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3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 26 June 2005
Following in the tradition of its predecessors Silent Hunter II provides a realistic (to the best of knowledge) submarine simulator played from a German (no other navy is availible) perspective during the Battle for the Atlantic and its prologue.
This game focusses upon the career mode (although one off missions exist and their is a well concealed custom mission editor tool). You choose the start year and flottila (this determines your base of operations and boats availible). From here through completing missions set by U-boat command you accrue renown (used to purchase new crew members, and upgrades of or to your boat) and promotions, medals and qualifications to distribute amongst your crew. If you are successful you are awarded with medals and very occassionally promotion (so far once promoted over 21 successful patrols).
The gameplay is engrossing with visble crew members interacting with a beautifully rendered U-boat interior and exterior. The missions require navigation, stealth, cunning and if you opt for manual torpedo settings: mathematical aptitude (although this can be avoided through use of the automatic solutions option). The realism of patrols is self-determined as you select from a variety of options to determine effective difficulty.
There are a few problems with the game which I feel should be made clear however. You will need a lot of RAM to play this (512mb min req) which can prove frustrating, and it takes an age to load up both the main menu from startup and individual missions, although overall it operates fine on my min spec computer. There is a facility to accelerate time for those long treks in and out of operational zone however at times this is frustratingly slow as you wallow along on 1/3 speed over the Herculian Brest to Azores trip (roughly 5 minutes at 1024x speed). The time acceleration is also limited when nearby enemy shipping, which is irritating if you merely intend to slink past. My machine crashes the game every so often and requires me to save every so often or risk losing litterally hours of work (although this may not be a general problem). This brings me onto my final point: each patrol is designed to make you feel like it is long and thus patrols can take upwards of three hours. The shortest I have ever been on was about an hour. This is not a pick up, play and drop game, it requires time if you want to play on a patrol-at-a-time basis.
To conclude in the traditional fashion: this is a great game. It is not a blasting blitz of gunfire and explosions but a fear inspiring, nerve wracking game of tension, hope and occassional blind panic (argh, there's a destroyer 100m off the port bow emerging from the fog! CRASH DIVE!). If I had my money back again I would still definitely buy it.
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on 6 March 2005
I am writing this brief review after being one of the lucky 12 fans to be invited down to UBISOFT's UK headquarters to play the 'completed', (yes I did say completed)game. We were allowed free unrestricted access to all of the game types and the mission editor.
The game is simply outstanding, I wish I could do justice to the graphics, but words simply can't convey just how spectacular they are. The developers have clearly taken the technological advances in software and hardware to prodcue something special.
Gameplay is very atmospheric the sounds effects are well implimented with each vessel etc..
Once hit surface vessels can and do sink in a variety of ways: stern first, bow first, breaking up etc.... all in relation to where the torps hit. The explosions are breathtaking complete with water plumes, smoke and secondary's. The ships react to the damge infilcted i.e. hit the rudder and the target can no longer alter course !!!!
The games AI has to be seen to believed escorting warships use teamwork in hunting you down.
Finally multiplayer allows players to recreate the 'wolfpack' type tactics employed during the so called happy times and adds yet another dimension to what is surely to be a flagship title (pardon the pun.)
Thank you UBISOFT and the developers for providing a first class product for an often overlooked group.
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on 18 March 2005
This game is Amazing, I've been playing naval sims for over 20 years starting with Silent Service on the C64 through the Amiga and PC and this game blows everything that has come before out of the water!!!
The realism is amazing,from the B-17 style crew management and hyper detailed 3D virtual U-boat interiors to the stormy seas, real world coastline and deadly destroyer AI. The graphics and gameplay are sensational.
For those new to naval sims the game includes a naval academy to help you familiarise yourself with the sub's operation. Then you can "up anchor" & go on a single mission or a dynamic campaign patrol. A very powerful and very easy to use mission editor is also included so that you can set up your own encounters at sea.
The most highly regarded ww2 sub film is the classic "Das Boot" this game brings every ounce of the realism, tension and excitement of that film straight to your PC screen and puts the fate of your ship & crew in your hands. I can recommend it highly enough. Well done Ubisoft it's a true classic!
***Note the box image currently shows the product as being available on CD-ROM, it is actually only available on DVD-ROM.
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on 15 June 2006
This is by far the best WWII sub simulator on the market to date. (Sure SH 4 will tak eits crown)The game is quite old now but still requires a half decent graphics card to run it. as to previous posters you need to meet the minimum specs of the game to run it correctly, there have been a few bugs but these were quickly resolved by patch's for the developer so any crashing must be trouble with your systems as i have run SH3 on 4 diffrent computers without trouble.

The game is ultra realistic requiring you to commision officers and seaman to help run your uboat as well as apoint them on duty stations when on a patrol which they will eventually require replacing form you other members of your crew as they get tired.

You can change relism to suit yourself. So if you want to go throught the whole process of positioning your boat into an optimal firing angle and manually do the Torpedo impact calculations you can. or you could get the handy weapons officer to do it for you.

SH3 is also almost historically acurate as the war progresses you will be hounded by ever increasing allied anti submarine defenses form long range bombers who harass you at evey oppertunity when on the surface. To the deadly ASW destroyers who will start using advanced weapons and detection systems to try locate and destroy your sub.

