by Howie Howard
previewed on PC
Wolves getting wet
Silent Hunter 4: Wolves of the Pacific is the much-anticipated sequel to Ubisoft's 2005 smash hit Silent Hunter 3. The new incarnation of this venerable submarine series will have greatly improved graphics and game play. Game AI is better as well and you can look forward to over 75 different machines of war that will be controlled by your enemies as well as the allies. These units will include the standard merchant, destroyer and battleship class of seagoing vessels. There will also be other submergible vehicles, aircraft carriers and their accompanying aircraft. All of this will be controlled by an amazing new Artificial Intelligence.
In Silent Hunter 3 you starred as the commanding officer of a German U-boat doing battle in the North Atlantic. This time around you will be fighting against the Japanese in the Pacific Ocean during World War 2 as the Captain of an American submarine. The best part about this new Silent Hunter game is the opportunity to present your crew with promotions and decorations as they perform in their assigned jobs aboard your boat. As a green captain you will start out with a rickety old boat that appears as if it could use some paint to cover up the rust. That's all right because as soon as your randomly generated crew reports for duty you will be ready for your first mission against the evil Japanese Empire. Yes, the first mission will be pretty much a milk run against a small convoy of defenseless merchant ships but it will allow you to familiarize yourself with the sub's controls and various systems. It will also serve to give your crew a bit of experience in the jobs they will be required to do aboard sub. As they gain more experience they will become better at what they do. In the same respect, as you gain experience as a captain you will be promoted and will have the opportunity to be chosen for more dangerous missions. As you move up the ranks you will be placed in command of newer and better subs.
As I mentioned above, the crew will gain experience and it will be your job to raise each crewman's particular skills and attributes to match the job you have assigned them to. Let's say you have trained a certain crewman to have very high observation skills. Naturally, you as the captain would want to assign him to the position of forward observer in the conning tower and not as the torpedo man's assistant loader. This would in fact be a waste of his skills. If you really prefer not to micromanage every aspect of the submarine's operation then you can have the computer take care of these mundane tasks for you. However, when I go to war I always like to have full control over what my crew will be doing. After all, the Captain is the one required to answer to a higher authority if he inadvertently gets his ship sunk. That is if he survives the sinking!