I’m not big on the simulation genre. I’ve played a few in my time--and I do quite enjoy Farming Simulator--but beyond that, I don’t put much time into working virtual jobs. So please forgive my inability to speak to the realism of Ships 2017.
Now, I’m not a ship-aficionado, but as I understand it, Ships 2017 isn’t as heavy on the actual simulation as some might expect. There is no first-person view, and there are only three ships available to take out to sea. Moment-to-moment gameplay can get a little tedious, but that is to be expected when you're doing things people are paid to perform in real life. Ship enthusiasts might really appreciate the many little tasks that must be done to correctly complete missions, but from a purely gameplay perspective, they can get a tiny bit too repetitive.
Gameplay consists of a variety of simple tasks to be completed: loading and unloading cargo, steering your ship, docking in the correct space. None of it is particularly difficult, and it would become much too repetitive much too quickly if it were not for the uniqueness of the 25 missions spread across the three ships. Many of the missions are sort of individual tutorials that teach how to perform certain actions. While this ensures that there is little repetition, it leads to a bit too much linearity. The objectives you’re faced with require very specific things to be done in a very specific order, and unfortunately bugs can break missions altogether, requiring the scenario to be reloaded.
Controls can be pretty clunky and slow at times, but that’s likely intentional and in-keeping with the simulation. Crew management might have been my favourite part of the experience; Directing them to put out fires, save shipwrecked survivors, and even repel pirates can provide some exciting moments, even if it's never particularly challenging. Controls in the aspect of the game are as clunky as the ship controls, though, and here it isn’t adding to any sort of realism.
I enjoyed my time on the high seas well enough when the game actually worked, but I ran into plenty of ‘rough water’ in the form of bugs such as camera issues, glitched cameras, and objectives remaining uncompleted are a few of the problems that plagued me in throughout my time with it. I also experienced two crashes. Issues like these are immersion-breaking for any game, but they are even more jolting in a simulation that strives to immerse its players. Ships 2017 could have used a few more months in development to clean up this lack of polish.
The visuals suffer from that same lack of polish. Ships 2017 isn’t beautiful. Even on higher settings when it’s pushing my computer, it remains a game that’s only just fine to look at. The music provides a nice and relaxing background to the monotony of seafaring, and I can confirm that the horn is fun to use.
Ships 2017 (Reviewed on Windows)
The game is unenjoyable, but it works.
While a good number of the missions are fine when they work, the linearity and widespread bugs prevalent throughout the game ruins Ships 2017. Bad controls, underwhelming visuals, and plenty of other issues make this a generally unenjoyable game.