Sailing is a hobby I’ve always wanted to delve into, but I never got around to actually hopping onto a boat and going out to sea. It’s probably because I’m one of those people that always say they’ll do something, but never actually get around to doing it. Luckily for me, I have a simulation game based on sailing to keep me entertained until I get out onto real waves, and it’s quite good as well.
Upon loading up the game, I was set up with a nice easy situation, and some helpful tips. That was it, and off I went. From the get-go, you’re on your own. There are no tutorial situations, or a friendly narrator to guide you through the first few challenges. Instead, you’re plopped into the water and told to go somewhere.
Tutorials are generally welcome in games, especially in simulation games, so this is a big loss and may find people giving up on the game in the early stages. The worst thing is there’s a very big learning curve so you’ll probably be a while trying to work it out. Once you do work the game out, then it’s smooth sailing (pardon the pun).
There are a high number of boats available for you to sail, and choosing one to fit the situation you’re in may prove quite a challenge, especially if you’re unfamiliar with boats. Of course, if you are unfamiliar with boats, it won’t matter, right? Wrong, choosing the right boat is vital in how you complete your situation so choose very wisely.
The control interface is well laid out and very accessible. Everything is located perfectly and allows you to efficiently control your boat. The actual controls, on the other hand are quite pesky. Getting the right button at the right time can lead to annoyance … because it rarely works like that. You’ll soon discover how broken these buttons can get at times when you slip the disc into your drive.
Of course, the simulation part is down and works great, but what about everything else? Maybe I’m just paranoid, but is it just me or do simulation games tend to be lacking on the graphical side of things? Not this time though; the game is simply beautiful. The water effects are of utmost importance here, and they’re stunning. Watch as shades of blue weave in and out of the waves in a realistic motion, as the tide takes you off course (and it’s your job to bring it back on course), and watch the varying weather conditions that affect on your boat.
The physics are also amazingly detailed here. You’ll immediately notice a huge difference in small to medium waves, and huge contrast in the bigger waves, adding multiple tiers of difficulties.
Another simulation genre revolution is the multiplayer aspect of this game. You’re able to play with two or three of your buddies (or random strangers) and work your way to completing your goal. Of course the multiplayer isn’t 100% foolproof, about 30% of the time I spent on the multiplayer was marred with idiots ruining the game; this won’t get to you though, as you’ll soon connect with people you like to play with and this will enhance your multiplayer greatly.
Overall, Sail Simulator 2010 isn’t a bad effort my any means, but it isn’t perfect. Even with flaws such as the occasionally annoying controls, and the lack of tutorial missions despite the big learning curve, it does everything a simulator should do. With perfect physics, a great interface, varying options to choose from and great graphics and sound to put the cherry on the cake, you could do a lot worse.