Game Developer: Ultimation, Inc.
Genre: Naval/Submarine Simulation (Sim)
Date released: November 2001
Recommended System Requirements: P3 processor; 256MB RAM; 64MB video card; HD space 750 ~ 800 MB; 8x CD-ROM drive.
Official Website: http://www.silenthunterii.com/
Submarines have always inspired me.
While the best use of submarines are probably as underwater touring vehicles and the like, its use in naval warfare has been pervasive in both World Wars I and II. To take a look at the entire chronology of development of submarines would be fascinating – interesting developments to boat designs; torpedoes as silent killers of even the largest and most imposing of naval structures; and underwater performances – snorkel devices, longer diving runs with the battery, and etc. Then again, I should stress that you should have at least an iota of interest in these matters. If you are the type who genuinely sit up and take notice of naval warfare, this game presents a somewhat unique experience but to folks who are disinterested, this would mean a long, boring lecture of the unknown.
I’ve recommended this game to a friend who loves gunning and running games (or the other way around if you like) ala ‘Medal of Honor: Allied Assault’ and ‘Call of Duty’. As he can be the sporting one, he tried the game and was appalled at the ‘difficulty’ in captaining his own boat. Call this a typical case of taking to land like a fish.
Yes, I can share his somewhat damning review of the game -‘unplayable’. For, what is the use of playing the game in the first place if you don’t know how to even start the boat? Ja, to start the boat and get it up to speed. Full speed ahead and to get to the destination and to engage enemy ships. That’s the entire premise of the game. If you can’t appreciate this very nature of it – you won’t like it and you’ll curse it as the worst game you might have ever played in your life, even surpassing that of ‘Galaga’ for the Nintendo Entertainment System or something brainless like ‘Donkey Kong III’ with the guy spraying a Kong in his garden with a hi-jet spray up the latter’s arse until a coconut plops on Kong’s head.
Still – the release of the splendid submarine film ‘U-571‘ in 2000, (there are many out there who despise this film) interest in a submarine sim may have been aided by this cause. For the first time – a gamer can possibly try to experience what’s like aboard a German U-boot (Unterseeboot) during the heady days of World War II.
I’m pretty sure that the pioneering game in the ‘Silent Hunter’ franchise: ‘Silent Hunter I’ did gain many favourite fans and friends to the unique genre of submarine simulation.
It’s a whole lot of fun taking an American submarine and take it head on against the hated Imperial Japanese Navy in the periods of 1942 to late 1945 when the greatest war ended. Besides introducing a realistic sailing model, players can expect to experience their boat being depth-charged; raise the periscope to launch torpedoes at enemy ships; spot surface contacts on radar and intercepting them; taking charge of a sinking boat to safety and more. In addition to the superb sound (at that time and age), the atmosphere was brilliant and the graphics were quite convincing. You can man a deck-gun (an onboard naval gun) and attempt to sink smaller ships and possibly larger, damaged ones as well. The enemy destroyers also hunt the player’s boat with a sense of menace and malice; their fast screws (spinning rudders) meant that they are dangerously close for comfort. When they drop depth charges whilst the player is apparently safe whilst diving (you’ll know it by the splooshing sound this little bombs make), I’ll bet the gamer is praying hard that the destroyer is just crapping over them. The best part is that the gamer in ‘Silent Hunter I’ cannot stay above water for a long time in heavy enemy presence – your ship is still a submarine and a sub is expected to stay submerged and attack in this manner. A deck gun is no substitute for a battleship’s heavy batteries.
So, submarine commanders taking over a virtual sub for the first time can face a daunting and frustrating task. Some gamers may even swear off the game for life due to the uninteresting and rather mundane part of navigating a sub to its attacking potential and mission objective. But once the action starts, with delicious enemy capital ships (large ships, classified as cruisers and above, including, but not limited to battleships and aircraft-carriers) prowling the surface, take control of your boat and start firing out those damn torpedoes.
Objective of the game:
You command a German U-boat. It’s a German submarine. Obviously, it’s armed to the hull with torpedoes (your best friend and primary armanent); fuelled up; batteries charged up; ship components in manufacturer standards. Nothing should go wrong here, or is it?
Your historically correct enemies come in various shapes and sizes – planes and enemy ships alike. Smaller enemies do not translate as less-dangerous. Larger enemies are not to be read as clumsy and slow. Enemy airplanes are not there for the 4th of July airshow. Your submarine is still a tin-can in comparison but it’s a dangerous one if in the right hands.
