Living in the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” has ill prepared me for my ventures into the sailing world of Sail Simulator 2010. While still trying to discern the sea farers lingo (aft, stern, ahoy…etc), I jumped into this review with the utmost hope of finding my sea legs, and more importantly, keeping my pretty animated crew members from drowning a horrible sea death at the bottom of the great blue.
Sail Simulator 2010 is true to its name as there was no story element to the game. This was to be expected. Excluding the lack of any story, there were options to sail many different areas with varied objectives, conditions, and boats. The differing modes included racing and just tooting around some island locales. I would liked to have seen an introduction story or maybe a tutorial inserted in the game to give the newer sailor a better grasp on how to play.
Story/Modes Rating: Decent
Sail Simulator looked pretty enough to invoke more play. The scenery was realistic looking the waves actually appeared to roll across the open sea. The crew members acted as living animations with basic human motor functions and were clearly displayed. I was however, disappointed that they didn’t sputter and choke after capsizing my boat numerous times. No death effect here. Either way, the game looked realistic, clear, and the visuals were enjoyable.
Graphics Rating: Enjoyable
The sounds you hear in the game are the roll and occasional crash of the waves, the winding of the lines when you draw the sails and the clicking of the rudder when you attempt to change directions. You may hear the occasional bird sounds as well. All of these create a pleasant ambience for being out on the open water. Then again I always expected to start hearing the, “Na num, na num, na num”Â of the movie Jaws. For some reason I couldn’t get that movie out of my head the entire time I spent out on the open sea.
Sound Rating: Enjoyable
Sail Simulator is what I would refer to as a niche game. What I mean by that is that in order to really get into it, you have to be into sailing in the real world or into simulation games. I don’t consider myself a part of either of those to sociological niches, but I can say (having friends that are a part of those realms) that they would enjoy this game a great deal. The gameplay is realistic and requires a great deal of patience and understanding. I struggled for most of the game just mastering the basic maneuvering.
The interface is an issue. It doesn’t assist the sailing newbie very well. There are no button tooltips, and no tutorial. I’m the type of person who glances at the instructions for half a second and spends my time learning to play by playing and you really cannot do that with this game. You have to know what a jib and main sheet is and how they work and you have to know the basics of sailing to move your craft effectively. I found the most helpful way was to have the computer control the simulator while I watch what it was doing and then try to model my approach after it. All this being said, I think it would take the already salty a lot less time to master.
Gameplay Rating: Decent
Sail Simulator as a single play game holds very minimal replay value for me. After capsizing my boat several hundred times, I decided it’s best for me to stick with paddling a canoe rather than try and master something as complex as a sail boat. That being said I think the best aspect of the game is the online community’s racing. You can log into races online with your friends and even compete in a tournament which adds quite a bit more excitement to the game.
Replayability Rating: Poor
I felt Sail Simulator was far too complicated and tailored specifically for people with experience rather than the casual gamer. The interface had so many different gauges and windows I felt overwhelmed from start to finish. There wasn’t a single tooltip to explain what did what either which would have eased the struggle of trying to play quite significantly.
Balance Rating: Poor
Sail Simulator is one of a long line of simulation games similar to itself. I think it was designed to enhance previous version and also to add some new ideas (online racing) but overall it wasn’t original and to some degree that’s expected of a sim game. The goal is to make it as real as possible not necessarily add new content or expound on new ideas. Granted there is still room for improvement especially when reaching outside the community that’s already been established for new players.
Originality Rating: Mediocre
The game wasn’t addictive to me. After floundering for ten hours I felt more frustration than addiction. I was waiting for something to happen most of the time or waiting for the AI controlled crew to teach me something. I hope the developers can created a more immersive experience with future games as I felt almost no attachment to Sail Simulator.
Addictiveness Rating: Poor
Although the game held little appeal for my I have to admit I have several friends who would absolutely love the game. The realism is what would get the niche gamer into Sail Simulator. Everything about the game appears to be realistic. The functioning of the boat is very precise and responsive. The differing sails are all interesting and utilized correctly and the rolling of the waves is noticeable real. This is what would appeal to most simulation fans and I would have to think most sailors who enjoy doing this in the real world would enjoy playing the game.
Appeal Factor Rating: Decent
As a disclaimer I would like to say I’m not an experienced Sailor and this game is for the experienced. Thinking from a Salty’s perspective I would give the miscellaneous category a good rating for the game is exactly what its title says and that it functions perfectly as such.
Miscellaneous Rating: Good
Appeal Factor: DECENT
Final Score: A DECENT GAME
Short Attention Span Summary:
Overall I think Sail Simulator is well worth the purchase if you’re into sailing. It is definitely a good example of what it’s like to truly sail a small or large sailing vessel and would most likely satisfy the consumer. If it sounds appealing to you make sure and check out http://www.sailsimulator.com/ to check out the newest races and videos. Thanks for reading.