When you think of Pirates, what comes to mind? Stories that you have read, movies that you have seen or even games that you have played. For me, the one thing that comes to mind it the ride at Disney World, Pirates of the Caribbean. There is just something as soon as you get close to that ride and finally step inside out of the sun, that you can just smell the adventure, hear that music and that voice and as you keep walking to get on your ride, the sense of being transported to another time has always put a smile on my face. There is this one battle scene where you see Captain Barbossa where cannon fire is going off and if you before you know it, you feel that splash of the cannon fire as it hits the water. I have always thought that if there could be any way of that scene where ships could battle each other and bring that into Virtual Reality, it would be pretty sweet. But has Developer Survios somehow taking that moment and brought the battles into Virtual Reality? Yes…yes they have. Let’s find out more with Battlewake for the PlayStation VR.
Battlewake is an arcade combat pirate ship game on the high seas where you can go at this in a solo, co-op or even player vs player battle and can be played with either the DualShock 4 controller or both Move controllers. Depending on what you control scheme you prefer, the Move controllers will allow you to have more of a freedom as each Move controller will represent each arm where you can steer the ship and turn the wheel hand over hand stile as well as depending on side the enemies are coming from, can be used to for firing the cannons on that particular side. By using the DualShock 4 controller, you may have a more familiar feel as you can steer your ship with the left thumbstick as well as use the R2/L2 to fire your weapons, R1/L1 for the anchors, Square button for your power, O button for your Ultimate, X button for the UI selection, Triangle button for the menu and the right thumbstick, for the quick turning action. But keep in mind, that by using the DualShock 4 controller, you will see your arms stuck together. For me, I went to DualShock 4 for the most part.
When you first start Battlewake, you are given a choice of Single Player or Multiplayer. I would strongly suggest that you head over to Single Player as it will allow you to get used to how things are done on the high seas, plus it gives you a chance for you to get introduced to Andromalius the Boatman where you are told you will be joining his crew and it also gives you a chance to get into the Campaign Mode or if you are feeling brave, jump into Warfare where you can see how many enemies you can take on. But Campaign serves as an introduction to each of the four different Captains and gets used to the ships that they captain.
The Captains are as follows:
Diego the Dreaded – Diego is the cool suave pirate who took to the seas and never looked back. His powers are the Winds of Solomon. Use Diego if you want that speed to get away from the enemies or use it to help ram them, but beware of Diego’s Ultimate Power of the Maelstrom’s Wrath were unleashing a massive storm will deal with damage over time.
Rev the Relentless – Rev was once a mere human, but her devotion to The Drowned One has transformed Rev into something more fearless. Use Rev if you want the power of the tentacle to damage upon the enemies. Just beware of Rev’s Ultimate Power as she will unleash the Kraken and the full power of the depths.
Calvera the Undying – When you live as a corrupt admiral in the Queen’s Company, power can get to your head and Calvera’s first mate decided to take action in his own hands and stab Calavera in the back. Thanks to The Boatman, Calvera has been resurrected with a new purpose. Use Calvera and the power of the Shield of Souls that will block all damage before it explodes. Just beware of Calvera’s Ultimate Power, the Forsaken Spear as it will invoke a barrage of spikes to tear apart the enemy.
Zhang the Magnificent – Zhang is the leader of the Urth’s largest pirate empire, once thought unstoppable until she vanished into legend. Zhang has returned almost a century later to defend the Throne of Shambhala from any who seek to abuse its power. Use Zhang and the power of the Aeon Tide to launch a powerful tidal wave that can knock enemies to their deaths. Just be aware of Zhang’s Ultimate Power, the Immortal Swell as it will wreak havoc with a mighty tsunami in all directions.
There might be something you notice right off the bat when it comes to Battlewake and that there is no crew on board. So there is no having to assign crew to this side or be on the lookout for any hurt or damage crew and really there is no need as this is just you and your ship while trying to be the best captain you know how to be. But to help make up for this is that each ship has its own different style of firing. So I for one am glad there is no one else to look out for as I want to own these seas and take care of anyone who might stand in my way.
What I really like about the campaign as you play through each of the chapters of each of the captains, you do get their take of what is going on and how they kinda feel about the other captains. Now, as you progress, and before heading into the next chapters, you do have the opportunity to use the treasure that you plundered or I mean collected for all your hard and honest work and you can upgrade your ship. You don’t have to if you don’t want to, but it does help. Once the Campaign is complete or if you decide to take a break, try out warfare and see how well you do with the countless enemies coming at you trying to end your tale. Remember, dead men, tell no tales.
If you have tried out the Campaign and Warfare, it is time to jump into the Multiplayer side of things. Here you can do the Campaign with up to two players, there is Warfare, and then there is Plunder which is the Free-For-All Deathmatch where all pirates go to show who is the best of the best in the world. I do wish there were some different modes to add to the fun, such as a freeze tag type of play where the frozen enemy would have to sit still while being attacked or maybe a Team Deathmatch. I will say that I did try many times of different times of the day to see if there was anyone on. Keep in mind, that you do not have to use the same captain for the same ship, you can mix and match if you would like to. When I tried to join a game, I was told many times “Game Found” only within mere seconds showing I was the only one on and that in a matter of just a few seconds I would be head back to the lobby where I tried over and over again. See, you can try the Public or Private Lobby and I always tried the Public one as I wanted to get the most bang for the battles. I almost gave up and was just going to continue on with the review and keep trying later. It wasn’t until I was actually writing this review, that I thought I would give it another try and by the pirate Gods of the seas, I found some players.
This was the moment I have been waiting for. Going into battle, I saw the other ships. My thoughts went from seeing other players to being able to be the captain of my own ship and see those other ships as we were engaging in a war. Weapons were fired, powers were used, all of us that lost the battle as we headed to the bottom of the sea only to come back. We all may have not won all of the battles, but it was fun being part of it.
While I was in this multiplayer of a battle, it hit me, that moment from the very first time I rode Pirates of the Caribbean and hoped that somehow…someway…someday this could all be brought into Virtual Reality for all to have fun and for all to captain our own ships into battle, Survios did it. They did it in a way that that may not have music playing in the background and I thought, when there were real pirate battles at sea, there was no music per say other than possible the crew singing at night from all the rum, but to hear the sounds of the sea and the enemy fire coming at you, to feel what it would be like to crash into another ship, and to see the way the sun can just hit right on the open waters, they did it. So thank you Survios…thank you.
If anything, Battlewake allows all to put on those pirate hats on and allow the kids in all of us to come out and play all while the adults that we may have to be sometimes to still be able to go out on the sea, take what we can and give nothing back. So drink up me hearties, yo ho.
Battlewake is out now. A review copy was provided. To learn more about Battlewake, please visit the site. To learn more about Survios, please visit their site and make sure you like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I have more pirates to battle, savvy?