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Monday, April 6, 2015

Kantai Collection Game Review

If you at least follow the anime or otaku culture scene even a little bit you should already know what Kantai Collection is. To put it simply: World War II ships(mostly Japanese) anthropomorphized into girls. I've written my impressions on the anime, now it's time for me to review the game.

I registered for the game a few days after I watched the first episode of the anime. While in the end the anime was not that great, it did lead to me checking out the browser game. The registration process was the thing that put off a lot of people from trying out the game(aside from the language) but I didn't really encounter any problem. I've even made 4 other accounts for my friends within 1 week of me registering. So if you've been skipping out of trying KanColle because of the registration I say just try it out. Just follow the instruction found on the wiki, the process is not as hard as you think it is.

KanColle at its core is a browser game and that means a lot of waiting. Either you're waiting for expeditions to finish, waiting for your ships to finish repairing or waiting for a new ship to finish building, there will always be waiting involved in this game. The faster you accept that fact, the more enjoyable the experience would be. Oh, and farming, there will be a lot of farming. Those of you who hate browser games that involves waiting and farming just turn back now and move along, this game is definitely not for you.

What really made me interested in Kantai Collection is the collection part of the game. I always like games with collection elements in it like in mobile games such as Million Arthur, School Idol Festival, Soccer Spirits and many more games with card collecting elements(that isn't necessarily a card game like Hearthstone). If you're like me and like collecting things too then Kantai Collection will not disappoint as it offers around 200+ shipgirls to collect and they add more girls or upgrades of them every month or so.

The gameplay of Kantai Collection is pretty simple with the players as the admiral having to build our shipgirls and send them out to missions. The end goal is to collect more and more shipgirls just as the name of the game implies.

There is no story involved in the game and they don't really explain anything about the shipgirls or the enemies. While the lack of lore is disappointing, the ships themselves are really interesting characters. All of their personalities reflects their real life counterparts like Sendai really liking night battles that comes from the fact that the actual Sendai Light Cruiser are mostly sent on night missions. Every shipgirl in the game is also voiced which adds a lot more character and charm to them.

The combat is done at random and you have no control on which enemy the girls will choose to attack which sometimes could lead to frustration. Exploration in missions are also sometimes done at random with players having to repeat the same mission over and over again until they can reach the Boss Area/Node. It might sound frustrating and annoying but this is pretty standard fare for most browser or mobile games of this type. The key to this game is perseverance, patience and a bit of luck(well, A LOT of luck).

Now a lot of people would think that with a random combat, the game wouldn't really have any depth right? not necessarily. The depth of the game's system comes in the form of the equipment and various ship classes available. Choosing the right kind of equipments for each ship and picking the right girl for a particular mission isn't as easy as bringing the biggest ship with the biggest weapons.

There are some mission that will limit what kinds of ship the player can bring and missions that contain enemy submarines will force the player to bring either Destroyers, Light Cruisers or Carriers to counter them. The variety of these missions makes the players need to do research on the missions that they are going to do.

One thing to remember is that kancolle have permadeath in it. If you sink your ship outside of PvP then they will disappear forever until you get that same ship again through construction or drop. Having said that though, sinking a ship is really a hard thing to do unless you are really careless because you can only sink ships if you enter combat when they are heavily damaged(red health).

Events, new ships and new upgrades to existing ships are added frequently which adds more stuff to collect. For players who have played a long time they will reach a point where they are only waiting for new events and although it might seem boring with nothing much to do every few months. The solution is pretty simple though, you can always not play for awhile and just jump back in whenever there's an event.

Aside from combat there is also Expeditions which is essentially a way to gain resources and other useful stuff when the player is not playing the game. Expeditions have different requirements, rewards and time needed to complete said expedition.

Construction in Kancolle is one of the ways to gain new ships aside from doing missions. Some ships can only be obtained through construction. The construction system used in Kancolle involves the player putting certain amount of resources(Fuel, Ammunition, Steel, bauxite) to construct a ship. Different crafting recipes will yield different results and this is also the same for equipment development. There is also Large Ship Construction that will use a lot more resource to build larger ships and get the most sought after ships like Yamato, Musashi, Taihou, Bismarck, and Shioi(I-401).

There are quests available that will reward the players with resources and various other rewards. There are a lot of daily, weekly and even monthly quests that are useful to get more resources. There is one annoying thing about the quests though in that the player can only activate 5 quest at a time. This is a minor issue but can sometimes be annoying.

Those who want extra challenge can also try to clear the bonus areas every month. Bonus areas numbered the fifth area of each world(1-5, 2-5, etc) can be cleared to get medals every month. Medals can be converted into resources or blueprints used to upgrade certain ships.

Kancolle's business model is pretty good although I'd have to say that it is rather Pay to Win. But the fact that game focuses more on PvE rather than PvP makes it a bit more forgivable. Aside from the marriage document/ring that allows the player to upgrade a ship's max level up to lvl 150(from the usual max lvl 99) the other stuff that the player can buy through the microtransaction is quite fair. Repair slots, Construction slot and ship slots are the most important stuff to buy and they are entirely optional. Player can also buy resources, instant repairs, instant construction and other stuff but they aren't really useful as those items can be easily obtained through gameplay.

A fun thing to do aside from playing the game is to decorate your office or HQ. Decorations can be bought with points that can be obtained through expeditions, missions and quests. Some special decoration will need furniture fairies that can also be obtained through certain quests, events or bought with real money.

In conclusion, Kancolle is an addictive browser game and a game that is highly recommended for those who like to collect stuff. Those who doesn't like grinding or farming should stay clear of this game unless you're really interested in the characters of the game.

Do you play Kancolle? or watched the anime? who's your favorite character? what do you think about the game? share your thoughts about kancolle on the comments below.

Additional info:
The game is a bit NSFW as the shipgirl's art when they are damaged will show some skin(although there is no nudity). 

For those who doesn't understand Japanese but still interested in checking out the game there are several programs that you can use to help you play the game. I have tried KanColle Command Center and Kancolle Viewer and both are very useful to help you play the game. There are other viewer programs as well but I don't know for certain if they are safe to use as some people have said that you could be banned for using them. Use at your own risk.

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