Simulator titles are in a class themselves when compared to the other, more popular gaming genres on the market. Simply put: either you love them or you hate them, and there isn't much ground in between. Unlike 1st person shooters, RPG's, or straight forward action games, simulators take quite a bit of time in order to learn and play properly. But then again, that's why they're called simulators, isn't it? The main purpose of the genre of gaming is to give people the true-to-life experience of flying a plane, controlling a submarine, or captaining a maritime vessel. To provide anything less would cheapen the simulated experience for the player/gamer and in turn make it something other than a simulator game. This special brand of video gaming therefore dictates a special form of game player: one that has the time, patience, and intrinsic interest in the simulator's subject in order to have fun playing. With that in mind, fans of World War II naval vessels should be in simulated 7th heaven with the release of Destroyer Command for the PC. This title gives a true depiction of naval combat during the 1940's, allowing players to fully control various Destroyer class vessels to their hearts content. However, only those willing to sit down and learn the Ins and Outs of World War II ship controls and tactics will be impressed by what this title has to offer.
Developed by Ultimation Software and published by Ubisoft, Destroyer Command is the epitome of the classic simulator title. It allows players to fully engross themselves in the total workings of a maritime vessel, with the emphasis (of course) on various World War II Destroyer Class Vessels. Multiple vessels are available to command on DC, including ships from the United States, British, and Japanese navies. Single players gameplay is separated into several categories including Historical Missions, Campaigns, and Custom levels. The Historical missions include such famous battles fought in Balikpapan, Cape St. George, and the Savo Islands. The campaign missions consists of large scale operations in the Pacific and Atlantic theatres that can be saved, while the custom missions are just that: player created themes of battle tailored to suit their needs ,including time of day, enemy subs/air units, and enemy ship types,.
As with most simulator titles, players are given the task of operating the realistic controls of the vessels that are found in Destroyer Command. Among these include the helm, air weapons control, torpedo control, gunnery, sonar, radar, observation post, and the overall theatre operations map. Each station has a multitude of controls as the player's disposal with their own specific function onboard vessel function. All stations can be accessed via the main station's control or can be used in the more basic form from a sidebar menu. Ship control is a daunting task, however, and not for the easily sway ed. Players must learn the control scheme for each vessel utilizing the mission based tutorial system. However, that system is rather useless unless you happen to have the game manual next to you. Attempting to run through the tutorial by itself proved rather useless in the end, and quite unfulfilling overall. Once players have the grasp of the intensive ship control system, the walk-through tutorial become slightly easier, if not completely helpful.
Visually, Destroyer Command didn't possess the best graphical design we've seen on the market to date, but it wasn't something to slouch at. The game consists of fully 3-D rendered models, depicting accurate shots of classic WWII era fighting vessels, cargo freighters, and aircraft. The various landscapes (from the Atlantic Coasts to the Pacific regions various islands and archipelago's ) are accurate to scale, though slightly more detail like villages and city lines would have been a nice bonus. The realistic combat that is the mainstay of the game makes up for the lack of visual dynamics, however, in a large way. Once players fully master the complexities of the control system that makes up Destroyer Command, the real genius behind the games' design can be fully appreciated. The submarine attacks, the air bombardments, and the ship to ship combat scenarios are plentiful as well as fully realistic (especially when playing one of the historical mission selections). Anyone that is a historical buff of the WWII naval timeline will no doubt be enthralled with the incredible detail that the developers have included within the makeup of the title. This allows players the ability to fully immerse themselves into the combat scenarios including overall attack planning, ship formation, attack formation, etc.
Though geared to historical buffs and simulator fans alike, Destroyer Command does contain several key elements that should easily capture the attention of most gamers. For instance, the games highly detailed reference section ranges from Naval Warfare tactics of the mid 20th century, to overall ship designs, and even holds a detailed account of the rise of the Destroyer class vessel throughout modern warfare. The gem of this game, however, comes in the form of the Multiplayer mode of the game. Ubisoft and Ultimation have gone out of their way to tailor an excellent multiplayer system for fans of the game to fully engross themselves in combat with other real live opponents. Players can choose to become part of a vessels overall crew, allowing them to perform a specific function onboard the ship, whether it be weapons control, helm, or even engineering. Players can of course go head to head against other online foes, controlling their very own vessel as a solo force. The single best part of the multiplayer function on Destroyer Command comes in the form of complete integration online with owners of the submarine based simulation game Silent Hunter II. DC players can actually log on to Ubisoft's game servers and play head to head against live submarine opponents, testing their mettle in an all out battle royale, doing what their simulated ships of war were designed to do…on the internet.
Overall, Destroyer Command proved itself to be
a rather interesting game…as far as simulators go. Though its graphics were
slightly above average, the true-to-life WWII styled warfare that the title
offers was extremely well designed and completely entertaining. Fans of the
simulator genre of gaming will revel in the complexity and realism that the
control scheme of the in-game ships has to offer, giving that much more realism
to the historical battles that are fought through the course of the game.
Destroyer Command is not a title for the casual gamer, however, with its steep
learning curve and its realistic (and time consuming) approach to battle. If
you're looking for a game to live out your WWII Naval fantasies, this one's for
you. If you're looking to simple blow stuff up as quickly as possible, you might
want to try something a little more base at your local arcade.