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I'm currently trying to get through the main story of the game as fast as possible and at one point I was suggested by the game to upgrade my ship before attempting a mission. I still successfully completed the mission which brings me to my question.

Without any spoilers, can I get through the game without upgrading the ship much? If not then what areas of the ship should I focus on upgrading first?

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You could theoretically... I suspect it will be extremely difficult with missions near the end, taking far longer than if you were to purchase the upgrades (considering the time in between deaths/restarts). If you're going for bare minimum needed to complete the game... I'd suggest upgrading the hull and cannons first as needed. You can basically ignore the "fancy" stuff like the rowboat and harpoons. Weapons other than the standard roundshot (fire barrels, etc.) will help, but you might find them unnecessary.

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    Cheers for the answer I found i needed to upgrade the broadside cannons and also the armour for sure against the bigger ships later in the game. But i did ignore the rest of the upgrades i also upgraded the heavy shot to the max ignoring the elite level stuff for the hull, broadside and heavy shot. Aside from that i've managed to beat the story line with not too many issues aside from that. – Slater Aug 11 '15 at 4:15

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