Objectives in no particular order:
1. Sink as many enemy ships as you can. Rake up as many tonnage (ship classification) as you possibly can with limited weaponry and in unfavourable conditions.
2. Try to stay alive while doing so. That includes lots of calls for ‘Dive, dive,dive…’
Of course there are more – but it’s not good to complicate too much at this point. Disappointed? No, the action you’ll face when doing so throws these simple doctrines out of the submarine hatch the moment you command the boat to dive to safety. It goes without saying that the 2nd objective is far more important than that of the 1st one. You stay alive – you get to live to fight another day. There are also collateral damages to the submarine as well as the boat is inflicted enemy attacks and so forth. That’s when you holler for the fixit people to repair those parts that they realistically can.
Getting acquainted with the boat:
At all times, refer to the documentation provided by the game. It’s an invaluable guide and would serve as a great way to introduce the game to beginners. If getting used to the German terminology present onboard is disconcerting – you can be assured that these signs are explained in the manual well. Fortunately, if you set the ‘Translate Crew’ option to ‘on’ in the difficulty screen, all commands are issued in English. I’d go for the German version for authenticity and for improved atmosphere of being in a German sub.
Navigating the boat: –
As simple as a point and click. The compass and the rudder would only serve to heighten the confusion, so stay clear of those until you have a fairly decent grip on the situation. In the map screen, you’ll see the various symbols on the map – your own boat; friendly contacts; enemy contacts and more. Depending on where you hear the sound of enemy rudders come from, it’s your call as to how you can navigate your boat to face it. For me, I prefer to crash head on with the enemy’s sailing course and make a quick diving sweep to aim for their capital ships.
To get cracking, left click from your sub’s icon and hold to the extent of your destination on the map (approximately close to the enemy sound location) and right click on the spot. If all goes well, the sub would cruise at ‘standard’ speed. Again, speed is heavily dependent on various factors – different boats have differing surface speeds and diving speeds; weather conditions (with adverse weather making traversing through the waves more challenging); boat’s damage and more. (Better to refer the pdf documentation for more info)
The gamer can tailor the speed of the boat to their liking – the F4 screen shows the control room of the sub and this is where most of the crucial submarine operations are conducted. The engine order telegraph (see the Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engine _order_telegraph) sets the speed desired. Clearly, cruising at faster speeds drain fuel (while your boat is surfaced) or battery power (if your boat is submerged) so it’s judicious to manage this aspect so as not to end up dead in the water. Then again, your fuel levels are full most of the time and can take you as far south as to Brazil on a one-way trip if you start off at approximately the centre of the Atlantic Ocean. This you won’t want to do if you’re playing the single-player campaign.
Diving the boat:
You only need to do this in one related situation – to attack the enemy and to get away without being spotted.
Diving the boat engages the electric motors onboard. (Your ship can use either diesel engines and electric ones whilst surfaced but can only use the latter whilst underwater) Electric motors drain your battery power depending on the speed which you’ve ordered and this can deplete rather quickly, especially in intense, protracted engagements. Diving speed is slower than surface speed – a reason to keep in mind as you’ll need to run away from destroyer attacks. These destroyers are small, surface ships which can be the easiest to take out in a torpedo attack but can also take you out fairly easily with a depth charge run. Depth charges are explained here: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depth_charges). Basically, they are anti-submarine weapons which resemble underwater bombs detonating with a great blast near the submarine. A direct impact is quite rare but near-hits can be fatal over a long run. Your submarine’s hull pressure can only take so much damage.
You can recharge batteries while surfaced.
Some helpful terminology:
i. Periscope depth – usually your ideal depth. The game allows you to automatically reach this depth via a shortcut command. According to the SH2 manual, this would vary between 10 to 12 metres depending on the boat model. Being closer to the surface meant optimum usage of the periscope, your most important eye underwater to see what’s going on up there. Being at periscope depth offers a lot of danger as well; if you’re harpooned by an enemy destroyer (hunter group), you’re somewhat nailed for sure – unless you take some urgent countermeasures like diving really quick or engage a hard turn to starboard (to your right,, i.e 90 degrees) or to port (i.e 270 degrees). Being at periscope depth also helps if your boat has been damaged and is flooding almost out of control. Being at higher depths reduce the pressure on the hull and may stem flooding somewhat.
