Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to sail a half-million-ton supertanker through the perfect storm? Many of you will probably answer no to this question – and this game would definitely not be for you. For the rest of you, those who love ships and ship simulators, you’re absolutely in the right place.
The Ship Simulator series from VSTEP and Paradox Interactive has so far sold over 450,000 copies, which means there is definitely a market out there for games like this. We shouldn’t really call it a game as Ship Simulator Extremes is really a simulation, trying to give an authentic representation of various ships and their duties. We’re going to call it a game anyway, both because it’s easier and because Ship Simulator Extremes comes with a few campaigns that let the simulator come as close to a game as it’s ever going to get.
There are three campaigns, the first being the ‘Core Campaign’ which contains roughly a dozen missions which each let you experience completely different ships and duties. These range from tugging container ships and ferries in distress, to patrolling with the coast guard and even piloting a fire rescue ship which gets dispatched to deal with a fire on an oil rig. Exciting stuff.
The other two campaigns are more specialised – with one focusing on cruise liners and the other on Greenpeace. To avoid political statements, we’ve ignored the Greenpeace campaign and focused on the core campaign instead. Our video gives an overview of a couple of different ships which you will encounter in this campaign and gives you a taste of the detail of the ships themselves. Of course you are not limited to the campaigns, but you can also do pretty much anything you want in free roam. Think of a scenario involving a ship, and it’s highly likely that you can pull it off with Ship Simulator Extremes.
Hardcore ship simulator fans will probably have absolutely no issues here, but I had quite some trouble getting into the swing of things. If you watch my ‘Tugging’ video, you’ll see what I mean. (I absolutely fail at tugging, apparantly!) The tutorial isn’t very clear on how to actually steer your vessel and does a pretty poor job at explaining the rest. It’s an aspect of the product which could definitely be improved!
Graphics and Audio
The graphics are very good and the ships are presented well. It’s nothing amazing but it really does a good job for the simulation. The game uses Physx, but unfortunately doesn’t have a very detailed damage model. Still – for the most part it behaves as you would expect. The audio is functional but not fantastic. The radio chatter is a lovely touch but it would have been nice to have more variety and slightly clearer chatter. The same goes for sound effects, the ones that are there are very good but more variety would have been good. Since you spend a great deal of time looking around, it would be nice for the scenery both visually and in terms of audio to provide more immersion.
Ship Simulator Extremes is not for everyone. You really have to love your ships and marine lifestyle – otherwise you’ll find yourself pretty bored at the helm of a giant supertanker. There’s plenty to do and see but this really is a product aimed at enthusiasts and not at the average gamer. If you are in the market for a ship simulator, this is an extremely solid choice with plenty of elements to keep you occupied. The missions might sound a bit too much like a game to some – but they are actually very well done and pretty challenging. Don’t expect to go racing your ship arcade style to the objective and be finished – you really have to manage everything.
For the average gamer – watch the videos before you buy this!
For the ship enthusiast – well, watch the videos and then buy it!
Operating system: Windows XP (Min. service pack 2), Windows Vista or Windows 7. 32 and 64 bits OS supported.
Processor: 3 Ghz P4 Intel or AMD equivalent processor
Memory: 2GB (Windows XP) or 3GB (Vista or Windows 7)
Hard disk space: 3.5 GB
Video: Geforce 8800GT or ATI Radeon 4850 with 256MB ram (At least Shader model 3.0)
Sound: DirectX 9.0c compatible.