Wargaming's World of Warships: Legends features a lot of fast-paced and tense naval combat, but its emphasis on microtransactions is aggravating.
World of Warships: Legends is the latest in the "World of" series by developer Wargaming and, like previous games in the free-to-play franchise, it's a big win. From big, tense naval ship battles to illustrious and smartly designed maps in which to wage war, World of Warships: Legends has plenty to offer nearly every kind of gamer and potentially dozens of hours worth of fun. There are imperfections, some of which have plagued other titles in the series (especially World of Tanks) but none that aren't present in other "freemium" games like it.
World of Warships: Legends brings the popular PC game to console, not as a port, but as a new game built from the sea floor up. Like the original, Legends puts players in their very own naval warships but in slightly smaller battles of nine versus nine (both with real players and A.I. controlled bots). Like World of Tanks, these battles can be slow to start with, focusing more on team positioning and strategy in the early parts. But once things pick up, there's a ton of possibility for fast-paced action and suspense. These battles end with either all enemy (or team) ships destroyed or all the bases captured. This means that players must pay attention to how many enemies and allies are remaining as well as how many bases have been captured, ensuring that strategical play is paramount to success.
With that in mind, World of Warships: Legends offers three main naval ships to choose from: destroyers, cruisers and battleships (whereas the PC version has five with submarines and carriers). They all have their own strengths and weaknesses (destroyers have low health counts but they're extremely deadly when it comes to offensive attack) that make them perfectly balanced. And again, strategy really comes into play here, as you can't just go charging in head on with a destroyer and expect to be successful. Players who aren't all that into strategy or who didn't enjoy that aspect of World of Tanks probably will fare no better here either.
Strategy aside, the gameplay in World of Warships: Legends is tremendously polished, especially as both a free-to-play title and a sort-of-port/sort-of-rebuild version of the game for consoles. While the PC version has more variety in ships and modes, the console version is a lot more streamlined, fast-paced, and controlling naval ships is much more fluid as to make the transition from keyboard and mouse to controller more tenable. This was the right move and both ship movement and combat are very easy mechanics to pick up, even if it will take some time for most players to master.
Still, there are the same pitfalls in World of Warships: Legends that have plagued other games in the series, the most notable among them being the game's cash shop. Not only are the prices more than a little outrageous, but it's invasive as well. Obviously, as a free-to-play title, Wargaming has to make money somehow, but the rate at which the game reminds you that there's a premium cash shop is nearly mobile game-esque. Luckily, however, most ships can be purchased without having to spend a dime, but like most free-to-play games, it will take a lot of time and effort.
World of Warships: Legends is a triumphantly tense and fast-paced naval combat game, continuing the World of's winning formula of offering highly polished and supremely fun free-to-play titles for console gamers. Despite its limited game modes, there is so much variety in ship and map selection (as well as strategical approach) that it doesn't wear out its welcome quickly. The premium cash shop is annoying and overly in-your-face, but luckily World of Warships: Legends never actually requires players to purchase anything. All-in-all, this is a game that will launch all torpedoes at your free time, and most will be happy to watch it sink.
World of Warships: Legends is out now on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One as a free-to-play title. Screen Rant used an Xbox One version of the game for the purposes of this review.