ii. Snorkel depth – this is usually at a depth of 6-8 metres and your boat can be spotted with little difficulty. This depth enables the use of the snorkel device. The snorkel allows the boat to engage diesel engines to drive the boat,conserving battery power but can be a loud noisemaker. The idea of the snorkel device is so that your oxygen supply can be replenished after a particularly long dive. Your boat’s speed is only limited to ‘Ahead one-third’ (i.e. the 2nd slowest speed) whilst the snorkel is engaged regardless whether the diesel or the electric motor was driving the boat.
iii. Crash dive – an emergency measure. This automatically sets the boat’s speed to the maximum and all dive planes to full descent. The chief engineer would set the depth to approximately between 50 -100 metres. Take note that this is not the ideal depth to be in when being depth-charged (you’re hunted).
iv. Test depth – If you look at your control room (F4 key), the depth gauge would show a radial image coloured green (operational depth – the ideal depth setting for your boat); yellow (maximum depth – your boat can still operate within this yellow-marked range but could water pressure could be tearing at the rivets); red (danger – it’s entirely your risk to traverse the depths of the oceans at this depth setting. If your boat hasn’t endured any damage thus far, a 20 – 30 % increment towards this depth is still possible.) For the record, I’ve used a Type-IX U-boat and have ordered a depth of 250 metres before. The boat had intermittent hull cave-ins and had some floodings which were fixed in due time. At this depth, it’s still possible to be depth-charged but the likelihood is lower if you’re at a considerable speed. I wouldn’t try this on a Type- II boat or a Type -VII version either. Their hull just won’t take the pressure.
v. Submerged speed / Surfaced speed – Knowing the importance between these 2 may be helpful. As explained above, certain external factors have to be taken into concern – boat damage; engine damage; weather; flooding in the boat; etc. Some of these factors could combine to curtail the optimum speed of the boatbut ideal speed is often difficult to achieve in practice even if these factors are not taken into account. I’d always go for the boat with the fastest epeed at submerged depths – this is to take the fight to the enemy in a clandestine manner. My reasoning is that surfaced sailing speed can only get you so far – you can’t be hoping to outrun the faster destroyers or the gunfire of the large capital ships. So, what’s so good about a fast speed on the waterline than the one below it? A faster submerged speed also helps in running away from depth-charged attacks. Go for the Class-XXI boats if at all possible.
Broadly speaking, the engine telegraph settings remain the same during operation of these speeds and the only conceivable difference would be the actual speed achieved between these environments. In ascending order of speed, here is the possible commands for your boat moving forward – 1/3 speed –> 2/3 speed –> standard –> full speed –> flank speed.
"Dreimal äußerste Voraus" is roughly translated as "triple extreme speed ahead" for flank speed and you’d be engaging this speed at most times more than any other when in critical situations. "A-K Voraus" (at full speed- not flank speed) is also one of the better speeds to use when cruising and when you have some batteries to spare.
vi. Deck gun – a naval gun. Your (ironically) only surface weapon against larger ships. The 8.8 cm version is fitted onto Type -VII boats whereas their larger counterparts,the 105mm is equipped on the ocean-going Type-IX subs. Their performance against other naval units may be less than impressive but they can prove a useful weapon against undefended enemy cargo ships or crippled enemy submarines. If nothing else, at least they are the better weapons to use after the gamer has expended all their torpedo stores.
vii. Torpedoes – Throughout the war, the torpedoes experienced their period of development to important weapons aimed at quick destruction of enemy ships. In SH2, you’d be relying on torpedoes to take out the most daunting of targets and as your stores are reasonably low, it goes without saying to make each torpedo fire good; this not to mention that torpedo reloading times can be rather slow (you can set realistic reloads to off in the difficulty menu).
Each torpedo can be manually configured for performance – set a lower depth to only hit capital ships; fire a ‘spread’ at a certain angle; or best yet – operate the torpedo via the Torpedo Data Control. With the TDC, you’d manually determine the speed of the target versus the distance and input all data accordingly. It goes without saying that this control is only for the Sea Wolves but it can be quite fun and satisfying to be able to hit a target without the auto-detection system offered by default.
viii. ‘Screws’ – denotes ships’ rudders beating the water. Fast screws (rudders) usually belong to enemy warships whereas the slow ones belong to large, bulky cargo ships. Knowing the difference between the 2 is not very crucial but can help you plan as to what you’re up against.
