Silent Hunter 5 First Impressions

We dived beneath the murky Atlantic Ocean in this first look at Ubisoft's upcoming submarine sim.

Announced just before GamesCom 2009 kicked off last week, submarine sim Silent Hunter 5 takes players back to the cruel, cold waters of World War II's Battle of the Atlantic. The game surfaced at GamesCom, and we checked it out at Ubisoft's booth.

Who's Making This Game: Ubisoft Romania, the same team behind Silent Hunter: Wolves of the Pacific, Tom Clancy's HAWX, and Blazing Angels: Squadrons of WWII.

What The Game Looks Like: The game has some impressive visual effects, such as massive explosions and fires on ships, as well as nice weather effects, such as raindrops smearing your periscope view. The draw distances are pretty impressive too, and we saw some picturesque alpine hills far off in the distance through our periscope.

What There Is To Do: You can explore your submarine from a first-person perspective, see the crew members working (or sleeping), and check out other parts of the ship, like the engine room. There's also an external camera that you can move around the map to see the current battle's full scale.

How The Game Is Played: Silent Hunter 5 features a new top-down map to plan your strategy. Enemy ships appear with a black arrow indicating heading, and they are encircled by a grey radius that represents the limit of their detection range. A second radius shows their hydrophone range (the range at which they can hear your sub). At full throttle you are easily detected, but if you slow to a near stop, then this radius will be reduced dramatically.

There's a trade-off between remaining undetected and gathering information on your enemies' whereabouts, and if you're spotted, you'll need to balance speed and stealth to get out of there alive. The best way to attack targets is to use stealth to flank enemy units and attack them from behind, and when you're ready to attack, use the periscope view. The tactical map now appears in periscope view, which gives you the benefit of being able to see the overall strategy while targeting enemies.

Ubisoft has tried to make things easier when aiming and firing. Launching a torpedo at a moving target means you need to aim ahead of the target, and unless you're at point-blank range, a hit can be difficult to achieve. In Silent Hunter 5 your tactical map will show the trajectories of your torpedo and the targeted ship, and each trajectory has several numbered reticles. Lining up your ship so that these numbers overlap will maximise the chance of a direct hit. After a successful hit, and depending on how cruel you're feeling, you can either destroy the ship completely or target strategic parts, such as the engine, and cause it to sink slowly into the murky depths below.

What They Say: "Silent Hunter 5 ventures into uncharted territory and takes players behind the periscope of a German U-boat to take on the Allied Forces in famous battles across the vast Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. For the first time in the history of the series, players can live the life of a submarine captain from a first-person view and lead a crew in a critical campaign."

What We Say: Silent Hunter 5 looks like it will combine some tense naval warfare with a solid graphics engine and some neat new improvements to the series, and we're looking forward to getting our hands behind the periscope at some stage. The game is heading exclusively to PCs in early 2010.

Written By

Former staff writer for GameSpot.co.uk, now marketing guy for a certain major online retailer....

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Discussion

37 comments
1947gamer
1947gamer

Why don't they make these games for the xbox?

xazoulini1
xazoulini1

same here my friends...the game also has other problems like the deck gun sound and shell impact is missing and also you cannot access the gun just like sh4:/

GeorgeSyll
GeorgeSyll

total dissapointment.many bugs and stupid interface.the classic looking firing systems are replaced by stupid looking buttons.big shame.ubisoft didnt even care to fix that stupid problem with time compression.in high compression the game lags much even in high end gaming PC. just like with the previous games.i'm not sure if anyone has this problem but i do. i wont even coment on the DRM. i was a ubisoft fan. not anymore. SH5 and AC2 are the last games i bought from them. goodbye Ubisoft.

iloveyourface
iloveyourface

such an awkward time for PC gaming. please, folks! no more DRM!!!

Proudmoore
Proudmoore

DRM for this game is ignorant. Will not be buying because I do not always have internet due to the amount I travel. Shame though, cause its coming from a great studio and the game looks great.

mmdoran1
mmdoran1

Ive played sh3 and sh4 wolves of the pacific and the modded trigger maru. ive thouroughly enjoyed the she series (sh4 trigger maru was my favorite by far). i, however will not buy this game or any ubisoft product until they remove the ridiculiously opressive drm. i pay to own the game. ubisoft should not have any right to restrict my use of the game once ive paid for it. i really want to play the game but i will not pay my hard earned money for a game that relies on my internet connection or the publishers consent to play at any particular time. shame on you ubisoft. your game will lose a LOT of sales, many more than would belost through piracy. your loyal fans are leaving in droves because of this decision. was it worth it?

sextus1
sextus1

I was just over at subsim.com and found out that this game has generated alot of negative comments regarding the necessity to access the game thru Ubisoft's online server. This make it a bit iffy in my mind since I do not have hi speed access and i would always be wondering when Ubi would decide to cancel their server support and render this game useless. I was very much looking forward to it but now will cancel my pre-order. I recognize Companies rights to protect against piracy but I want to own my game not just rent it for a time. Too bad.

