King of Seas | Review of the Italian action rpg

King of Seas | Review of the Italian action rpg

King of Seas is an action-rpg for new pirates, developed by the Italian 3DClouds who left the tracks and circuits of All-Star Fruit Racing and Xenon Racer to sail new waters and venture into uncharted territories. The romantic idea of ​​a life made up of incredible adventures and that sense of freedom that only the infinite blue expanse of the sea can give you, always catches the imagination. Video games have reworked it in many genres and ways: from the latest Sea of ​​Thieves and Furious Seas, to the legendary Monkey Island and Pirates! whose fame is equal to that of the greatest captains in history. King of Seas is in the wake of the game created by Sid Meier and, consequently, of Windward, an action-adventure RPG of a few years ago set in a procedurally generated world just as King of Seas promises to do.

Unlike Tasharen Entertainment's cooperative-oriented sandbox, 3DClouds' title is an entirely single-player experience, where between one story mission and another you can accept secondary missions, conquer ports, go fishing trips, engage in trade but above all to engage the sailing ships of the other factions present in clashes at the last cannon shot. The narrative incipit of King of Seas coincides with the most classic of the tutorials that introduces the basic commands to keep the boat afloat by wisely exploiting the direction of the winds. But what seemed like a quiet and ordinary routine mission turns into the most nefarious of events: the King of the Seas is assassinated by a powerful Voodoo rite and on our return the blame is placed on us, the legitimate heirs to the throne. Hunted and sunk by navy forces, we are swept along and rescued by a group of pirates.


This is where our new life begins, metaphorically marked also by the transition to majority age. As Marylou or Luky - it makes no difference which character we choose to play with - we will have to shed light on what happened by surviving all the threats that will try to hinder us. At the command of an agile Sloop we will take the first steps and immediately face some very demanding challenges. Both the navigation and the fighting take place with a fixed camera with a view from above, this means that it is not possible to rotate the camera but it can be approached as much as possible for a zoom effect on our boat. During the engagement phase there are neither a viewfinder nor the firing lines to calibrate the shot, so do not expect the instrumentation of a World of Warships because that is clearly not the intent. What you can act on is the speed and orientation of the ship, so as to align the guns on one side with respect to the other.

Apart from the obvious simplicity with which the shots are handled, there are some strategic aspects that make the clashes interesting anyway. Each sailing ship is made up of three main components: sail, hull and crew. The integrity of the wing regulates the maximum speed at which you can go; a damaged sail implies a general slowdown of the ship. The hull represents the durability of the vehicle; destroyed the hull we will sink. The crew is essential to manage the guns. The fewer men on board, the fewer shots fired. These three factors will always need to be adjusted to gain an advantage in battle. As standard we will have 3 different cannonballs, each used to do damage or the sail, or the hull or the crew. There are 5 different types of ships that we can maneuver during the adventure: Brigantino, Galleon, Sloop, Flute and Frigate. Each has its own peculiarities and is more suitable for one task than another, for example the Galleon is perfect for launching broadsides on outposts while the Frigate is a good compromise between power and speed.

All ships they are highly customizable with the loot obtained by defeating opponents, plundering old wrecks or purchased from the carpenters present in each port. We will be able to select Sails, hull, figurehead, bullets, choose unique skills for each type of ship and even recruit the crew we prefer. Each equipable object has a series of numerical statistics and a level, but it is a pity that there is no sort of glossary for the attributes, it would have helped to better understand some statistics. All the changes we make have a direct effect in the game, influencing the well-made model of the ship, although to observe all the details well we will have to zoom in as much as possible. The RPG aspect is completed with the talent tree which branches into three main categories: navigation, battle and voodoo. As the names suggest, we can go to improve combat efficiency by increasing bullet damage, reducing cooldown times or enhancing voodoo skills. In the branch of navigation we will also be able to influence the game economy by obtaining more experience or more gold according to need.

Just as there will be different sailing ships to use, there will be different ones to deal with, each with its own characteristics . Fearsome Navy Commanders accompanied by escort ships, treasure ships, smugglers, ghost galleons and even illustrious pirates to challenge. Several times throughout history, however, we have been slowed down by the requirements of a mission, either because it required a level that we had not yet reached, or because the goal was actually beyond our reach. The grind itself is not a problem when there are also pleasant side activities to complete, however it is not the case with King of Seas. The secondary missions can mostly be summed up in fetch quests of the type escorting a ship to another location, delivering a cargo from one port to another or eliminating an objective that always tend to repeat itself the same, It doesn't help much either the fact that the characters resemble each other. We went through a lot to level up at least until we found powerful, high-grade abilities that turned the tide of the game and the way we played. Overall the balance of the experience seemed to us to be improved, because once we had the best equipment it was fun to face the opponents.

Assaults and trade routes

After we advanced far enough in the story, a mini management component will also be unlocked which, in addition to attacking the ships, will involve us in the conquest and maintenance of ports that will also act as save points from which to start again. At that point the game will take on a different dynamism. Each conquered port will have to be strengthened by spending money on military strength, in increasing the population and in increasing wealth as the enemy forces will try to recapture the port. An in-game warning will inform us when the attack on our strongholds will take place and we will be able to defend them, or it will inform us of which ports are weakening to attempt the conquest. Often, totally focused on the main story, we did not have time to reach the places under attack and we lost them, or we did not find ships to lead the attack. Even when we launched attacks on our own initiative, there was little support from allied ships and we found ourselves alone against navy ships, pirate hunters and defense towers. Certainly challenging and that puts a strain on our combat strategies, but also a bit frustrating due to the lack of support.

Naval battles are therefore at the center of the game experience, but also exploration plays an important role because each game is made different by procedural generation. The exploration will not automatically complete the map as in other titles, but to have a clear position of the different game elements it will be necessary to purchase the map of an area from a cartographer. Since the outlines it can outline are limited, there will be plenty of maps to purchase. Money management will therefore be another fundamental component and we will be able to acquire a lot of it in our raids by sea, but especially by dedicating ourselves to trade. Each port has a market in which we can sell the goods collected and it is up to us to find the port city that pays the best for a given good. The fastest way to make money, however, is to sell the obsolete or excess loot to the carpenter.

Our time at sea has been accompanied, in addition to an energetic soundtrack, by some interesting ideas that have made the slightly less static raids such as the introduction of a day and night cycle to vary the dangers encountered in the waters or the variable weather and volcanic eruptions that caught us off guard and forced us to review the route. Sea monsters, currently represented by a tentacle protruding from the water, are just points on the map to be avoided, there are still no epic battles against what is stirring in the depths of the ocean. The developers have already outlined a roadmap and one of the future updates will be about sea monsters. We do not have details yet but a greater pinch of random events or new types of missions is what will surely do well to the title that suffers from repetition in the long run.

The PC version, as also reported on the shop page of Steam, does not currently enjoy full mouse and keyboard support and it is in fact totally recommended to play with a controller in particular to move around the menus. Apart from this problem that can be solved with a future update, the game did not present technical gaps or slowdowns in the most heated clashes with many ships and skills in use. The artistic form chosen by 3DClouds, low poly environments with very bright colors, goes well with the light style of adventure that alternates dialogues and characters illustrated with caricatured features. The mainland, even if it cannot be explored on foot, is nevertheless well cared for and presents details that make the various places pleasant to discover.

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