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Ship Simulator EXTREMES Collection


Ship Simulator EXTREMES Collection

ESRB: Everyone - E
Platform: PC Games
Category: Simulation

Okay, so whose stupid idea was it to add EXTREMES on the end? Straight simulators, in general, are not very exciting to anyone except sim fans, and chucking an EXTREMES on the end isn't going to help. Especially when your first Core mission can be described as EXTREMES frustration. Note well, this isn't a bad game for sim fans, but by god, when it has flaws, it doesn't screw around.


Graphics are about what you'd expect from your average sim game. They're not amazingly detailed in the environments, trees look bloody awkward, and the water is by no means perfect. The ships, on the other hand, aren't half bad, and, since they're the focus of this, I'm willing to cut some slack. The 30 ships of the collection (including all the DLCs) are fairly detailed, although, when exploring them, you can't open doors, see the engines, etc, so it's nearly all exterior stuff. So not bad, but not great either.


What is it with simulators and vehicle sounds suddenly cutting off? You're close to your boat, or another, and you hear the engine. But go beyond some magical invisible line, and there's nothing. Zilch, Zip. A simulator depends on immersion, and this kind of thing really screws with it. The menu music (the only music in game that I can determine) is somewhat uplifting, but will grate as it repeats while you wait for the missions to load, as it's the only tune in the game.


So far, I haven't sampled everything that Ship Simulator EXTREMES has to offer (30 boats, ships, barges, ferries, etc, and a boatload of missions, if you'll pardon the pun), but, with an hour or more per mission, I'm not entirely sure I want to. Let's use the first tugboat (Core) mission as an example. You start the mission ten or fifteen minutes away from your objective. The tugboat is as slow as you'd think, the mission markers are somewhat hard to distinguish from the rest of the map, and towing... towing deserves a paragraph all of its own.

Anyone who's ever had to tow a vehicle on the road knows that it's a pain in the arse. As you might expect, using a rope or two to tow on water is even more exruciating. Anything more than a slight turn can and will cause the tower (you) to veer widely, get dragged along by the larger thing that's inevitably being towed, while said larger thing serenely seems to go where the hell it wants. Once you get the hang of it, it's okay, but it's not helped by the tug controls. It also doesn't help that more than one rope seems to do nothing. Normally, two ropes would add stability, arranged right, but the second rope just seems to go limp no matter what I do.

The control scheme isn't really that clear. It's pretty obvious it's meant to be clear, but either some quirk of the engine, or something the controls aren't telling us, makes for problems that I still have, although it only seems to affect the tug, and barges. For example, if you hold Num 7 + Num 9, you'll go forward, and then if you hold left, you'll turn left or right, although you want a light touch, as the longer you hold it, the stronger the turn, and there's a delay. But if you hold left first, then hit the engines, you'll go backwards. Maybe. Sometimes it seems like right then engines, sometimes it happens all on its own if you turn left or right hard enough, then try to go forward. I didn't have this problem with the Red Jet Ferry or speedboat in multiplayer, but it made the Core mission I've finished extremely frustrating.

It was kind of interesting to have a “secret” objective suddenly sprung on me (Oh no, a ship with engine trouble on the way to something else, quick, this is a higher priority! It actually is, to be fair), but, once I'd finished that first mission, an hour in... I got an unclear newspaper page, and some sort of score that's never adequately explained. I can't seem to see what the 2/50 I got in Tugs actually means, whether they're achievements, missions completed, or what... And the difference in how it was shown at the end of the mission (+0.1 Tug) and the main menu (2/50 Tug) doesn't help.

So, with sometimes unclear controls, glitchy or strange towing mechanics, and unclear achievements (apart from the unlockables, which just seem disappointing), I'm not really certain the single player mode is worth it, although it does have a variety of mission types.

The multiplayer is okay, essentially being free-roaming with other players, but, to play on anything but pirate servers (which don't exist, honest), you'll need to register the game at the ship-sim forums, which was a pain to find, and a pain to register for, because registration on the site is not the same as registration on the forum.

So, overall, I can't really recommend this. Take my opinion with a pinch of salt, as I've not really played many naval sims, but, as an average player who might potentially be interested, I'm not really overfond of it. Simulator fans, feel free to add a point or two onto the overall score in your heads, but no more.


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