Engaging the enemy:
No hard and fast rules of engagement here. Depending on the situation you’re in, it’s better to assess the environment and tackle the best option – would it be better if your boat is staying at periscope depth or is it flooding heavily and requires surfacing the boat but at the same time risk being shelled by enemy ships. That said, the best way would be to dive to periscope depth or snorkel depth to launch torpedoes. If you’re surfaced, there is this unnecessary pressure of getting hit by enemy ship’s guns and if you’re unluckily hit by enemy fire, that’d put you in a spot of bother.
a) Torpedoes – a limited asset but can be the best weapon. Launching torpedoes can also be disconcerting at first. It’s not as simple as point and click this time,though you’ll need to do that later on. When you sight an enemy ship, your first thoughts should be centred on its size. The ship crew would inform you as to what it is; or you can refer to the electronic ship recognition manual to get a more detailed feedback as to your potential target. Remember that the latter method is not automated and you probably won’t have the precious response time to do it all the time. Hell, just point your periscope and fire away!
Once you have identified the target – for smaller targets, I’d in all probability allot 1 to 2 torps for it. If it’s close enough (about less than 1000 yards), one torpedo should be sufficient to get the job done but it’s never that straightforward anyway. It’s quite up to you as to your strategy. You may opt to conserve your torpedo ammo for the capital ships and you may even decide to do some selective targeting.
The rule of the thumb is:
1. For destroyers, don’t fire off torps too late (less than 500 yards). By this time, the enemy destroyers would be directly on course in your direction and their narrow width meant that these torpedoes may miss the mark. Ideally, I evade enemy destroyers at first and then go for the more yummy ships at the middle of the escort pack. Destroyers are explained here: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Destroyer).
2. You may manually set a deeper torpedo depth for your other racks. (Refer to the electronic manual) Deeper torpedo runs would be useful in evading capital ships’ armor belt and impact closer to the keel of the ship. A battleship (40,000 tons) usually takes about 5-6 torps to sink. An aircraft carrier can shoulder about 6-7 direct hits. There are no definite, clear-cut rules on this as this is the reality in naval warfare. Cruiser-classes may require to between 2-4 torps to cripple them, with the 4th one being the coup-de-grâce.
3. If you set the difficulty to include ‘dud torpedoes’ you may expect that some of your torps won’t explode on impact. This is random and can be unexpected.
4. Manual torpedo control can be rather difficult to understand but can be rewarding if done well. You may have to refer to the ship’s recognition manual for this purpose.
5. Remember to take note of your submarine’s layout. A class VII sub has 4 front tubes and one aft tube – 4 torps in front and 1 at the back. A class IX sub has 4 torps in front and 2 aft. A class XXI sub has all 6 tubes at the front and none at the aft. The difference between a front torpedo tube and one at the back is quite big as this would affect the gyro angle of your torpedoes. A gyro angle +/- of 135 degrees may prohibit you from firing any of the above from the facing position of the sub. A simple direction to follow – the most effective firing position is +/- 15 degrees from the front/aft position. 0 degrees on your periscope meant your front position and 180 degrees would be your aft position. Configure your torpedo salvoes accordingly. (Refer to the manual again for more details)
b) Deck Gun – not a good weapon by any standards – slow, with the tendency to miss some distant targets. Their ideal range would be somewhere in between 150 to 2000 yards. In inclement weather,the rocking of the boat in higher realism settings could also throw your aim off balance,in which case the range should be revised to a mere 1000 yards for effectiveness. Use this weapon against enemy cargo ships or other lesser armed vessels.
c) Flak gun – best used against enemy airplanes, the flak cannons can also be used against weaker ships in certain circumstances. Your biggest bane would be the naval bombers who can take your boat our in one bombing run.
