Currently my favorite game to play of the last couple weeks, easily in my top ten all time. I kinda like this game so this is a bit long. To summarize, this is a great game if you like arpgs, ship battles, or group play. This is not a game that really supports a single player playstyle.
The first thing I want to say is that if you only play the single player you will be really gimping yourself. The second thing is that this is a freshly released ARPG, much as D2 and D3, I think that the potential of this game is vast. In the last four days I've seen the developer online communicating with the playerbase, on discussions forums, and on the subreddit. The community of windward is one that works together and at odds of one another for pure fun; the initial factions easily swapped and online it can be amusing to watch the pvp as some people may switch sides or go pirate and fight all sides in a zone.
The depth of windward is in its progression. Upgrading the gear on your ship is one type, however so it upgrading the ship itself. In fact I would go so far as to say that the ship upgrade really makes the "gear game" a non-issue (and therefore not a grind). This is the first ARPG where I got to a high level without ever feeling like I needed to just grind out mobs/quests (not to say that you don't, but I didn't notice it).
Killing ships and trying to get enough money to get to the next ship I want was a ton of fun, the multiplayer aspect of it in the early and mid game was fantastic, trying out pvp around level 30 and being able to compete with someone 30 levels above me (due to the server option of having level scaling turned on) was a lot of fun. As I entered the start of the endgame, level 50, I joined the Syndicate. A faction you only qualify for as level 50+. Factions are nothing more than flags you equip in a flag gear slot, they are not to difficult to earn from the various factions either. (I got them all simply by joining combat instances with other players and killing pirates)
The graphics for this game were better than I expected, particularly with a single developer behind the wheel. The gameplay is very well polished, there are a few bugs (being slung 1/2 way across the map on to land after a MASSIVE 8 ships to ships collision was hilarious) but nothing that interrupted my fun. The community is fantastic, the veterans of this game consistently invite and help out lower level players (and are encouraged to through the way the Heroic system works), spawn ships for loot, and the developer himself is in touch with the people playing.
One downside of this is that the game is very much made for group play, if you want a single player experience I would not recommend this because it is fundamentally designed for more than one player at a time. At a certain point (I think 70) all instances are scaled to be completed with 3+ players and there is a minor trinity system in place with the specializations, equipment, and ships. You can be a Tank, Offensive damage, or support (Healing/buffing/Debuffing). . Heroic instances make use of this with a max of 12 ships in the instance. There is normally a 1-4 Ships of the line (Tanks), 5-8 damage specced ships, 1-3 Support specced ships... and its a BLAST. Due to the way the level scaling works you can get into these at level 50. You unlock the Orange faction (Can I just say the legendary faction?As in being a legendary captain?) at level 150, and then you continue to unlock very interesting abilities as you increase in level.
I find the depth in this game to be in the progression, the community, and in the smaller aspects of gameplay like how the various playstyles fit together. Even though this game is out of early access and IS a complete game, it is still under patch support and revision, much like other ARPGs (*cough* Diablo) the potential of windward is greater than the current rendition of the game and I cannot wait to see what it will play like over the next 6 months.
Its a bit grindy early on, but when you get to the late game and the factions starting meeting up, all hell breaks loose and its gets insanely fun, just gotta grind that early part, which is why im taking 1 off because it should not feel like a grind.
Its a very pretty game and well polished for an indie dev, and that dev seems like a really nice guy responding to the community and giving us what we want (all the good suggestions anyway)
Windward puts the controls over the fun with the player, as it is more a framework than a complete video game. Only the multiplayer mode gets Windward going, which means it is not the action-filled multiplayer sandbox game that was promised.
The opening portions of Winward have you falling asleep at your computer; later areas have you cursing angrily as every small victory you win is erased by the overzealous enemy AI (aided by utterly complacent allies content to watch town after town fall to pirates). The promise of exploring Windward's world as you see fit is a false one, and Windward never earns its sea legs.
The game is very addictive. Especially for the price point. ($15) it has been compared to a co op version of Sid Myers pirates and thats pretty accurate minus the dancing and sword fighting. UI pretty bland but does not take away from the game play. I love the instance if you just want a break from the servers To either a Coimbatore trade quest instance The ability to play online is fun but sometimes you just want to not fight every few minutes to quest and trade. At upper levels it does get challenging and the AI pushes you to think and react. Picked this game up the day before release and have not been able to put it down. If you are a fan of the age of sail. Or just want a fun game at a price of a large pizza grab this one.
This is a nice casual game where you can colonize, do sea simple sea batttles, and trade... but most importantly have fun with friends. You can compete against other players, or just play with them.
I like this game, it is calm, and there is no stress like some other multiplayer games or wooden ship battles ones.
It is cheap too and has a good quality-price tag.
I recommend this only if you want to play with your friends, the magic is in multiplayer... although I play often in single player mode.
Note that this review was done from the single player experience. And as a single player experience, Windward is woefully grindy and simplistic. That's not a good combination.
