Review: Naval War: Arctic Circle (PC)
Written By Matt Sainsbury on Thursday, May 3, 2012 | 09:08
It usually happens when everyone is clustered around the sonar screen, anxiously waiting for a trace that signals an enemy destroyer on an intercept course. Or it could be the time when a torpedo inexplicably disappears from the radar, only to re-emerge a few seconds later. Whatever the reason, these moments are full of tension and they usually end when something goes boom.
Naval War: Arctic Circle is all about those tense, breath-holding moments. The game area encompasses the chillier regions of the North Atlantic, so it's usually a case of firing a missile and waiting as it crosses vast distances to the target. After a while it's easy to imagine that you're the sub commander from the movies, glued to the sensors for confirmation of a kill. By reducing everything to a set of simple icons on a map, the developers have stripped the gameplay right down to the essentials. I'm reliably informed that it plays like an updated version of the ancient-but-terrific Fleet Command but, for me, it's a slower, deeper version of Introversion's classic DEFCON. And that's a very good thing indeed.
The only remaining thing to point out is that if you're deterred by the rather basic-looking screenshots, don't be. The 3D views complement the action on the strategic map, but they're largely irrelevant when it comes to the gameplay. Naval War lacks fancy graphical frippery but delivers on budget-priced strategic fun. It really is all about launching missiles and waiting to see if they hit. Just remember to breathe out again when they do.
- Rob P
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