Several months ago Azur Lane was released on mobile Android and iOS devices exclusively in China. It wasn’t long until it got its own Japanese release within a couple months. It has become so popular it has spawned not only just tons of fan art but cosplay and even figures are in production. The game has been out for almost half a year and it’s still growing in popularity. I talked about Azur Lane a month ago in my previous article here. Now that I have been playing the game daily for a couple hours each day this past month, it’s time I go more in-depth with the game. Let’s see what’s so great about this game featuring anthropomorphic WWII ships and whether it will stand the test of time.
I think what’s important to mention first is that this free-to-play game contains bullet-hell gameplay. You get to manually control your fleet and dodge enemy fire while reciprocating with your own range of attacks. You can have your main fleet in the back (seen on the left side of the screen) send out air support or heavy cannon shots. Your scout fleet in the front is what you directly control in terms of movement and launching torpedoes. The game does the standard shooting for you automatically, or you can just let it entirely run in auto-mode. However, the gameplay element is only apparent in the campaign mode. Azur Lane has plans to update with new chapters for the story and it currently has 8 chapters available. You can even replay chapters in a harder difficulty to score better equipment as well.
When it comes to equipment and materials, that’s where the hours of grinding will come in. Players who aren’t a fan of continuous grinding will not like this. You can opt to use your diamonds – a paid currency through micro-transactions – so that you can buy equipment crates. The crates range in different tiers of rarity. These crates can be bought with in-game gold which you can get easily and it’s not too terribly expensive in my opinion. Thankfully, you can do commissions (something similar to quests in an RPG) where you send out any available ships you have to get materials and gold. The game is not pay to win by any means, probably due to the fact that it hardly features any real competitive aspect in its multiplayer. I also think it’s important to note that the multiplayer is automatic and doesn’t feature actual gameplay; this is something I find to be quite a drawback for the game. In essence, you’re really just trying to get your fleet to level 100 and max them out with the best equipment possible. You will never have to pay for anything in the game if you don’t want to because whatever you need is obtainable with enough grinding. Whether that grinding is worth it or not, that’s up to you.
I mentioned how you need to have ships to send out for commissions, but how do you get ships? Well, you build them with magic blue cubes that you can obtain through tasks or through micro-transactions. If you’re lucky enough with RNG, you may just get the waifu you deserve. All ships have stats and skills. Some skills may stack with other ship’s skills or compliment other skills; this allows you to build a powerful fleet. There’s quite a wide range of opportunities with how you can set up your fleet which is rather fun to experiment with. Just don’t forget to level up the skills of your ships through the Academy so you can really maximize the potential of your ships. There is even a modification tree for some ships where they get to be remodeled (similar to KanColle) that further boosts their stats. If you want to take their stats even further, then you can always marry the ship so they get a marginal boost.
Azur Lane gets updated enough through events and story chapters to keep you playing. Some ships can only be obtained through events as well. For a casual gamer, like myself, the game has enough content to keep the player going without ever getting too bored. From a solid growing campaign, time-limited events, progression system for ships through modifications and marriage, multiplayer and more, I think this free-to-play game is a very good game. It has a lot going for it with a few minor drawbacks. There is no English version of the game, so if you don’t know Japanese this game may be a bit hard for you to get into. I still think it is worth checking out, however. It will surely be a game that will be popular for the next year or two.
I didn’t cover everything Azur Lane has to offer, mainly because I think it is best to be explored by the players themselves. If you are curious about certain things or want to learn more, you can check out the translated wiki! Have you played this game already, what do you think of it? If you haven’t played yet, did this article entice you to give it a try? Let me know!
You can visit the official Azur Lane site here.