Developer: Mastfire Studios Pty Ltd
Release Date: 25/02/2017
Publisher: Mastfire Studios Pty Ltd
Have you ever wondered?
What it would be like to be transported back to the early 1700's as a swashbuckling pirate, sailing the seven seas on a mouldy galleon with a group of hardy criminals riddled with STI's and scurvy. Dropping anchor at each port to either drink, fight, steal or dance horizontally, or all of the above? Yeah, me neither.
Luckily, you can filter out the bad things about that time period and get to the good stuff in this Early Access title Blackwake. A game that takes the best part of Assassins Creed: Black Flag and makes a full multiplayer experience out of it.
But hey, we've all trudged through the murky swamp of Early Access. So, is it worth your shillings at its current state, or just another cash in? I'll get to that.
Firstly, to summarise. Blackwake is a multiplayer first person shooter centred around naval combat. Each round consists of both teams destroying the opposing ship to reduce their tickets to zero, first to zero loses. At the current build, there are 3 modes, the first is a 1v1 deathmatch with 7 players each side manning a small ship (called a Hoy). A 2v2 mode similar to the aforementioned. Finally, the most fun mode you can play is the Naval battle, where you play as either Pirates or the Navy and are given 2 Hoys needing 7 players to man, and a Galleon requiring 13. At the start of every round one player on each ship is nominated captain by way of a vote, this works well because each captain has a global approval rating out of %100 meaning you can ditch the deadbeats and get yourself a real man to captain your ship. And this is what will make or break each match.
What I've learnt about this game is that Captains decide the tide of the battle. From the steering wheel, the Captain can see the entire situation and give orders to the crew such as what side to load cannons and fire from, or bracing for a ramming manoeuvre and boarding the enemy ship. There are voice presets to give these orders, but the best captains will be yelling at you down their mic to fix damage to the ship, pump out excess water, put out fires, repair sails, prepare to board etc you get the idea.
These are the bones of Blackwake, and at the current build you'll be spending most of your time loading cannons, fixing the damage, and boarding enemy ships to clear out the enemy crew and avoid them repairing damage.
These all amount to a fairly immersive and enjoyable experience.
You really do feel like an essential cog in the clockwork of the ship and when a good captain comes into contact with a well-coordinated crew it can be potential for some of the most hilarious and fun moments you'll have in a video game. And when you find a crew that yells orders at each other in pirate talk, it's game over for your sides, man.
And that is what Blackwake thrives on, if you enjoy playing a role and get the most out of a game when you're communicating with teammates and coordinating your attacks then this game is definitely for you, the big question is are you willing to spend $20+ dollars on a rough draft that isn't fully realized yet? Because that's what Blackwake is, a rough draft of something that could become great.
This current build only consists of those 3 modes, and the majority of those servers are running the naval battle on repeat. So it's no doubt you'll be playing the same game mode over and over again. The game is not without its repetition. And the deciding factor is that if you can't get into the game at its current state, it's doubtful Blackwake will hold your attention 6 months down the line when new game modes are added, new weapons, ships, uniforms, and perhaps more.
That's what we're expecting from Mastfire Studios in terms of development. We're expecting more content and the addition of varied game modes to keep players playing.
So if the current game sounds right up your alley then chances are, it will. But if you're expecting an AAA experience with every nook and cranny polished to perfection then you are going to be sorely disappointed. This game has given me hours of enjoyment and I can safely say I've got my money's worth. I'm looking forward to Blackwake' development and hope that the game grows to its full potential. Because man, it can only get better from here.