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Naval War: Arctic Circle set for release April 10th

Paradox Interactive, publisher of titles such as Magicka, Hearts of Iron III and the Europa Universalis series, is set to release the naval simulation sim Naval War: Arctic Circle. The game takes place in the near future, a future in which Russia clashes with NATO forces over a territorial dispute, culminating in a naval conflict in which the player has to use all their wits to outsmart the enemy. You will be given command of a number of units with which you then have to complete given objectives. For instance, there is a mission which has you preventing an amphibious invasion into Iceland. To complete this, you’re given command of a number of aircraft, as well as two submarines. You’ll have to win with just that.

The central focus in this game lies on planning and strategy. Base building and resource gathering are not present; if your units are destroyed, the game is over. Naval War: Arctic Circle lets you control all aspects of naval warfare: submarine detection, all different kinds of sensors, the depth at which your subs cruise the ocean, the speed at which your fighters patrol the sea, and much more. All these options need to be carefully explored in order to successfully complete a mission.

Also, units have to cooperate to complete their objective. Before attacking a target, you’ll also have to make sure your torpedo won’t be able to be shot down. In order for a submarine to be able to destroy a ship, it must first be able to detect it using its sensors, identify it, make sure the sub itself isn’t detected by sonar buoys, then check if there aren’t any anti-sub units in the air, which will have to be taken down by fighters.  These fighters in turn will have to watch out for patrols of their own. Before launching a fighter, you can change its role from ‘Air Superiority’ to ‘Naval Strike’, ‘Electronic Warfare’, among others, to best suit your objectives.

You might see why the game falls under the hardcore RTS genre, and novice players will have a hard time adjusting to its gameplay. Getting the hang of all the different buttons and options is a process of trial and error, and lack of a decent tutorial makes it all the harder. Still, once you do get the hang of it, it can be quite rewarding to destroy an aircraft carrier.

The gameplay proceeds in real time, which means that a mission can take quite a while to complete. It can take minutes for an aircraft to reach its objective or for a missile to strike its target. Fast-forwarding is included but not advisable, since micromanaging of time and resources will be a must. The game takes place in a space of 35.000 million km² in which you can battle. The units present in the game all exist in real life and have similar characteristics. The developers have made realism an important point, as each unit has distinct characteristics that must all be mastered and reflect their real life counterpart. One aircraft will be faster, the other one has more firepower, and so on.

The game map is viewed in a minimap-style fashion. Clicking on a unit or point in the map will show you a 3D model of the unit, and it is even possible to follow a torpedo/missile on its way to the target. In other words, Naval War: Arctic Circle will prove a worthy distraction for hardcore simulation fans. If you are into modern combat that lacks all the arcade stuff but has enough depth to last a lifetime, this game might be exactly what you’re looking for. For those of you who are into Starcraft and Command and Conquer, this is not for you. But like forenamed games, it will most definitely be the game’s multiplayer that will prove addictive.

Arctic Circle releases today, April 10th.

Tom has been a gamer since he was a small child, spending his childhood glued to his TV, enjoying beating up imaginary people and blowing the heads of imaginary monsters. From the NES over Playstation to his current preference of gaming system, the almighty PC. In his 'free time', he enjoys a variety of martial arts, drinking, reading, and other boring stuff. And he's totally into rock music.

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