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Game Info:

Naval War: Arctic Circle 
Developed By: Turbo Tape Games
Published By: Paradox Interactive
Released: April 10, 2012
PEGI Rating: 16
Available On: PC
Genre: Real-time naval strategy
Number of Players: 1 offline; 2 online
Price: $19.99 (GamersGate and Steam)

Thank you GamersGate for the review copy of this game!

I'll be up front, I'm not a fan of naval strategy games. The truth is, this is the first game I've played from this genre. However, I still enjoyed my time playing Naval War despite being a complete newbie.

There are two separate campaign modes that allow you to play the perspective of either NATO or Russia. Some of the objectives will require you to either destroy or locate a certain amount of enemy units; it all depends on how the story progresses. I decided to play the NATO campaign first because it starts out with a few tutorial missions. The first few objectives were simple, for instance: I needed to find a submarine and sink it. Thankfully, I found the tutorial to be really helpful for someone like me, who is new to this genre. Although I may be nitpicking, I wish the tutorials would display how to play the game instead of just describing what I should be doing.

The UI is very simple and easy to understand. You have a mini-map, which you can use to help mark different enemy territories. There is the main display, which is used to help command your fleet and set positions. You have a 3D display that views all the action that takes place when you make your commands. Finally, you have a section dedicated to help you command your units and to understand all of their capabilities.

Highlights:

Strong Points: User-friendly; Decent graphics
Weak Points: Stability issues
Moral Warnings: Bad language; Crude humor; Explosions

There are several different warships and aircraft that you can take control of. You can pair many units together and command them to do the same task. To find enemy units, you can turn on a radar or drop sonobuoys. The aircraft will eventually run out of fuel and ammunition and will need to return to base to refuel, otherwise they end up crashing. You have the ability to control the speed of the game, which is helpful for when you feel like slowing down to command your units.

The gameplay is deep and enjoyable for what it is. Sadly, even with the graphical settings being the lowest possible, I had horrible stuttering issues. My framerate never dropped below 60; however, the units would slow down and then have sudden bursts of speed. Sometimes, I was unable to click anything because the screen would freeze. The game also crashed on me a couple of times. My computer is well past the system requirements. I was unable to complete the game due to this instability, which is unfortunate. 

The soundtrack is decent and fits the mood pretty well. I enjoyed listening to it at first, but it becomes extremely repetitive after playing a few games. Fortunately, the sound effects are excellent and feel like they are in their proper place. It really adds to the setting of the game.

Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 64%
Gameplay - 15/20
Graphics - 6/10
Sound - 6/10
Stability - 1/5
Controls 4/5

Morality Score - 73%
Violence - 7/10
Language - 1/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 8.5/10

The visuals don't look that appealing but I still enjoyed the direction that was taken. It's not hard to identify the map or the units. Sometimes, on the 3D display, the aircraft end up flying through objects. I don't find this to be a big deal because if there was a system in place where the units would end up crashing into mountains, then it would make the game more frustrating.

There is a Multiplayer mode; unfortunately I couldn't find any games when I went online. Because of this, I wasn't able to try it out.

When it comes to morality, there is some bad language to be heard in Naval War. There were a few crude jokes here and there that gave me a sour taste in my mouth. There is some violence presented in the game but the worst you'll see is an explosion.

All in all, Naval War is a decent game. Even though this is the first game I've played from this genre, I still enjoyed it. From my perspective, I found the game to be user-friendly and I didn't have too much trouble learning how to play the game. The gameplay is straight forward with a lot of depth and I didn't have any problems when it came to controlling the units. It's unfortunate that there are so many stability issues that held me back from completing this game. I recommend saving your money by not purchasing Naval War until all of these issues have been fixed.

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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