"Not Much to the North"
Naval War: Arctic Circle is an interesting entry into the RTS arena. I've had experience with games such as this where everything is done in actual real-time and everything takes place in a realistically scaled setting. However, I've also played military RTS games where everything still has a sense of immediacy, and that's something that Naval War: Arctic Circle severely lacks.
The campaign of the game takes place in 2030, where NATO are engaged in a Naval training exercise in the North Atlantic, which causes both political and military issues. Beyond this, I'm not sure exactly what the story entails in terms of the actual conflict that arises outside of political boundaries being violated. This is largely because the story is delivered through comically drawn characters meant to represent military leaders. This is an introduction to one of the larger faults of Naval War which will be addressed later. In addition to the unappealing art style in the campaign, the story is delivered through scrolling text which moves fast with or without user input.
Once you've made your way through the long, but actually short because of the speedy text, intro sequences you'll be placed onto the battle map…and it's incredible how uneventful it is. The battle is presented with a radar like 2D map representation of the Northern Atlantic, and you move your units around this map, issuing orders. It's standard RTS fare. Where Naval War: Arctic Circle fell short is in how little is going on at any given time on the map. The radar map, of course, doesn't offer much visually, so there's an option to switch to a 3D view of the battle and watch what's actually going on. What you'll find is, in my opinion, quite realistic. Your units will be separated by what seems to be miles and miles of water, and units in flight or underwater are surrounded by nothing but the vast blue sky and the deep blue sea. In short, there isn't much going on in the 3D mode either, unless you clump a large number of units together, but even then, it'd just be watching a group of jets fly over the empty and uneventful ocean.
The gameplay of Naval War: Arctic Circle works on paper. You issue orders to units, they execute those orders as best they can, and their own individual A.I. responds as best as it can while trying to execute your orders. If you send a helicopter to attack and it's targeted by a missile, it will break from its attack, deploy evasive maneuvers, and try its best to survive. This ensures that you can't simply bomb-rush enemies, and you require an actual strategy in order to claim victory in your battles. However, even with the time compression set to maximum, this all takes an incredible amount of time. It got to the point where I found myself bored with watching enemy units fleeing from my missile attacks because there simply isn't anything going on visually.
The graphics and sound are another major fault with this game. The graphics are sub-par, and it's unfortunate because I think I would have been able to appreciate the vast scope of the game if it were more visually intriguing. To add insult to injury, Naval War seems to only feature two prominent music tracks: One for when things are moving, and one for when things are close to, or engaged in combat. Needless to say, this grew very tiresome.
Although there is a lot wrong with Naval War: Arctic Circle, I can at least fathom that a naval war aficionado would enjoy some aspects of this game. Still, there's very little to offer in the face of so many negative elements sucking the fun out of the game.
GameDynamo's Score for Naval War: Arctic Circle (PC)
|Joey Blackwell II
Avid gamer who's more passionate about writing. Hopes to be a renowned writing voice in the world someday, while still being addicted to games.
[View Naval War: Arctic Circle images / screenshots +]
[Watch Naval War: Arctic Circle videos / trailers +]
[View more Naval War: Arctic Circle articles (news, previews, reviews) +]
[View Naval War: Arctic Circle cheats / guides +]
More from GameDynamo