If your want the best WWII uboat game on the current market then you need to buy this game.
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on 1 February 2006
I advise everyone to not purchase this game - some editions of it (if not all) use the Starforce copy protection software.
Starforce installs a hidden kernel driver on your PC - which you can only remove with a special uninstaller from Starforce. The driver is NOT removed when you uninstall the game in the usual way - it remains on your system.
I previously purchased a Starforce game (Soldiers - Heroes of WWII) which would not work on my PC - Starforce is fussy about which CD/DVD drive you have in your system. I could not access my DVD drive until I uninstalled Starforce.
After the recent Sony audio CD copy protection debacle, companies should learn that their legitimate PAYING customers do not want this intrusive, underhand, and sometimes dangerous DRM installed on THEIR systems.
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on 29 March 2005
A great game. Anyone who as ever hungered after an updated version of the games they used to play decades ago will not be disappointed.
The same tension is there, although with the best graphics you can imagine. Fighting at night is very realistic, you can even use star-bursts and just your deck gun, if you're feeling brave!
The AI from the destroyer escorts is scary and will make you wince if you're not quick - infact when you dive and turn as quickly as you can you actually experience fear as you see the depth-charges drop around you!!
You also gain a sense of attachment to the men under your command and you'll want to see them progress and gain awards/experience, as you will also want to take them with you to bigger and better subs as the game progresses.
Don't ask me why, (call me sick!) but there's something quite satisfying about sinking significant tonnage after a hard-fought campaign. The options to add equipment to your sub to increase it's effetiveness is also new, based on your renown that you earn for sinking enemy shipping.
You can also alter the realism settings to allow the computer to assist you in targeting your next victim, or do it the old fashioned way, right up to identifying the target and altering the torpedo settings.
In a word, if you're a fan of sub games, or enjoyed Das Boot or anything like it, this game is SUPERB!
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on 11 September 2006
Well, i bought this game after contemplating whether i could live without it for a while.

I enjoyed it, not completed the second level yet, but i liked it. Excellent graphics, wonderful attention to detail - see the salami hanging in the u-boat, and my bananas - and an extremely well realised U-Boat Sim. The trouble is, im a casual gamer, and i need a more arcade style i feel, to really enjoy this game.

My point is this, if you have enough time to spend 3-4 hours doing a patrol, have the patience to line up a shot and miss, do it again, and miss, and then run out of torpedoes then this game is most definately for you. However, i would hesitate before recommending this to the casual gamer as it is about as realistic as it gets, without actually being there, it is, in my opinion a very good but very difficult game. By all means, get it cheap, have some fun nuking small ships, ramming them, sneaking into harbours and blowing up unsuspecting freighters, but if your a casual gamer, your not likely to get a whole lot more out of it.

My other MAJOR concern, is that this game harkens from Ubisofts StarForce using days. For those of you who do not know what this is, it is a piece of software that installs extra drives onto your harddisk in an attempt to prevent copying and enforce copywright laws. To some it is an acceptable measure, but to me it is an invasion of my privacy and this alone would put me off purchasing it.
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on 2 August 2006
The stock game is a pretty basic (if pretty) subsim - somewhat "arcade-like" in nature. It can be buggy if you do not download the patch or do not have a machine that can handle the graphics.

But where this game really scores is with the mods that are available - they turn this game into tough and realistic battle (you will struggle to survive the war with the "realism" mods running - just like in real life). The sky and sea look stunning, the escort AI can be very scary as you try to creep away after an attack, all in all a great game.
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on 22 February 2006
I'm in two minds about this game: On the one hand, I still play it a good few months after first getting it. On the other, I find it very time consuming. There is a time zoom facility for when you are crossing vast amounts of ocean without coming across any targets or vessels of any kind (this fact is at least very realistic - small boat, large sea etc.). I'm still playing the game with a lot of helps turned on (I am more of a strategic gamer than an ambidexterous turbocharged hotkey user of whom I am very jealous). For example, I still use the on-board computer to calculate the firing solutions for torpedoes. This is not because I can't do it myself, but I can't do consistently it in the time required before I get depth charged... It's quite a skill to manoeuvre the sub into the optimal firing position just some 1000 yds or so off the stern without getting detected.
When you have a good few hours to spend though, it is very absorbing. You really feel like your hunter and hunted and I often stick it in silent running at 100+ metres when I'm being stalked and ping'ed while I put the kettle on or go to the loo. The graphics are good although there is not really a lot to do (one boat, one sub, and a lot of sea). I find it a bit too fiddly with the crew management: You have to put people to bed (not literally) so they don't get tired and bring them back so you spend a lot of time shuffling people around. On long journeys across the Atlantic on time zoom *1024 mode this is almost a continuous thing and really should have been automated (or option provided for it so to be).
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on 3 June 2006
This game has really taken the subsim genre to a place most of us have been looking for in a long time. It is a real visual treat and has all the technical depth (no pun intended) to keep the geek happy. It not only looks great but it also sounds great and really generates the atmosphere. I am particularly impressed with the external views, you can fly the perspective to get at all the angles. I am running it on a machine with only 50% of the recommended processing power and to date all has worked well. The software includes a good patch up prog which seems to work very well for all games. I think it pays to have same prior knowledge to get the best from this game but with some commitment you could pick it up and play. To get the real best from this game you must be prepared to invest the time to learn how to fight it. Highly recommended, good hunting.
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