Silent Hunter 3
Its Safe To say that the submarine simulation market has quietened down somewhat since the release of Silent Hunter III. This ultra-pedantic sub-sim is still the best way of shouting 'dive dive dive' from the safety of your relatively dry desktop. It's as if the hordes of sub-sim developers saw Silent Hunter 3, reclined in their leather office chairs, breathed a massive sigh of despair and said "there, that's submarines, they got submarines", before going home and applying for a real job.
It's true that, as far as accurately conveying the sense that you're trapped inside an airtight can for weeks on end, manually adjusting your torpedo calibrations and rudder alignments in order to expose a weak spot on some WWII warship, Silent Hunter III hasn't been bettered since we gave it 83% last June. It's still graphically impressive and amazingly detailed. Then again, playing a submarine simulator hasn't gotten any more exciting either. It has however, gotten cheaper, so have a per cent on us.
Download Silent Hunter 3
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
For The latest in the venerable sub sim series. Ubisoft has recruited a penfull of Romanian games designers, programmers and artists and has pretty much left them to get on with it. The results could be impressive, for as well as the usual engine room improvements, one new feature that's sure to add a new human dimension to the proceedings is the 3D crew members - who'll nod, wink and whistle in tune with your orders. Along with dynamic campaigns, we're quietly hoping SS3 will set a new standard in aquatic warfare.
IT TOOK the better part of a day for me to fire my first honest-to-God, non-training mode torpedo, and it came as welcome relief. Except for the bit when it just bounced harmlessly off the target's bow - just another dud in a war full of the buggers. I nearly didn't go back to Silent Hunter III after that, although it would have been my loss rather than the game's fault, since SHIII is a much-needed shot of claustrophobic goodness in a flagging genre.
The amount of care and detail lavished on this (from the cheering crowds as you leave dock to the sausages and bananas hanging from the sub's interior ceiling beams) is phenomenal - it could so easily have been a half-hearted rushed job for a limited audience. There's a touch of redundancy about the 3D interiors - full FPS-style 3D would have been welcome, rather than the Myst-style click-and-move on offer - especially since hotkeys take you instantly to any station you need. Otherwise though, it's a beautifully tense and atmospheric trip into the world of WWII U-boats. Even multiplayer works a treat, with multiple subs acting as a wolfpack, or just disregarding the war and torpedoing the hell out of each other for kicks.
The Al puts up a good fight at the higher realism settings, and should you wish to throw caution to the wind and try manual torpedo solutions, you'll either be in maths heaven, or find your brain oozing from your ears (or both). Don't worry - it's a lot more fun than it sounds.