Silent Hunter III Page 7

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You will experience clear days that go on forever only stopping with the haze of the horizon to fog that will wrap around you like a blanket cloaking everything. Rain and mist that will reduce your visibility to a few hundred metres.

I could go on, suffice to say, that not only is the ocean and the weather visually the most realistic I have ever experienced as a gamer, it is like being there.

The ports look good, you will see office buildings, factories that billow smoke from their stacks and cranes that tower around you with the town spreading out behind the port. Depending on the year and location there will be U-Boat pens. Do not expect to see an exact reproduction of your homeport or massively large ports. For the most part, if you have seen one port, you have seen them all. That is except New York, it did get special attention.

Port Port
Port Port

In port, people are everywhere going about their daily business such as seeing you off or working on a half constructed U-Boat or staffing the AA guns. Or should I say, standing around chatting near the AA gun! At night, some buildings have windows alight giving the feel that the port is alive, and in the distance, the lighthouses will mark the port entry.

While there are no forests, trees are numerous and normally in pockets which are sufficient to indicate from a distance that there is land there. In summer, the land and trees are green and during the winter months, the land and trees have whiteness about them. You will run across the odd place that looks like a dry riverbed. However, for the most part, while the land and trees cannot be compared to the IL2 series, they are convincing.

On the down side, do not expect to see the famous White Cliffs of Dover. They are more like the White Hills of Dover.

Internal visual damage of your U-Boat is limited to a leaking pipe that seems to come on and showers your Chief Engineer regardless that the damage is in another compartment. Depending on where the damage is being received, you may also see the lights flicker on and off and pipes emitting steam. The effect of the flickering lights is very convincing. However, that is it.

External visual damage to your U-Boat is unfortunately limited to a bent barrel on the deck or AA guns. No matter what other damage occurs, such as a destroyed conning tower, the most you will see are smudge marks.

Visual damage to ships fairs only slightly better with some parts that are destructible. These include masts, life boats, funnels, deck guns, the bridge etc. You will also see fires, however they are only eye candy and will burn forever without consuming the ship. That is as far as the visual damage goes. Do not expect to see anything more than a smudge on the hull and other parts of the ships to show any sign of having been hit by a shell. A torpedo hit will also only show a smudge mark.

Destructible parts. Destructible parts.

While I am not expecting the level of damage detail that the top-flight simulations have, the lack of any visual external damage to your U-Boat and any good visual damage to shipping is sorely missed.

The explosions of a depth charge or of a torpedo as it explodes against a ship is simply stunning. As are the effect of bullets and shells hitting the water. Such are the effects, that Hollywood would be impressed.

The graphics of Silent Hunter III drew me into the game from the start. Even now, several months along, when I stand in the Command Room or on the bridge, seeing the attention to detail, the 3D crew and how ‘real’ the world looks, I cannot help but feel part of it rather than just a passenger. Silent Hunter III gives me a feeling of ‘being there’.

Silent Hunter III is simply a visual delight that was long overdue in naval combat sims.

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