Reviews by XTRMNTR2K
Like a dead fish in the waterXTRMNTR2K | March 19, 2014 | Review of Silent Hunter V Battle of the Atlantic Gold Edition
After passing up on this game due to Ubi's more than questionable decision to introduce an "always-online" kind of DRM I recently decided to pick it up during a sale for a mere 2,50€. I mean, how could I possibly go wrong with that decision, right?
The trouble started right after installing the game. For some reason, the infamous ubilauncher software required to launch the game wasn't installed correctly alongside it. The launcher version supplied with the game is completely outdated, and manually installing didn't help in getting the game to work. After manually downloading and installing the latest Uplay launcher from the web, I could at least start the game. On a sidenote, the hardware detection utility that starts the first time after installing the game was unable to recognize my video card driver correctly (which is the latest version Nvidia has released) but instead showed it as being insufficient to play the game.
So after finally getting the game to work for the first time and configuring what little options this game offers to the player (keyboard commands, for example, can not be configured from within the game at all and have to be modded!) I decided to start the campaign for the first time. At the end of the (rather long) loading time the game simply closed itself and I was, once again, greeted by the Uplay window. No crash message - nothing at all to indicate why this has happened.
It is also worth nothing that there is no proper tutorial in the game that teaches the use of important features such as manual torpedo targetting. The .pdf manual supplied with the game doesn't cover this, either (but includes detailed character and background descriptions for each crew member). For a simulation of this complexity, this is unacceptable. The fact that the submarine has now to be traversed from a first-person perspective instead of being able to access the various stations directly doesn't make it any more accessible, either (and is a terrible decision from a game design point of view).
Furthermore, despite the addition of an "offline mode" to the Uplay software, Ubi failed to note that the game has to be launched at least ONCE in online mode with an active internet connection in order to ensure that the campaign is playable. I found this out the hard way and through investigating this issue online.
There is also another issue with the campaign regarding the difficulty/realism settings; while the game offers the possibility to customize the game's difficulty according to your preferences, these settings are ignored and, worse even, overridden by the game as it enables one of the preset difficulty levels when starting a campaign.
Since the game itself is still full of bugs, some of which may be quite severe, I decided to try a few mods that addressed some of these issues and expanded the interface among other features. More investigating via google then made it obvious that it is not possible to play the campaign with mods enabled right from the start - you have to jump through additional hoops in order to make this possible.
What little I have seen and played of this simulation looked good, interesting and complex, but after fiddling around for days in order to get this to work and solve the dozens of problems still plaguing it, I'm not sure if the end result is worth the effort; quite simply but, this game swims about as well as a dead fish in the water.
My verdict? Give Silent Hunter V - Battle of the Atlantic a wide berth. Even with the extremely active and dedicated modding community, getting it as a gift from someone else is still too expensive.