Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Silent Hunter 5 - Battle of the Atlantic

As far as sims go, this is one of the best I've played.
Review By Wolfey321

I know a lot of people were turned off the Silent Hunter series after Silent Hunter 4. I only played that game for about 5 minutes before I realized I was just playing SH3 with a few minor bells and whistles attached.

Silent Hunter 5, however, is a completely overhauled game-and I don't mean just graphics. The most notable addition is, of course, the ability to walk around inside and on top of your submarine in first person. This may seem like a piece of unnecessary polish to some of the more hardcore sim-heads out there, but let me be the first to say that it truly adds depth and feel to an already fun experience. It makes the sub feel more like a real place; a vessel of war that you, as the captain, must use wisely.

As in SH3, you make life and death decisions, but in this game, it feels like your decisions have repercussions above the normal "cause and effect" scenarios present in most other games. This may be due in part to the new "crew interaction" feature. Orders can be given directly to crew members, or you can ask about their families back home. Although it seems this feature was somewhat of an afterthought, it still evokes something of a feeling that your crew are living people who's futures lie in your hands-they just aren't very good conversationalists.

Fully modeled submarine aside (and some other perks that I'll leave you to discover on your own), Silent Hunter 5 presents a fun, engrossing experience to players of all levels. Whether it's your first time at the helm, or you're a battle-hardened Unterseeboot captain, there's something to be enjoyed by everyone in Silent Hunter 5.

The core game play is reminiscent of Silent Hunter 3. Warships still hunt you down, planes still bombard you from above, and merchant ships still chug lazily across open water, awaiting death. The main difference is the new 'Dynamic Campaign' system. Gone are the days of "go to grid G27, patrol, come home." Now, you are given a choice what type of mission you want to go on. I'm still pretty new to the game, so I haven't seen all this feature has to offer, or whether or not your choices can actually affect the outcome of the war. After all, it's still a game based on historical events.

Of course, SH5 is a new release; so of course, it's going to have some bugs. Ships, for the most part, navigate intelligently through ports and coastal waters, but there is the occasional instance where a ship runs aground. The real fun begins when (and mind you this is rare) the ship touches land, then launches skyward to impossible altitudes, and crashes-burning and exploding, into some poor village (imagine what those people must be thinking). Aside from some minor clipping issues, some graphical quirks, and a couple rather splotchy crew animations, this game is a well polished, glimmering example of what the Action-Sim genre can be if developers would just let it. With just a little fine-tuning (perhaps by the community) this game could be perfect.

This brings me, of course, to the new DRM system. It seems you must have an active internet connection at all times in order to play this game. This system was put in place by Ubisoft supposedly to prevent pirating. I see a lot of people complaining about this fact, saying it violates gamers' rights, etc. Keep in mind, when you purchase a video game, especially for your PC, you are not actually purchasing the software itself, you are only buying a license to play the game. Therefor your "rights" are defined by the publishers/developers of the game. There is no such thing as a 'god-given' right when it comes to this. Yes, DRM is an inconvenience to the consumer, but piracy on computer games truly has gotten out of hand. It's a war out there, and developers are losing. No, DRM won't stop piracy, but I for one don't blame Ubi for trying it. They put lots of money into making this game. The artists, programmers, musicians, voice actors, testers, researchers, model makers, animators, and all the other developers put their hard work and talent into this game. They deserve to get paid, period.

If putting up with the DRM keeps Ubisoft and others making games for the PC instead of just the console, then god bless it. If I can still go out and buy quality games for around $50 a whack because of anti-piracy measures, then god bless it. Go ahead and curse Ubi. They're not the ones to blame, and we all know it.

So, in closing I just have a couple words of advice. Try this game and you'll see what I mean. 1) Don't use time compression near the shore, 2) For those of you who are familiar with SH3, be warned: this game doesn't seem to have a limit on time compression: just whatever your computer can handle. Don't get carried away or you will end up turning your U-boat into an 800 ton, 52 man torpedo.



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