it was made using Unity that it looks like it does, but I really just do not like the menu UI. The in-battle UI is fine, and I like that, but the menu UI is terrible - it takes me ages to click on an arrow or something to select a different country in the custom battles because my mouse is hovering over the box furiously click but the hit box or whatever it is on the UI doesn't pick up that my mouse is hovering over the damn box, I suggest for any new games they make they do something about this UI.

 

[Editor] and likewise with this: 

James Carroll, Director Evil Twin Artworks Limited ďWith regards the UI we havenít as yet had any feedback on this from the community. It might be a more specific problem for the reviewer, if Cam wants to post it on our forum we will talk it through with him. Sounds to me like a setting on his screen resolution is knocking the hit box off the menu buttons slightly.Ē 

 

Summary 

Pros: 

  • Good campaign replayability as they have multiple campaigns
  • Each campaign is enjoyable with multiple different missions
  • Custom battles allow a wide range of different types of ships
  • Sufficient number of countries (but could do with more IMO)
  • Graphics are pretty
  • In-depth ship system - different types of guns, speed, different parts that can get damaged
  • You can choose what pace you want to play each battle at as they have a time slider
  • Your ships and the enemyís ships are easy to tell apart
  • Friendly fire means you take more care of your ships
  • You can choose whether you want to control 1 ship 2 ships or if you want all of them to be controlled by AI etc.
  • The soundtrack is beautiful, the music was really nice, the ships noises etc were all done extremely well
  • You can play "Dodge the Torpedo" - you can get a ship and dodge enemy torpedoes by going between them; itís really fun, itís not actually a legitimate mini game but I would like it if they made a mini game like that
  • Developers listen to feedback
  • Game is still updated frequently
  • The AI in the campaign is extremely challenging and so it makes it entertaining, also your allied AI does attack enemy AI meaning more dynamic play
  • Runs nicely at a high FPS

 

 

Cons: 

  • Too many bugs for it to be called finished really (I think it should still be in beta) - although the bugs aren't really game breaking
  • The ships aren't detailed enough - I would like some sort of cinematic camera mode of the ships, I want to be able to see the men on the ships, all the guns and even the aircraft on the aircraft carriers close up. I think it'd look really nice; it annoyed me when i couldn't zoom in close enough to see the guns firing properly
  • They need to show what the morale of ships is, and how much morale they have left
  • New UI. ASAP
  • More team play (e.g. 2v2, 1v3, etc. With the AI however I would like multiplayer as well if it was possible Ė but I donít think it is)
  • Bouncing ships in the campaign (not a bug but itís really unrealistic)
  • There are barely any graphical options - lots of different resolutions but when you choose what graphics settings you want itís just literally just a slider. Iíd expect that on a console game, but not a PC game. 

 

 

Conclusion 

All in all, itís a fun game with its good points and bad points. I would recommend this game to any people who love RTS games - actually scrap that, I would recommend this to everyone because either you hate it or love it, but you won't know until you try playing it.  

In the end itís your decision whether you do or not, but I hoped this helped. This has been a review from just your average gamer, funkyguy09.