Ship Simulator 2008: New Horizons Review (PC)

I had my doubts when this game made it into my cue and found that it was a decent add on to what is a very pretty game, but a game that is still very slow in execution.† Maybe itís a case of ADD showing through, but even if the travel takes a while the screen loading time shouldnít.

Sailing at night is haaard.
I think I need more fingers for all the controls.

The Good

Ship Simulator 2008 New Horizons is an answer to the criticism of the limited scope of the original Ship Simulator 2008 which only had eight shipping lanes and far fewer choice as far as craft and missions.† New Horizons adds eight new vessel types, a new environment and twenty new missions which is pretty impressive for an add on package.† The new ships and area are well presented and the free form mode was one of my favorite parts of the game.

Graphically this game is beautiful to look at.† The changing environments and times of day are well rendered and some of the ships have been toned down a bit so that they fit into the environments better.† There are several camera modes available in order to give you the best possible viewpoint and angle for a given mission, which is also rather nice.† The sound quality and radio interactions are fairly understated and fit well into the environment of the game, adding to the feeling that youíre actually on board and moving around the harbor or across the great seas.

Ship Simulator 2008 New Horizons is definitely a simming game and not for the overly impatient or the weak of attention span, but it has an engaging level of complexity if youíre willing to put the time in.† As well almost every aspect of your sailing life can be controlled by the player, so you really do take control of the captainís console and your shipís destiny.

Yehaw!† 100% throttle!
Marseille is a pretty place.

The Bad

While this wasnít a bad game overall, there were several points that made the experience difficult for me.† First of all the game loads VERY slowly.† I admit to not being entirely top of the line with my system, but itís only nine months old, it should be able to play this game without a problem.† However every load up time was phenomenally long, worst when it was a full mission loading, and at more than one point the game hung until I rebooted.† This kind of response never bodes well and leaves me not wanting to return to a game where my instance was likely lost anyway.† The actual game play can also be slow.† Itís impressive to roll your way across the sea, but sometimes when all there is is a looot of horizon and no marked progress towards it I wondered if the game had hung again.

Another problem was the inclusion of some very realistic bobbing action which is particularly noticeable when youíre in the interior view point.† The whole screen bobs back and forth, which was a distracting effect and had my children renaming the game the Sea Sickness Simulator.


Which boat am I again?
An insiderís viewpoint!

All in all this was a decent game, but itís definitely for a niche audience.† If youíre expecting large explosions or boat on boat racing in your ship based game youíre not going to find it here.† Ship Simulator is instead a study of the detailed operations it takes to properly pilot a ship in what are often less than ideal conditions.† Itís not a game where itís simple to just jump in and play for a few minutes, requiring dedication of time to learn the controls and how each action affects how your ship responds.† This must then be coordinated with understanding the weather and the sea in order to properly complete your missions.† A completion is very satisfying, but after a few successes I found my attention, like my boat, drifting.

Top Gaming Moment:Finally getting out of the dock without trapping myself or bumping into other ships.

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By herodotus (SI Herodotus) on May 15, 2008
Really should be a Free Game, as it is so niche as to give Rail Simulator a mainstream audience.
By david12 (SI Newbie) on Aug 30, 2009
no use all best game in internet cannot give free only demo its booooooring
By david12 (SI Newbie) on Aug 30, 2009
and gta4 cannot download i have to buy 46.00 us