Other neat features –
i. Sound room – with the addition of the sound room to SH2, you have access to sounds around your sub’s position. When your crew alerts you as to certain ship’s ‘screws’ (see above), the position of these ships can be detected via your sound room. As you rotate the sound head, the notepad at the side would list down the ships within the sound area. While you may not know the exact range from your boat, it helps if you’re submerged deep and trying to run away from enemy destroyers; on silent running mode and away from their general direction. This is a neat feature.
ii. UZO – German for "Uboot Zieloptik" (roughly, "target optics"). This is a peripheral station in your sub. While surfaced, these pair of binoculars allows you to sight contacts from far, even in poor weather due to its stabilized view and power focus. As a bonus, the gamer may also launch torpedoes from this station, having acquired the necessary targets.
iii. Radio room – This is half a joke to use. It’s funny not because of some collateral graphics attached to this room nor is it tickling because the radioman can send lewd, obscene messages via radio to the Kriegsmarine Operations. The joke is that you can send messages to HQ but only concerning ‘latest surface contacts’ and ‘weather conditions’. The main joke is that you can apparently call for a supply ship – you can send a message but you’ll often hear that no such ships are available. It does not matter whether you’re close to your home harbour or you’re close to a friendly ship – the answer is always ‘nein, nein, nein.’ This could be a developer’s oversight but it’s a pity that supply ships are not at your request.
That joke aside, the radio room is useful to read the mission details and briefing, especially when you’ve chucked vital information (patrol so and so gridlines) etc aside and can refresh your memory. The radio also sends some triggered messages when you’ve accomplished certain objectives in any mission.
iv. Technical advisor interview video – The technical advisor is the late Erich Topp, who was the 3rd best Kriegsmarine submarine commander and the first commander to sink a US Warship in World War II (destroyer – USS Reuben James). His interview looked like a National Geographic episode and did look to be culled from it but I can’t confirm it. Not a particularly informative interview, Topp generally discusses life aboard a submarine and in command of a submarine in 8 non-linear clips.
Game modes –
i. Campaign mode – this is where the game received the most flak from critics – citing poor and unimaginative missions; overtly linear objectives and more. I’ve to say that I agree with this criticism. The game is flawed and the release of the game was marred by its development issues with the original developer, Aeon Electronic Entertainment. When Aeon abandoned the project, Ultimation took over hurriedly and released the game in a lurch back in 2001. The campaign appears to have suffered one of the worst of this development debacle.
You see, the campaign mode could actually be interesting – the first mission takes you to the early days of the war with Poland in 1939 and you’ve been assigned your first dugout canoe, the Type -II Uboat. What follows is a (historically not so correct) interception of the Polish Navy (see the Wikipedia entry on the Peking Plan) by your submarine. This is a hypothetical battle and there is nothing wrong with it. What was not so good is that the scripted missions were so rigid that once you miss the ‘moving’ (i.e. mobile and not static contacts) mission objectives, that was it – you may not have failed your mission but you can’t catch up with the ships and they’re gone from the sector forever. So, you’d have to reload and reload the missions over again until you;ve played the mission according to what has been envisioned by the developers. Again, nothing wrong with that, but you do get the impression of being herded from one objective to the next.
I can explain this. The original ‘Silent Hunter’ game back in 1996 captured the hearts and imagination of armchair submarine commanders because of its randomness. You’re assigned to patrol so and so path for 2 weeks and intercept any naval units you see. There’s the keyword of ‘freedom’ there – a freedom of choice and freedom to play the game as you see fit within the rules of the game. What follows in the sequel is pure rigidity. It did not help that the mission objectives were so particular that once you let slip, you can’t finish the mission at all. It won’t make the gamer disappointed but it’d frustrate the casual gamer hoping to snare a quick kill or two.
Subsim enthusiasts have since modded the campaign to one of the quality expected of the franchise.
ii. Play a mission – 11 scripted non-linear missions in all including 3 training missions. That means that there are 8 historically correct missions to play. I particularly enjoy the ‘Dying Battleship’ mission where you’d have to rendezvous with the KMS Bismark after the great ship was attacked by the Royal Navy and is about to sink. In that mission, you’d have to retrieve her war diary and make off quickly without being spotted by the British Royal Navy. It’s fun when the mission objective is static and not in the state of change.
iii. Create a mission – If you think that this is a mission editor, you’ve thought wrong. This is just a random mission generator – with certain parameters available to tailor to your tastes. I typically play in this mode a lot, since the hint of scripted rigidity is not so apparent in this mode and it’s good to practice with a number of different ships for different scenario types.
iv. Multiplayer – a delicious project was laid down when the developers at Ultimation promised to make ‘Silent Hunter 2’ compatible with their then upcoming naval sim ‘Destroyer Command’. I didn’t partake in these games at all since my own internet connection was poor back then and I don’t sustain the same interest now to play head-to-head with other submarine commanders or US destroyer captains.
