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Naval War: Arctic Circle Review

Naval War: Arctic Circle is a strategy war game from Paradox Interactive and Turbo Tape Games. A fun fact about the development of this game is the developers worked closely with the Norwegian Navy to ensure they were on the right track with how the game played out. Strategy games are fantastic, and Naval War: Arctic Circle was a title that showed promise. Naval War strategy games aren’t exactly overflowing the market these days. You may not know this but there are other genres that aren’t FPS and RPG.

Naval War: Arctic Circle takes place in the year 2030. The locations are the Baltic Sea, Atlantic Ocean, and the North Atlantic. In the Arctic Circle, ice caps are melting and a race to get the raw materials from said ice cap is high priority. There are two ways to play the single player. You can play as the Russians or as NATO.

This is a strategy war game, simple as that. While it is not on the same level of RTS as Command and Conquer it is more like aquatic chess. You get your units and complete objectives which is usually to exterminate the opposition. With a map size of  35 mil km2, day and night cycles, even a weather system this game brings some new aspects to the table. The weather and day/night cycle change your experience and affect gameplay. Everything about Naval War is played in real-time and there is no pause function. It just brings up a game menu. You can speed up or slow down the in game time which helps speed things along or slow things down to give you time to strategize.

Credit to PI

Units you use to get the job done include, battleships, submarines, fixed wing aricraft, and helicopters. These units are modeled after the vehicles serving in the following navies, Royal Canadian Navy, Royal Danish Navy, German Navy, Finnish Navy, Royal Norwegian Navy, Royal Netherlands Navy, Russian Navy, Polish Navy, Royal Navy (UK), Royal Swedish Navy and of course the US Navy. There is a lot of realism in this game. Everyone should know that realism in video games is a dumb idea. However, a strategy game such as this greatly benefits from the realism. The inclusion of real life sensors, ordinance, and armaments are included for every vehicle. Different units and equipment are also available and share the similarities with their real life counterparts. This game hinges on realism, so it would be out of place if there were only large fleets of enemies. Civilian tankers, fishing boats, passenger aircraft and merchant vessels can be found as you go through missions.

While the game does have four tutorial levels teaching you how to play the game, it seems a bit lost and difficult to grasp the concept of everything you can do. The gameplay and controls are not bad by any means, but the game throws a lot at you in the first two hours of the game. Every unit has a unique set of equipment and abilities to utilize. This acts as a positive but also has a hindrance. When you have something on such a large scale such as this you tend to forget where things are and how they work. It takes a while to get a grip on everything you can do and use. The game does not ease you in as well as you would think.

Naval War: Arctic Circle is a great game for the strategy genre. It offers hours of gameplay for singleplayer, and multiplayer is available. If you like naval war games like Dangerous Waters, Harpoon, or Red Storm Rising this is a must buy game. I give Naval War: Arctic Circle an 8.5/10. Be sure to get your copy on Steam available now. 

1 Comment

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  1. FOARP says
    January 25, 2013, 3:12 PM

    Avoid this game – it lacks a save game feature and suffers from regular crashes. The development team basically abandoned it.


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