War games have always been fascinating to me.
I’m not talking the action packed Call of Duties or the bloody and gruesome Gears of Wars either. I’m talking your down-right strategy games; games that require a great deal of patience, skill and thinking to them. Sure, you have to have brains and be quick on your feet in your AAA war titles , but real core strategy games that play a lot like a table top game require finesse and approach you won’t find in most mainstream titles.
These style of games are fascinating to me in the sense that I’ve always really wanted to find the enjoyment in these games. Maybe I lack the patience for these games. Or somehow I just don’t get them.
Title: Naval War: Arctic Circle
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Developer: Turbo Tape Games
Genre: Real Time War Strategy/ Simulation
Pros: Neat little realistic naval combat.
Cons: Slow and often boring movement of units, comprising of most of the game play experience. Also feels about 10 years too late.
Verdict: Unless you are into similar style of games, best to play the demo before committing to buy.
Publisher provided code for review purposes.
Naval War: Arctic Circle is the latest game in the wartime strategy genre to be put out by the folks at Paradox Interactive. This title takes place in a fictional futuristic maritime standoff between NATO forces and Russia where players control various naval units and aircraft in war scrimmages against the opposition, either against the CPU or against a friend. The combat system is in real time and features a vast selection of options depending on the available units at one’s disposal.
When I say real time and realistic combat strategy game, I really mean real. Movement of vessels and aircraft are slow and drawn out. That means ships can take upwards of 10 minutes to reach a location, depending on speed and location. The game does give you the option to speed it up a little, but it has a very minimal effect. This can lead to some dull and mundane moments for those not used to this style of games. While the monotony is broken up with the occasional explosion or two, 80% of the game play is bland and uneventful.
The game isn’t going to blow you away with its presentation either. The mission summary screens are all text based, without any voice acting. The graphics are also lackluster at best, especially during the mission summary screens. During these sequences you’ll find an over abundant usage of Cyan and overly cartoony illustrations. Which is odd, considering the battle screens feature some beautifully rendered 3D displays of naval vessels and fairly decent visualizations and explosions.
The only music featured in the game is a very creepy and mysteriously ominous. The music almost feels better suited for a bad 1950s horror movie rather than a maritime based war strategy game. It also gets annoying quickly.
Naval War: Arctic Circle feels like a game that’s missing out on potentially being highly entertaining. Amongst its presentations of realism and seriousness, lies a game that falls short of really feeling spectacular. Terrible music, unenthusiastic plot presentation and the overall tempo of the game will certainly not appeal to a massive audience. There’s not really a point in the game where you really feel like it’s sunk its claws into you and one is usually left wondering what the heck is really going on. Even the tutorial does a poor job of really explaining what to do and why you should care. While not every game requires the excitement and adrenaline of a RTS titles like StarCraft or Command and Conquer, this game feels like such the antithesis of modern war games that it’s puzzling. If long drawn out strategy is your thing, this game might be worth your look. If you are looking for an action packed adventure, this probably won’t be your cup of tea.