Just recently received this one in the mail, and while it’s a new computer game for a genre long past, this WWII naval simulator doesn’t strike me as an incredibly enjoyable experience. Frankly, this isn’t a great game for war, simulation, or history buffs; and for the average gamer I’d have to recommend a pass. The essence of the game is based around the Great Naval Battle simulation series ? that the company SSI used to produce and publish ? but this one doesn’t quite meet the standard.
In Destroyer Command you basically command a ship ? or group of ships ? to do the less glamorous naval missions of a war. Instead of placing you in the grandest of grand battleships, destroyer command puts you in the considerably smaller versions of these ships ? the battleship escorts (destroyers). In it you check switches, dials, gauges and the like, to patrol areas, protect the important ships, destroy submarines and on occasion conquer other bases. What Destroyer Command does cover is the forgotten anti-submarine aspects of war. We haven’t had a dedication to this in a little over the past decade. This eventually becomes the most thrilling part of the game — blasting away with torpedo launchers and getting a confirmed hit becomes a somewhat satisfying experience. To do this however, you’ll often have to come quite close to the subs, and pray to god you hit them before you yourself get hit, the whole situation takes a certain amount of luck and fineness.
The most important and ?cool’ ? so as advertised ? feature in Destroyer Command is supposed to be its it’s ?interoperation’ link with the previously released submarine sim Silent Hunter II. However upon attempt, the game consistently crashes when trying to connect to Ubi Soft’s servers. While Silent Hunter II was quite flawed in itself (we wont go into that here), I’m pleased to report that Destroyer Command does not suffer from the same flaws ? save the whole multiplayer attempt. It’s highly disappointing to see that what was stated as the best feature isn’t even close to operational in this game. Supposedly Silent Hunter II players could be the submarines, and Destroyer Command players could be the anti-submarine defense, however as you can tell to play this we’ll have to wait for a patch ? and that’s certainly a sad thing to say for a games that’s brand new.
What is a plus however is that the multiplayer modes for Destroyer only games is highly operational. Ultimation has used a sort of ?time-compression’ to speed up the actions of war ? mostly so you don’t get bored, because often ?real’ battles can be very time consuming ? as in hours. This feature works by selecting the slowest speed of time-compression selected from all the players in the game. This is certainly speeds up the action and makes the experience a little more fun. Destroyer command has a wide variety of multi-player options. There are death-matches ? self explanatory; cooperative missions ? you team up with other people to take on computer control vessels; and base-capture missions ? that certainly become the most interesting. So besides the slight disappointment for both DC, and SH players, the multi-player features should satisfy any fans truly.
There are two main battle campaigns in DC, Atlantic and Pacific, each mission has been divvied 20 missions for you to complete. It becomes somewhat perplexing from a historical standpoint however, because in WWII, Hitler’s surface naval enforcement (on the water ? ships etc.) was quickly defeated, so you as the player should have mostly been destroying his underwater subs. Yet DC seems to emphasize these forces much more than necessary, even some Italian forces come into play in the Mediterranean missions. While I understand that in order to have variety in the game DC it doesn’t need to be exactly historically correct, it becomes frustrating after running into them FAR too many times. You will come to realize the better of the missions are the ones you’ll be faced with in the pacific, for the most part because you’ll actually faced with some historically famous and important missions of the war. Such MacArthur’s Return to the Philippines, not to mention getting to kick the Japanese behinds all over the map. But some of the other important missions that occurred in WWII are just as the Mediterranean missions, hacking any validity of truth and historical accuracy all to hell.
The only positive to these injustices is that you can in fact create your own missions through Destroyer Command’s mission generator. The only problem here in lays that if you create your own missions, you’ll know exactly how and what will happen, so it takes the fun out the whole experience. It wouldn’t have hurt to throw in some kind of random system to keep the single player campaigns revitalized, with the amount of historical accuracy in that remains in this game, it really wouldn’t have mattered, and it would have been nice to get a better taste for the battle system.
The controlling of the ships is basically from an overhead map view that allows you to try to get your groups in to position for the coming battle. Often you’ll know exactly what to expect however ? just as in Silent Hunter II ? because you’ll end up playing the same missions endlessly for their completion. The most difficult part of the game comes in to maneuvering your crafts, rather than winning battles. Doesn’t quite make sense how this is a naval sim game, and it plays more like a third-party war-game. You basically just move your troops to the correct place, decide what kind of action and which tactics to take, and have little involvement with the battles themselves. Eventually you’ll end up calling out for the retched experience to end. Mostly from the influence of the AI.
Now I’ll usually be the first in a group to say AI is AI, sure they can be smart to a certain noticeable point, but you can tell when its been programmed in a completely horrible manner. When friendly ships fire at friendly ships, don’t hold formation, crash into anything and everything they can, and waste valuable resources on attempts that have an ice cubes chance in hell of succeeding, you just have to say enough is enough. When you see some of the actions the enemy, you’ll just want to gag yourself, to save you the trouble of puking later. I’m not exactly sure what Ultimation was thinking when creating this title, or what the beta testers that tested this game were thinking, or even Ubi Soft for publishing it, but with AI like this, there’s really no reason to ever enjoy this game. You’ll almost come to the conclusion that this game really only wants to kill itself and not you the opponent. After getting destroyed by kamikaze destroyers enough times, you begin to get the picture. You’d think that even some kind of ?real’ naval tactics would have been implemented into DC, but Ultimation doesn’t even come close to getting these things to move in a straight line, let alone in a group. The only thing that seems as worse as the Ai would have to be the graphics system.
Once you see this game your just going to have to chuckle for somewhere close to an hour. For the amount graphical achievement that’s been accomplished in today’s world, this game should have looked ten times better than it does. It has a really clich?, almost cheesy atmosphere about it. The weather system is just about non-existent, and even sunny days look bland and dismal. Destroyer Command is plagued with un-impressive, sparse content. The only part that even looks half-way decent are the effects of the smoke, espcially during and after a battle. Sunken ships, wave effects and block obstacles all rank about a zero on the impressive scale. The ships themselves resemble somewhat the essence of their real naval counterparts, but often key details are missed ? what ever happened to putting PLANES on the decks of Aircraft Carriers? There’s just clearly too much horrible content to shake your head at in this title. Once you catch the realization that you paid for it, it’ll end up depressing you even further than the games experience in its entirety.
Its nice to have seen a? well? ?nice’ try from the people at Ultimation, the game comes no where close presenting to type of game it should have in today’s market. What is considered at a $40 product should be priced somewhere closer to that of a candy bar; and even still, at least that’d provide a higher level of pleasure than this thing. Normally Ubi tends to put out quality, historically accurate, tactically prevalent, and most importantly GOOD naval sim games (IL-2 anyone?). This effort was just truly disappointing and appalling to say the least. I hope the patches for the game will fix its major problems, and at least make a somewhat intelligent opponent out of the computer, spend your money elsewhere should be the only comment from anyone who’s even seen this game, ?nuff said.