Age of Sail II
|a game by||Akella|
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Largely self-inflicted it may be, but there is at least one trait we computer gamers share with the old sea dogs of the 18th century - malnutrition. And it's a feature thankfully avoided in Age Of Sail II. IB along with much of the boring I navigation that B a true simulation of 18th and 19th century naval warfare would entail. You are the captain or the admiral rather than the cabin boy, and as such your view of the battles is from above rather than behind a cannon. As a 3D real-time strategy, Age Of Sail II works rather well. Though cramped, the interface is intuitive and the game easy to get to grips with. At its simplest you set a speed by messing with the sails, a heading by clicking on the compass and when in range of the enemy, you either pepper their sails with grapeshot, or breach their hull with cannon. And if anyone is still afloat, you can come alongside and send in the marines - which sounds more interesting than it is.
Although there are more than 100 one-off scenarios and a few linear campaigns, there's very little atmosphere or story in the game. As you progress through the ranks and command larger fleets of ships there's certainly plenty to do, but unless naval combat really greases your gangplank you'll find the gameplay rather repetitive, with very little to drive you on.
Functional rather than attractive, Age Of Sail Its graphics may remind some of you of last month's Sea Dogs. If so, well spotted, as Russian developer Akella is responsible for both games, and while Age Of Sail II may seem like a cut-down version, it has its place. My interest in the period is inspired only by pirate flicks of the 1930s, so I'd have to say that Sea Dogs is a better, more interesting game. But then, what do I know?