The SSI's classic submarine sim series returns to take players beneath the dangerous waters of World War II. Ubi Soft's Silent Hunter III runs on a new 3D game engine, designed for realistic water modeling and detailed cabin surroundings. This third game's interface is intended to be more intuitive and accessible for those new to the series. Players access different submarine controls and functions by actually approaching them in the virtual submarine cabin environment. The game features both historical and fictional missions, as well as an editor to let players create their own scenarios. The difficulty level can be adjusted, from a strict simulation approach to a more action-oriented style of play. Online multiplayer games, both cooperative and competitive, are also supported.
Immersive, atmospheric, enthralling - pick an affirmative adjective and it'll likely stick to UbiSoft's Silent Hunter III like a magnet to steel. In fact, this WWII U-boat simulation is so good it could single-handedly rescue the long-floundering simulation genre.
Delayed for six months so the UbiSoft Romania development team could add a full dynamic campaign, the refit was well worth the wait. SH3 maps the entire Atlantic theater, and this massive oceanic environment teems with hundreds of independently generated merchant and naval vessels. As the war progresses, North American supply convoys will entice you into opportunistic torpedo attacks while their shepherding destroyers employ intelligent and cunning tactics to locate and destroy you. Individual career patrols can last weeks - time acceleration eliminates the boring bits - and nothing drives home the tension of U-boat command like the rapid-fire sonar pings from a hovering Flower-class Corvette (who's still pissed about the two tankers you torpedoed) as you nervously flee to hull-popping depths.
The gameplay in SH3 is full-to-overflowing with Das Boot-esque moments. The sim's eight distinct U-boat hulls (43 counting variants) boast down-to-the-rivet authenticity. Each features fully animated 3D crews, working deck/flak guns, and an historically accurate torpedo targeting system. The game is scalable for any skill level, so novices can let the Weapons Officer resolve target solutions automatically while hardcore submariners can enter their own range, speed, bearing, and distance calculations at SH3's challenging TDC (torpedo data "computer") station. Sadly, cooperative Wolfpack engagements are only available in the eight-person multiplayer game, but that's a forgivable omission considering the depth and quality of the single-player campaign.
The cinematic visuals - curiously locked at 1024x768 - are another huge selling point. Destroyed ships blow apart with Spielberg-ian aplomb and the lush water effects - from moonlit Mediterranean swells to full-on North Atlantic gales - are the best we've seen in any PC game. (There are graphic anomalies with certain videocards, but a recent patch addressed many issues).
You don't have to be a simulation fan to appreciate this remarkable new "Game of the Year" contender. One dive, and Silent Hunter III will pull you in hook, line, and sinker.
People who downloaded Silent Hunter III have also downloaded:
Silent Hunter 5: Battle of the Atlantic, Silent Hunter: Wolves of the Pacific, Silent Hunter 2, Silent Hunter: Commander's Edition, Silent Service 2, Sid Meier's Pirates!, Sid Meier's Gettysburg!, Civil War Generals 2
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