Ultimate Admiral: Dreadnoughts – First Look
This upcoming naval game is being released by the developers (Game-Labs) with plenty of experience in this field. Another big title they released is Naval Action, the game that officially left its beta-stage just in late 2019 and became one of my favorite games to play!
Does the name “Ultimate Admiral” sounds familiar to you? Maybe that’s because there is another game by the same devs called Ultimate Admiral: Age of Sail. But you may also know their games featuring historical land battles – Ultimate General: Gettysburg & Civil War.
The game currently offers only one game mode – Naval Academy, which serves both as a tutorial and a set of battles as well. 35 different objectives are ranging from reaching specific ship parameters, through sinking the enemy, to escorting convoys. For each mission, you have some base restrictions like budget, displacement and available technology, but everything else is up to you. Will you decide to build one Behemoth with the massive main battery? Do you rather prefer two smaller battleships? Or maybe a nimble cruiser? It is all up to you!
You are starting with the plain hull of the ship. Soon you will realize, that building your dream ship will not be possible without some compromises. Either you will run into problems with weight limits, hit the budget limit, or you will compromise on technology too much and your ships will be too weak. This is the “bread and butter” of the game…
Playing with different builds is not just entertaining, it is also educational.
Many times, real-world navies struggled with the same problems during naval arms-race. How big guns do you need to be able to penetrate if the enemy ships protection is gonna be 280 millimeters thick on the belt? At what range are your guns effective the most accuracy and penetration-wise? Are you afraid of flooding? Better build more bulkheads and better torpedo protection system. Do you want to out-maneuver torpedos? You gotta build a fast ship. Again, you will not go 30knots on-demand with a super-heavy battleship.
The only way to find out, whether your build is good or not is to test it in real battle…
Let’s prove your concept. You will usually start with your own ship/s and some that were given to you by AI. You can either let AI control them or you can do it by yourself. The starting position of your ships related to the enemy is always random. Once, you will start miles away, giving you time to prepare for engagement, next time you will start with enemy ships already in your secondary guns range.
The biggest ships will get spotted first, yet you won’t be able to identify them accurately until you’ll get more intel. That makes your guns less accurate at the start, slowly improving with every fired salvo. Beware! If you see only one big ship it doesn’t mean she is alone. There are probably a lot more ships escorting her, yet to be discovered.
It’s time for some action! You decide your strategy of engagement. Split your ships or try to strike through. Chose your ammunition type, adjust speed, use a smokescreen to hide your fleet and make the enemy less accurate or just make your torpedo-boats YOLO into the enemy BB (if they can make it close enough).
Every weapon type on your ship can be assigned to a different target. That means you can shoot your main guns at broadside battleship, meanwhile raining secondaries on light cruisers. Penetration is as important as accuracy. Do not underestimate the enemy!
The damage model of ships is divided into many sectors. There is structural and flooding damage. You either burn/damage the ship’s structure to knock her out completely or you make enough holes in her lower parts with your shells/torpedoes so that she will sink from excessive flooding.
Ships can also lose their batteries/modules like engine, steering wheel etc. either temporarily or permanently. Flooding can significantly slow you down. If it is not excessive, you will slowly pump-out the water and start accelerating. However, if the flooding is too excessive e.g. big hole from a torpedo hit or from several AP shells, your ship will slowly sink as the firing of her guns go quiet.
This game looks pretty simple but it is really in-depth, exactly how I like it – Simple to learn, hard to master, offering tons of replayability!
Brawling can pay off with older designs but as you’ll start to play with newer and newer technologies, engagements will happen on much longer distances. Ship’s citadel and magazine detonation is possible as well if you manage to overmatch her armor. In such cases, most of the time it is lethal…
Ultimately, either you succeed or you will go back to the docks and revise your design.
At the moment, the game is still in Alpha stage. Devs are still tweaking mechanics and ship interactions. The graphical side is still not polished completely and many times waves will flush your ship and make it look like a submarine for a while. However, I really like Unity engine animations and despite simpler looks it is very appealing to me. Audio sometimes report a bug in pop-up console. Yet, for what it is already I enjoy the game a lot.
Dare to buy?
UAD is estimated to be released on Steam in the first half of 2020. Later builds will feature fully-fledged Campaign where you will choose one of the leading naval nations during the time period between 1890 – 1940. Map will be covering the whole world and your decision will not be only tactical (in battle) but also strategical (economy nationwide). The future of this game looks very promising for every Naval warfare enthusiast indeed…
For now, you can get the game on the official site in two options – 1. Pre-order for cheaper price and wait for the release on Steam, 2. Order now for a higher price, support devs and get immediate access to play.
I genuinely can’t wait for the full game release!
Let me know what do you think! Are you gonna get it? Will you wait until the full release?
P.S. Would you like to read Ultimate Admiral: Age of Sail review?