dx900
dx900

I played SH3 extensively, didn't like what i heard about SH4 and still played SH3 in the meantime. Let's hope SH5 is worth it, otherwise i'll save my money for something else and still play SH3. Newer isn't always better and there is an unfortunate trend these days to release games long before they are playable and to rely on gamers as beta testers.

hollowfaith
hollowfaith

Sorry to post about an older comment but this made me laugh... "I enjoyed SH3 never played 4 because Pacific theatre in WW2 wasn't much about sub warfare" Say what!? Pacific Theater wasn't about sub warfare? I think someone needs to read a few more books before making a goofy comment like that. Granted the US Sub force only made up roughly 2% of the Navy but it took the lions share of the sinking of (if memory serves) over 30% of Japanese shipping! Now ends the history lesson. LOL :) For a decent site on this subject go here... http://www.valoratsea.com/

sextus1
sextus1

Have played both the original SH3 and then SH-Wolves of the Pacific. Am not sure if it was because of the challenge of being the underdog in SH3 but I much preferred to play as the German side. Look forward to this one and I hope it does not disappoint. Sic volvere Parcas "So spin the Fates"

Hayabusa_red
Hayabusa_red

One of my best ever games. Always returning to it to launch some torpedos...to dive to hear "ping...ping...", to see endless water... Waiting for SH5...

driver9099
driver9099

anything would be better than silent hunter wolves of the pacific.

ganicola88
ganicola88

The link to this article is entitled "Silent Hunter IV First Impression" when it should state "Silent Hunter V First Impression" or "Silent Hunter 5 First Impression". How someone managed to screw that up is beyond me.

NightCrawlerAWG
NightCrawlerAWG

Purely disappointed in this release. I am still waiting for Zombie Subs to be displayed! :)

muppetts1000
muppetts1000

same old same old, wow eye candy go figure. Do not buy the hype, there has been no improvement that you do not already get from SHIII and the ton of community mods.

RYPER
RYPER

Way to go Ubisoft...picking the Romanian studio for this. These moments make you proud to be Romanian.

jorge69696
jorge69696

@chrlil that's because pc games have new graphic features, if you want to play low res and low settings, you can do it. No one is forcing you to buy the newest video card on the market. "they want more ram more graphics and more powrfoul pc" what's the problem with that? you can't improve graphics in general without improving hardware. If you want to play with the same 4 old year graphics go consoles.

chrlil
chrlil

i honestly stop play games in pc begause day by day they want more ram more graphics and more powrfoul pc

agathalynn
agathalynn

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

rit1981
rit1981

Modern Subs are rubbish. Also theres been no good modern day sub wars like in the WWII. I just wanna see sub vs sub this time. I don't think it's been sub Vs sub since SH2. Who's with me???

ahowes_gs
ahowes_gs

I still hold out hope that someday Silent Hunter and Dangerous Waters will come together (or at least have SH do it on their own) and make a hardcore modern sub sim with the graphic engine of SH. Then the idea of a towed array and subsurface warfare in SH would be reality. And by the way Gamespot, the roman numeral for 5 is "V" not "IV"!!!!

zzzms
zzzms

I hope they fix the save game bug!

bojan_sokol
bojan_sokol

I enjoyed SH3 never played 4 because Pacific theatre in WW2 wasn't much about sub warfare

strayhuman
strayhuman

Jackyll87, Towed array sonar is a relatively new development in subs and did not exist on them in WW2. In fact for much of the cold war the US subs tracked Soviet subs by hiding in their baffles.

hvypetals
hvypetals

did they fix the overscan with flat panel monitors? they strangely left that out of SHIV

Jackyll87
Jackyll87

Ron: You thought wrong. Most subs used and still use the towed sonar system, which detects sounds from everywhere, especially from behind the sub.

RonR0549
RonR0549

I thought if you came in from behind a moving sub they wouldn't be able to hear you, thereby allowing you to make a hit at short range and at least destroy there engine or propellers. However, knowing where their ships or subs are or will be well before your own intel detects it seems a waste of time.

RonR0549
RonR0549

I thought if you came in from behind a moving sub they wouldn't be able to hear you, thereby allowing you to make a hit at short range and at least destroy there engine or propellers. However, knowing where their ships or subs are or will be well before your own intel detects it seems a waste of time.

lindallison
lindallison

@rit1981 How would subs of the WWII era aim at each other? Also who would you be shooting at? I'll settle for AI subs that can, you know, actually dive, fire torpedoes and otherwise act like subs. Wolf packs.

K_M82
K_M82

man i still remember the satisfaction of a torpedo hit in silent hunter 4! it's SOOOO difficult to line up a shot in that game!! each torpedo hit is a victory in it's own right! can't wait to play this one!!!

rit1981
rit1981

I would like to see Sub Vs Sub this time.

IceCold_83
IceCold_83

@lindallison I agree, dumbing down Silent Hunter would be a bad, bad move.

lindallison
lindallison

well....i look forward to hearing more about the realism settings...I hope the firing solution method G-spot describes above is the relaxed 'map updates' setting which can be turned off.....there's no fun if contacts magically appear on your nav-map.....and, since when is attacking from behind the best - that almost guarantees a weird impact angle. Also does 'critical campaign' mean dynamic campaign? I'm confused.