Flak Corner –
i. Poor AI (artificial intelligence) – In general, the AI doesn’t appear to do very much at all. I’ve read about gamers complaining that AI-controlled enemy ships tend to collide with one another frequently and thankfully, this has been fixed in the version 1.1 patch released. The AI would hunt you down well, if they control destroyers or light cruisers but their capital ships mostly present sitting duck targets to you; with their lack of zig-zagging and evading of the gamer’s torpedoes. When they take control of the enemy destroyers, they are usually quite tenacious against you but nothing comes close to the Japanese Navy AI in ‘Silent Hunter 1’.
ii. Minor Graphical glitches – I’ve tried this game on 2 different computers and have encountered serious graphical glitches. On my earlier less advanced system, the UZO screen was badly squashed until I could not see anything out of it. On my current system, the sky is now filled with random ugly whitish streaks on a dark night. If I happen to exit the game (Alt-Tab), the sea-water would become a mass of ugly oily patches in uniform with the waves. All of this recorded with the 1.1 patch.
In addition, while the individual stations look quite pretty, the models and the sprites used are not really top-notch for a game in the 2000s. The sea looked desolate and bare and underwater scenes are not really very good.
iii. Lack of gameplay modes – If the official, original campaign mode left a bad taste in the mouth – the 8 historical missions are too few to sustain the interest of the gamer and the random mission generator is also too simple to be of lasting effect. I don’t think that submarine gamers got their value for money when they purchased this game at full price back in 2001. (I got mine in a budget bin in 2003).
iv. Minor techical flaws – The glitches are quite numerous:-
a) the wrong German voice wav when an enemy ship has sunk -" Wir gehen unter, wir brechen auseinander" ("We’re sinking; we’re breaking up"). An Israeli-German housemate looked confused when playing the game on my notebook in 2003 and exclaimed ‘WTF …the enemy ship is supposed to be sinking and breaking up – Why are we the ones?". I don’t think that this flaw is possible had the QA at Ultimation taken more time to analyse this product.
b) Wrong German text on the engine telegraph.
c) An official ‘SH2’ screen blanker appearing without reason after exiting any mission.
d) Various changes made by the 1.1 patch which may have been avoided with a careful, deliberate process.
v. Uninspiring sound and music – Of course, the music need not be a regal-sounding German march or one of those grand strategy ones. But the annoyingly-repetitive music at the title screen is a speedy candidate for music volume reduction.
The in-game sound is also not very good. The depth-charge explosions sounded remote and muffled instead of one grabbing your attention by the spine; the deck gun sounded like a karate exponent cracking one over a plank of wood; the creaking of the pressure plates of your sub as you dive to murky depths are like those creaky doors found in cheap, horror flicks.
As if this is not that bad enough – the in-game voice sounds are not far off the amazingly low standard. Whether your preference be German or the default English voices, the rendition sounded as if ‘from the source’ – i.e. the voice actors did not betray the fact that they are in the studio recording room and not inspiring the gamer that they are on a rough and ready boat, with danger at ever corner of the dark seas. The German captain sounded like a gay bartender while an annoyingly excitable voice (I think the one watching for contacts) tells us that he is ready for a piss already and wants to be excused. There appeared to be no authority on-board with their lacklustre and disinterested voices.
Notable voice samples are the ones manning and operating the torpedoes; the blood-curdling ‘Alaaaaaaarm!!!’ to crash dive; the Chief of the Boat’s engineering jargon…I’ve never really played with the English voices before as I’d the interest to learn some German but what little experiment with these voice sample proved correct – the heavily-German accented English speeches and the bogus slang at the end of every tip of the tongue.
Perhaps it’s my enthusiasm with U-boats which made me feel that the end product is not so bad after all. It’s after all, a rushed product and certain glitches are bound to be present. The biggest let-down so far would be the poor campaign mode and the rather limited game modes available – but if you want a rather surface look at a Uboat and its general operations, Silent Hunter 2 is a rather good game and it’s infinitely fun to take your trusty Type -IX boat out for a trip to sink some battleships and aircraft cruisers and risk being sunk in return in a simulated environment as 60 or so years ago. It’s one game you can take out for a spin from time to time without the long-term engagement into it.