Silent Hunter II
Compared to planes, submarines have been a bit neglected when it comes to sims. It's hardly surprising, really. Being stuck underwater for months at a time with nothing but a load of sweaty blokes and a collection of "gentlemen's entertainment journals" for company isn't exactly the stuff of boyhood dreams. Still, anyone who saw Das Boot will know that tense sneaking about trying not to get depth-charged is great material for a game.
Silent Hunter II, like its predecessor, is set in WWII. Unlike the first game, this one has you playing a U-Boat commander doing your best to wreck the convoys carrying supplies from the USA to Britain. As you may or may not know, submarines don't have windows, but this hasn't stopped SSI from using a very nice 3D graphics engine, with multiple camera views, as well as a suitably atmospheric view from the periscope. The usual single missions and campaigns are promised, as well as a very promising multiplayer link up with warship sim Destroyer Command.
Ping Is Usually a lovely sound. It's the sound of scoring a point, of picking up a star, or doing something equally positive. But in Silent Hunter II, ping is a sound of pure terror. For when you're pinged, you don't have long to live. For the uninitiated, this game is a U-boat simulator set during the Battle for the Atlantic - the naval campaign that lasted the duration of WWII.
While it's realistic, like any good simulator Silent Hunter II is also completely unforgiving (for instance, the engine controls are all in German). You have to pay attention to what's going on, plan thoroughly, and learn how the submarine controls, sonar system, combat station and navigation work.
But once you have, the only games that really can beat Silent Hunter II for tense, tactical combat, are the later titles in this series. There are a few downsides to this game. While there's a multiplayer function, allowing you to play with other U-boats and against destroyers (if you find someone with a copy of Destroyer Command), it's excessively buggy. This is fixable by using the unofficial patch Projekt Messerwetzer, but remains a massive flaw. Also, with almost all of its (equally great) sequels similarly cheap, recommending this one over those ones becomes difficult One for the completists only, we're afraid.
Download Silent Hunter II
PC compatible, P-100
Systems: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game features: Single game mode
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2019-02-18 Silent Hunter II game added.