copyright © Jedo Dre 2011
Silent Hunter III
Impact: Relatively memorable
Silent Hunter 3 is the name that strikes fear in claustrophobic people. If you think about it, there’s really a lot to explore in the submarine business, especially in the times of World War 2. Releasing the third game in the submarine simulator series, Ubisoft does its job very well, delivering a detailed simulator just like before, but this time it’s a lot prettier.
Starting as a novice captain, you choose the time to enter the war. First you might
want to complete the naval academy tutorial. The key-
SH 3 is a game that pushes the boundaries of your patience. On the highest difficulty
level, you will be doing the job of each member of your crew, calculating many parameters,
while cautiously sneaking pass the convoy ships and gradually bringing your sub into
the striking position for that one critical shot. One shot because there might be
four or five more cargo ships following, and reloading is realistically time-
Many things can be earned in this game. As you sink more and bigger enemy ships, your men gain experience. Their moral also improves or worsens depending on your success. You will have to manage the crew seriously as many of them can specialize in specific functions. When they get tired during the trip, they have to be replaced if the performance of their functions is to be kept. It’s like a big family that you can grow attached to in a small cozy sub (don't take me wrong). A known crew, a bed to sleep in, sausages hanging in the command room...the sub is like a second home. At times you forget you’re looking at a screen on dry land which makes SH 3 a nice way to forget the revolting reality. In addition, you can earn medals for yourself and receive medals which you can assign to the crew. For sunken enemy ships you also receive renown with which you can hire better officers, request upgrades for your sub or a better sub. If you want to move on to the new grounds, you can also ask for a transfer to a different base. Also, depending on the sunken tonnage, your name gets a place on the list of submarine aces of that time.
If you’re looking for a hardcore firefight then walk away from this game. A wrong move in some areas and a whole enemy fleet is soon hunting you like a pack of hungry dogs, throwing depth charges all over the place. You will have to deal with ships of all sizes as well as airplanes. To your surface defenses are available: the antiaircraft gun as well as an 80 mm cannon. The cannon is good for finishing off undefended cargo ships but trying to take on a large battleship with the sub’s weapons is like throwing stones at a tank, and for defense the best strategy still is hiding. Later in the campaign the submarines don’t even have guns anymore due to their uselessness. Enemy ships can also be reported to the base and airplanes or other subs might take care of them, although often that’s not to be counted on.
One bad thing about the game is that it might be a little too long and a little too
boring, even for a simulation fan. During traveling a player can speed up time, but
even when you speed it up to maximum, it still takes quite a while real-
Silent Hunter has some fancy graphics. Since there was barely any land involved,
Ubisoft could focus on the water and the ships. There’s a lot of next-
SH3 allows the player to take all of the beauty in by giving him a close up camera
view on launched torpedoes, sinking ships and own sub. It usually appears in a small
window in the corner, not to bother the player too much, and can be expanded. The
fire and smoke of destruction can, by the way, strain your system. Generally however,
I hadn’t much of a problem with the rest of SH3 graphics on my low-
When you’re listening to the enemy’s sonar and the hull of your sub is squeaking as you dive deeper into the abyss, while your officer nervously whispers different information, it can feel pretty tense. The detailed sound of SH 3 certainly deserves attention. Voices are done well in both German and English. In particular, they are good because they are loud and clear. Officers whisper or shout depending on your orders. The orchestral music is very atmospheric and changes according to the situation. The sound is in superb harmony with the visuals and helps provide a breathtaking experience.
Of course it takes a special breed to like a game like SH 3. A load of patience and some interest in math are highly desirable requirements. If you are not to take the manual tasks of each crew member, the continuity of sinking same cargo ships over and over again, can cover the otherwise exciting action of the hunt. Nevertheless, the game looks awesome, sounds awesome, and for a simulator fan this game is an absolute must, even if you've never thought about submarines.
There's no hiding that I like simulators, but this one went a little too far for me. The thing is that a simulator of a submarine captain's work would consist of receiving important info, giving a few orders and pushing the red button. The navigation and the weapons control are jobs of other officers, and being a ghost that enters each of their bodies to do their work is not really realistic to me. Therefore I often played with settings set on auto and after a while, of course, I got bored. If you eliminate the whole calculation stuff, then you're just left with the same models of cargo ships that you have to sink in different parts of the ocean over and over again.
The cozy atmosphere in the radio room where your little warm bed is at and the dynamic crew really gives a sense of a second home. I liked that. I think they should've gone further and added history to the officers' lives and some personal dialog or even characters. Make it really personal!
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