Just one ping
Ah... I've been a long time fan of 'Submarine Sims' for a while now, they've always interested me and whilst they're often for the hardcore crowd, there's a light on the horizon, admittedly a bit obscured by a thick layer of fog at the moment. Silent Hunter 5, read on and you'll see why I have a love-hate relationship with this game.Story
The campaign part of the game spans a period from 1939 (the initial invasion of Poland) to 1943. It allows you to progress at your own pace and offers a little more inventiveness in terms of how you move the story on.Gameplay
Silent Hunter IV broke a lot of new ground in terms of making the Sub-Sim accessible to the regular gamer, it was no longer the platform of the hardcore PC sub captain with their realistic sextant and German U-Boat officers cap, it gave a few tools here and there to the new gamer and let them play around on a slightly easier system to command the sub. This torqued a lot of the old-skool submariners and the game had bugs.
Silent Hunter 5 breaks even more new ground in terms of getting new players into it, it has a simple mode that lets you command your sub with a few mouse clicks and transforms the experience into a highly enjoyable one at that, one that new players should have no time getting to grips with. Of course there's the option to go as realistic as you want, even though there's a glaring omission in the controls – yes, I'd rather like a way to find the correct depth below my sub thanks, without having to install a mod.
There are single player missions, which are quite fun and the complete campaign that is where the game truly shines (when a bug doesn't come out from nowhere and blindside you like an angry sub-hunter plane). For every cool addition to the dynamic player driven story campaign mission, there's an objective that fails to complete or an NPC who refuses to give you a new mission, until you reload the game in frustration. There are times where a whole city vanished on us and we couldn't complete the game mission until we'd reloaded and were able to dock again. There were times where officers became stuck on the conning tower even though we'd submerged and things just vanished.
It's a flawed masterpiece that we seriously hope gets a patch ASAP, because despite those flaws (and more we haven't mentioned) – there's a good game lurking beneath the steel hull of the U-Boat. It's far less static than other Silent Hunter games, there's interactivity everywhere, from being able to walk your U-Boat in first person and command from various stations, listen to your men and get an idea of what life might be like, you can also do the same for your chosen sub-dock and wander around that, watching men at work and having fun eavesdropping on the workers conversations and so forth.
The game has numerous helpful features, a target line that works very well for new players, allowing you to lead shots to sink ships to your heart's content, new management screens that offer a nice way to command the ship via the omnipresent HUD system. All in all, the gameplay (when it works) is great and it really brings the sub-sim genre into the hands of a new breed of players, ones that could enjoy the game far more than they would normally have to, plotting complex trajectories and having to figure out the right firing solution. Whilst this might be a fun time for the sub-heads out there, a lot of gamers will simply give up at that point, not so with Silent Hunter 5.Graphics
There are a few issues here and there with the graphics thanks to bugs, but when they're running smoothly and everything is cranked up, Silent Hunter 5 is an extremely atmospheric game, perhaps not the most accurate in its representation of ships and submarines but when you have pretty eyecandy like this and massive explosions, you can forgive the odd lack of detail in the historical sense. There are a few omissions, such as crew still wandering the decks of a ship that's on fire, rather than running around screaming and diving into the water in sheer terror. All in all though, when you're submerged beneath the waves and diving away from exploding depth charges, you can watch the beauty of the game's graphic engine at work with water you really think is water, especially during a storm.