This review is a little later than expected, purely because I’ve spent the past few weeks stuck in a world of Final Fantasy. If I haven’t been collecting an army of Mirages then I’ve been slaughtering monsters with my badass axe of doom. It gets a little tiring constantly spending time in a fantasy world, and frankly Ships 2017 is about as close to real life as I’m ever going to get… Unless you count Grand Theft Auto of course, which is probably not the best game that I could take my example of reality from.
Ships 2017 is the new-ish released from developer FragOut an published by PlayWay S.A. It was released on Steam back on 19th October 2016, and has since received some mixed player reviews ranging from highly recommended to just… well, not so good. If you hadn’t already guessed it, Ships 2017 is, well about ships. It’s a boat simulation RPG in the sense where you take control of 3 special purpose naval vessels and complete missions and gain new rewards, that’s basically the game in a nutshell.
When you first start the game, you’ll be allowed to secure a loan and purchase 1 ship, the downside is that you only have enough money for the 1 and they’re all a little worse for wear, so probably not best to pick anything that goes underwater. The downside to this straight away is the game tells you that you can pick 1 of 3 ships, but only gives you the money to buy 1, which is the World Ship, capable of carrying large containers around the world, so bit of a downer if you wanted anything great, but hey, gotta work for your money to buy those other 2.
After you’ve bought your new vessel, you’ll have to fix ‘er up! To do so you’ll have to go around your ship, clicking the different parts and fixing them, again spending even more money… I hope the banks aren’t expecting any cash back any time soon because they aren’t getting any from me for several years, that’s for sure! Once your new ship is all trimmed and proper, it’s time to smash that bottle of champagne against them, and seriously, go buy the most expensive bottle there is because you might as well spend every penny.
Once you’re ready to go, you will get to partake in your very first mission, unloading 5 sea containers off a world ship… Whoo! The first missions is relatively dull, as you would probably expect. You have to use your keyboard skills to grab some containers and load them onto the ship. This is an incredibly long winded missions which broke me down more times than I care to admit, fortunately though you have the help of your trusty magical time watch which allows you to speed up EVERYTHING. This makes grabbing all those containers a breeze.
Fortunately the second mission is a little bit quicker and more enjoyable. You have to dock your ship! Which for some reason, gives you a ton of cash, which I’m not really sure why, but regardless, at least it adds some fun into the game. Docking your ship may seem like an easy task, but that boat is an absolute beast and whilst it’s very possible to dock it without hitting anything it can be a bit tricky. That said, again your magical stopwatch is your best friend here, and taking it slow and steady will win you that lovely pile of golden doubloons in no time.
The next two missions are just re-vamps of the first two. The third mission has you unloading the crates that you just recently placed onto your boat (which I’d imagine you’re now unloading because you just sailed to your destination) and the fourth mission has you sailing through some stormy weather and docking at a port. Fortunately though, mission 5 heats up (literally!) as your ship is now on fire! You have to manage your crew to beat the fire. This would be fun, if it wasn’t so buggy and send my characters every which way in the world.
I’m not going to go on too much about the missions, but in all honesty they just feel like overly repetitive mini games that you keep having to do until you eventually earn enough to buy your next boat. Whilst the first couple are somewhat enjoyable, they soon lose their impact and they just become mindless, repetitive chores that aren’t fun in the slightest. It’s worth pointing out that there are a total of 24 missions that you can undertake in total, and 1 special mission that becomes available afterwards. If you want to find out the special mission, then you’re out of luck, because honestly I don’t have the foggiest.
There’s a few things to note, obviously doing certain actions like dropping crates on trucks will cost you money (oops) and smashing the side of your boat will cost you even more money (double oops) so you have to try and be careful.
There is a pretty major bug which needs to be sorted out, especially when it came to the crane control missions and that’s that for some strange reason keys are sticking. This essentially means that your crane will continue to go in the same direction even when you stop holding that particular key. It’s a relatively easy fix, and I managed to fix it just by clicking the same action that the game was attempting to do in the on game screen, still it can be a bit of a nuisance, and a great way for me to chalk up smashing so many trucks.
Graphically, the game isn’t half bad. I mean there’s better, but of a game of this caliber the graphics are pretty crisp. I only had the game set on medium most of the time and frankly that was enough to get a good atmosphere of how it worked. Pump it up to ultra high and you might as well just go and sit in that boat dock, because you won’t tell the difference. There’s lots of visual aspects to this game which are pretty bang on from a simulation perspective, you’ll see lots of people, lots of seagulls, lots of water and pretty much anything that you would typically see at a port.
Sound wise, you can expect to hear all your favorite port-ly sounds such as birds and water splashing against the side. The downside is that the missions have an annoying as hell repetitive song on repeat, which really begins to drill into your head and eventually eats your soul with it’s chirpy repetitive rhythm. I’d strongly suggest just muting the game and playing TV theme song from ‘The Love Boat’ on repeat. It makes the game far more enjoyable.
Whilst the game is good from a simulation perspective, it’s a little bit repetitive and becomes slightly boring after a while. I found myself not wanting to do missions purely because there just not enjoyable and frankly I didn’t quite get into the linear style of mission gameplay. I understand that there’s not really much you can do with a boat simulation game, but it would be nice to have some form of open sandbox, where you could sail to ports all over the world and undertake missions as and when you please. Whilst it’s probably a nightmare to do, it would make the game a lot more enjoyable. At the very least, the game would benefit from being able to pick and choose missions as you prefer.
Overall, the game is riddled with bugs that need to be fixed before anything can really be said. Whilst the graphics are great and the sound is spot on, the game just isn’t really fun and the missions whilst at first are enjoyable, soon become tedious and quite frankly, boring. Whilst you can’t really expect much from a boat simulation RPG type genre, it really doesn’t adhere to what it says on the tin. You only control the boat for a small portion of the game, and the rest of the time you’re loading up containers or fighting fires which isn’t really my idea of a great experience.
If you are interested in boat simulation, then I’d suggest give it a try, but don’t expect to be managing your boat and sailing the seven seas with this one. It’s more learning how to manage a boat company and getting paid a ridiculous amount of money for picking up some containers, so it’s not overly realistic in that aspect either. I’d recommend checking out some videos and seeing if this is really your kind of thing before you make any investments, if it is then good for you, go buy yourself a new Admiral hat!
Quote: It’s time to put on your Admiral hats and get on the poop deck (not literally of course) for Ships 2017