Grab a packed lunch and your camera because we're going on a trip, a trip back in time!
Hop into the review-well Delorean and buckle up, it could be bumpy ride.Feb 25th, 1932
88mph and a flash of light later and we're here in 1932.
You see that man over there, he's a failed artist with a criminal record, without him the game Victory at Sea would almost certainly not exist.
He looks happy doesn't he? all smiles and handshakes, what a nice chap.
Despite being Austrian, he's just been appointed to a minor administrative role by the state government of Brunswick in Germany, a position which gives him German citizenship, maybe that's why he's so happy?
Good for him, but not very interesting for us.
Let's move on.Jan 30th, 1933
The sound of celebration rings in the air, the streets of Berlin glitter with torch light.
This is more like it, everyone loves a good party and it seems like this one is in full swing.
Our Austrian friend has done well for himself in the last year and has just been appointed Chancellor by President Hindenburg, that's what I call career progression and definitely a good excuse for a party!
No time to join the fun though, there's plenty more to see.Aug 2nd, 1934
The smell of death hangs in the air, an old man takes his last breath, President Hindenburg of Germany is dead.
Thankfully our Austrian friend and recent chancellor of Germany quickly merges the position of chancellor and president together to create a new role, which, as the current chancellor, he'll step into to ensure the smooth running of things. What a selfless guy.
I wonder what will happen next?
let's find outMarch 13th, 1938
It's been nearly four years since we checked in on our Austrian buddy and he hasn't let his new found powers go to waste whilst we've been away.
He's upset quite a few people, it seems he's not too keen on certain races and has no hesitation in letting them know it, maybe he wasn't such a nice chap after all.
It's not all hate though, he does seem quite keen on the German People and he hasn't forgotten his Austrian origins either. He's even managed to cement a union between the two great nations, he's telling a room full of people about it right now and they all seem very pleased, lots of clapping and flag waving.Aug 25th, 1939
It seems that absolute power really does corrupt absolutely, our Austrian friend has clearly gone mad, he's murdering people he doesn't like, he's recently taken over Czechoslovakia and he's been seen talking to the USSR about how Poland would be a lovely place for them to share.
Poland doesn't really like this idea and looks to the little island of Britain for support by way of a mutual defence treaty.
I've got a bad feeling about this.Sept 3rd, 1939
Just over a week later and Poland, like the last candy in the box, proved too tempting for Germany to resist, they marched on the country a couple of days ago, honouring its defence pact, Britain responds by declaring war on Nazi Germany, it's old colonial nations of Australia and New Zealand follow suit along with its neighbour France.
Within the week Canada will have also stepped up to join the fight for democracy.
World War II has begun. World War II
War machines mobilise across the world, over the next six years, countless nations will be drawn into the conflict.
Epic battles are going to be fought over land, air and sea, it's the latter that we'll be taking a look at today in Victory at Sea, a maritime RTS title developed by Evil Twin Artworks.Glenn Miller
Ok, so the history lesson is over, but why did I bore you with all that?
Well because this is a niche title, if you have little interest in world war 2 then you've probably stopped reading by now, which is fine because I strongly suspect this game isn't for you.
Likewise, if lightweight naval tactical battles aren't your cup of tea you're not going to find much to enjoy here either...
but if you are still "In the mood" then we'll sail on into the review!At the Theatre
Victory at Sea places you in command of a fleet of ships, fighting your way through some of the epic battles of world war 2, wrapped up in an isometric RTS experience.
The game play itself is split into a few different options, There are historical scenarios which recreate some noted naval battles from the period, there's a custom scenario editor where you can set up your own "fantasy battles" and there is the all important campaign mode.
The campaign mode in Victory at Sea gives you the option to fight across three different theatres, the Atlantic, the Pacific and the Mediterranean.
You'll then choose your side, pick a portrait and a name, then it's off to the briny to fight the good fight.Out of your Depth
Fighting the good fight is initially quite difficult as you'll start the campaign with a little destroyer escort (not the finest ship of the era) which you'll sail around the sandbox seas hunting for prey (and trying not to get blown out of the water yourself).
When you've found an appropriate target and "sailed into it" on the map, the screen will drop down into an isometric view and you're ready for battle!Combat and Coffee
The combat itself is fairly simple, get the enemy in your firing arc and click to shoot.
Don't go into this game expecting a deep simulation of maritime combat or you'll be disappointed, describing the combat as "Arcade-like" is probably a little deceiving, but it definitely favours simple mechanics over realism.
This isn't necessarily a bad thing, sometimes simplicity can be good, blasting the bad guys out of the water without too much thought can be fun.
You can also let the AI control your ships in battle for you if you want the game to play itself whilst you go grab a coffee.Wartime Profiteering
Assuming you win the exchange and your prey is now on its way down to Davey Jones' Locker you'll be awarded with some much needed funds which you can use to purchase new ships for your fleet (or pay for repairs depending on your difficulty level)
Another option is to earn money by completing missions for HQ, although this is a gamble as some of the missions they assign are optimistic to say the least, even if by some miracle you do manage to survive the potential suicide mission they assign you, the pay outs can be disappointingly low.
It's better to grind away in the sand box to build up your fleet.Bump and Grind
Unfortunately a "grind" is what the game play quickly degenerates into, find a target on the map, sail towards it until you bump into it, enter battle and sink it, earn a little money, then do it all over again, rinse and repeat as necessary.
As your fleet slowly grows as a result of this grinding process you'll hit a sweet spot where the difficulty level feels about right, there'll be an even mix of easy wins and tricky battles, but this won't last.
Eventually you'll cross a threshold where you'll have amassed a sizable fleet, everything in the ocean should fear you and the game becomes a cake-walk.
With regards to purchasing new ships for your fleet, there are plenty of different classes to choose from (over 80 in total) each with their own weapons and range, this can lead to some interesting fleet compositions and does add an extra layer of tactical thinking when engaging in combat.Nothing to Write Home About
Visually there's nothing to complain about. the sea looks pretty, the ships models are solid enough, nothing special, but serviceable never the less.
The sound similarly isn't stellar but it's not awful either, the presentation does the job it sets out to do but fails to impress, it's another... [snip]
(To view the full review (and others) please take the time to visit http://www.review-well.com/