- Zuzanna Blaszkiewicz |
The highly anticipated MMO World of Warships, from the same developers as World of Warplanes and World of Tanks, is now in closed alpha with a release date that's TBA. Still, that doesn't mean there aren't already a ton of great naval battle games that you can play in the meantime.
As somewhat of a niche genre, there are plenty of games that either focus solely on naval battles, or have a great naval element to them. Whether you'll have to manage your fleet of aircraft and battleships to beat your enemy, defend your base, ports, and fleet, or launch raids to cut off naval routes and invade enemy territory, there are naval battle games for every scenario. Below are some of the best naval battle games for PC, taking you from WWII to the 17th Century high seas, and everywhere in between.
1. BattleStations Midway
One of the classic games in the genre, BattleStations Midway is a strategy game that takes place in the Pacific Ocean circa WWII. Using real-time tactics, you can control each individual ship or plane in your entire fleet, with the hope of defeating your enemy. While BattleStations Midway may be an older game, it still has decent graphics, offers both single and multiplayer mode, and is truly a staple in the genre.
2. BattleStations Pacific
The sequel to BattleStations Midway, BattleStations Pacific expands on the previous title by adding new features including new weapons and ships, different kinds of combat–namely, more advanced submarine battles– and the ability to play either a US or Japanese campaign. It also has 5 extra multiplayer modes, including Island Capture, Duel, Competitive, Siege and Escort.
3. Silent Hunter IV: Wolves of the Pacific
If submarine warfare is more to your taste, try Silent Hunter IV: Wolves of the Pacific, a game from Ubisoft that also takes place in the Pacific during WWII. The submarine simulator uses really intricate graphics to literally immerse you in the depths of the Pacific Ocean, with everything from launching torpedo attacks, to using radar and sonar, to managing your crew. Different game modes make it easy for both beginners and more advanced players to master the game.
4. Battlefield 4 Naval Strike (expansion pack)
The Naval Strike expansion pack for Battlefield 4 brings naval warfare to the 21st century. Taking place in the South China Sea, the DLC pack brings multiplayer maps, new gadgets and weapons, and most importantly, a hovercraft. In the new Carrier Assault mode, you'll be battling to sink the enemy's aircraft carriers.
5. Naval War: Arctic Circle
Travel a bit further north in Naval War: Arctic Circle, a real-time naval strategy game that, unlike some of the previous games, takes place in the distant future during a fictional war. The game has everything from submarines, aircrafts, and helicopters, to in-air refueling tankers and onshore airbases. With navies from many different countries, including the UK and Scandinavian countries, the game offers both single and multiplayer modes.
6. War Thunder
It's still in beta, but War Thunder is a great option which, although doesn't exclusively contain naval battles, definitely has some great naval content. The focus is on flight, but air combat is not complete without naval battles. You can experience naval warfare in War Thunder with aircraft carriers, warships and naval aviation units. For a free game that still in beta, it's a great option.
7. Empire: Total War
Another complete war game, Empire: Total War is a turn-based, real-time strategy game that takes you back to the 18th century, where you can recreate some of the most well-known historical battles of the early modern period. The real-time naval battles in Empire were a first for the Total War series, letting you fire cannons and engage in on-board combat in both single and multiplayer modes.
8. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
It may not be a traditional naval war game, but the latest installment of Assassin's Creed takes you to the high seas in the Golden Age of pirates. Aboard the Jackdaw, you'll be able to navigate the seas, firing cannons and weapons at enemies, overtaking Spanish galleons, and customizing your ship to take part in some epic sea battles.
9. Voyage Century Online
Less naval battle than naval exploration, Voyage Century Online is a nautical-themed MMPORG set in the 16th century. Ships are your primary method of travel, and you can pick up skills in sea battle, navigation, and even shipbuilding. If faring the high seas is what you're looking for, you can choose to become either a Royal Military Officer or a Caribbean Pirate, perfecting your short and long-range cannon attacks.
If you're a fan of 17th century ships but prefer a bit more naval action, try Windward, an online game from developers Tasharen. In Windward, you play in teams of four, using your ships to take over as many structures as you can on the map. It's not as graphically advanced as some of the naval battle games on the list, but for a browser game, its still pretty impressive.
While some of these games may not be limited to naval battles, they all offer great naval battle elements in various forms, with different levels of graphics, for anyone who wants some simulated naval action.
Note: Original article published October 3, 2007.
What's your favorite naval battle game?