There's nothing interesting to explore in Windward - the next map is a generic version of the last map. The game play is exceptionally grindy as you buy two or three goods (that's all your ship will hold for the first 10+ hours of any game), travel across the generic map to go to a different city and sell those two or three goods. You're thanking your lucky stars when you can sell both goods at the same city. And the cities take FOREVER to develop into anything remotely large, and there's no way to develop your cities beyond enduring this grind because the "quests" (all are either "kill x" or simple Fedex quests) level your cities even more slowly.
Single player combat is nothing more than sailing in a circle waiting for the next hotkey to come up - it's like the worst example of level 1 MMO combat.
So you move on from region to region, doing the exact same thing. There's no fundamental personality or purpose to the single player component. It becomes tedious very quickly and the known bug with pirate spawning rates (this is going to be fixed) only adds to that incredible annoyance. You're also pretty much on your own. You can have computer AI ships follow, but they simply fail to do so (or can't keep up), meaning that any battle you face will undoubtedly be on your own.
MP is a different game. Windward is a better game when played cooperatively - it's easier to take down other enemies, coordinate strategies and so forth. But as a single player experience, Windward loses its luster quickly. Since that's what I like to play, Windward gets a thumbs down. It's not horrible but it grows dull fairly quickly.
PS - Anyone who doesn't know that it's Sid MEIER (not Myers) shouldn't be trying to compare this game to Pirates! The big difference between the two games is that the world of Pirates! was interesting with a lot of personality. There's none of that in Windward.
TL;DR SUMMARY: Game is easily a pass; which pains me to say as I typically love anything having to do with nautical, naval, sea, sailing, etc. (Thank God I got it in a Humble Bundle!) There's three main mechanics to the game: 1. Sail, explore, and pick up items as you find them, 2. Attack and have combat with enemy vessels, 3. Dock at ports via a menu where you get supplies/quests -- wash/rinse/repeat those three mechanics endlessly throughout the entire game on "procedurally-generated" maps. (At least you can also customize the factions/ships, as well as the map layout I guess... fourth mechanic!? LOL.)
Anywho, after perusing around on the webs a bit... seems some devs have "inspiration" (as a developer so eliquently phrased it on the Steam forums) from older shut-down titles/creations to then take said material, roll it around a bit, and rerelease it as their own... sad in a way... to have the ability and opportunity to make something unique and make the most out of the platform/foundation, and instead recycle something that's been done and shut-down numerous times before. :-|
REVIEW: Not to be mean, game has some promise and potential, but it just got so boring with only sailing all the time and ship-combat aside from some (sarcasm) rousing menu-simulator going on.
Having enjoyed the ship-combat in PotBS and AC: Black Flag, decided to give this a whirl... with a focus on just sailing and ship-battles, how could one go wrong.
Well, that's where it begins to massively unravel. Game is okay, customization and configuration at the beginning of factions, and color-schemes, etc is really neat... but when the game starts and you play for awhile, it's the classic wide as an ocean, but deep as a puddle dilemma.
It's another of many "pop up menu at the docks" sailing games with a locked isometric-view, where you're constantly staring down at your ship with no means to zoom it in whatsoever, so the view you start with is all you constantly have the entire game (an ability to pan in behind the ship and have more **** 3D view would be awesome!), with nothing but constantly seeing the water and the ship, which might be okay. But then you just constantly sail, gather, quest (which quests you get at docks and they get put in your cargo-hold like inventory... for some that makes sense, but others not so much), grind, combat, etc. If this released many moons ago on say the NES, SNES, or even the Gamecube, or even early Playstation 1 or 2, might not have been so bad as a quick time-waster console-game... but this is a PC game, that only released 2 years ago in 2015.
It's almost more of a clicker kind of game... since when you come across pirates or enemies, your ship will auto-fire at it and all you really need to do is circle it and watch the battle commence. I was trying my hardest not to doze off while playing this, and I honestly wasn't tired when I originally started playing it... and even more bluntly honest, I wanted it to be much more fun than that! -_-
I'm gonna' have to shelf this again... because if all I did in this the entire time is JUST ship sailing constantly and auto-combat and grinding... I might find myself burned out on other games such as PotBS, etc... which is a shame... was hoping this would be a fun "filler" kind of game when on a cool-down from PotBS and such... oh well, I guess... considering the state of today's gaming-industry, guess I shouldn't be all that shocked. Even if it were more of a pleasure-cruise exploration, there's so much more that could be done and/or added to make it more fulfilling as such. Perhaps allow people to get off on land and piers/town and walk around with a top-down old-school pixelated character (think Dragon Warrior or original Ultima and/or Final Fantasy) that can explore around, dig for treasure, fish, etc... perhaps even build/upgrade a house and/or your faction's village.
Another thing that I found bizarre, is even though it allowed me to customize SIX factions, which I tried to make really unique and interesting, even on the largest map (33x33), it would only allow me to place FOUR factions!? What happened to the other 2 that I customized!? -_-
SummaryAn action-adventure RPG in which you control a ship set in a large randomly generated world full of procedural content that will give you a different experience every time you start a new campaign.