Asking a bunch of WWII buffs for their opinion on the best fighter, tank or sub-machinegun of the war is a good way to start an argument. For consensus, move the conversation on to assault rifles, ballistic missiles and submarines. Swift, stealthy, and able to stay submerged for a week at a time, the amazing German Type XXI was years ahead of anything fielded by the Allies or Japanese. In this cheap and cheeky official Silent Hunter add-on they get to roam about a crowded Indian Ocean like sharks in a salmon farm.
To get your hands on the King of Subs you first need to notch up dozens of high-value kills in the add-on’s other draftee, the long-range Type IXD2. Trashing tonnage is easier than the history books suggest it should be because Ubisoft Romania cram their Far Eastern arena with improbable quantities of merchant traffic, and make recon planes available to players. Just by clicking on a friendly airbase and setting a destination you can send a Japanese scout plane out to scour the sea-lanes.
While our inner pedant can just about cope with ordering around the odd Zero Rufe, he does baulk at utilising the German cruisers and Japanese taskforces unlocked later in the campaign. Calling in the big guns when you’re pinned down by dogged destroyers feels too much like a cheat for our taste. We’re also having trouble accepting the new hero crewmen. Very costly to recruit, these special sun-dodgers can be ‘activated’ at crucial moments in engagements to give brief boosts to things like dive speed and sonar capability. If we want spell casting we’ll go play something with elves in it.
Fortunately, if you want to ignore the XXIs, the asset management and the wizards, you can. U-Boat Missions is worth buying just for the pleasure of Das Booting in a new context. If you’re a devoted SH fan it’s probably worth buying just for the extra prey - a dozen new Allied ship shapes - the speedier load times, and improvements to the crew management interface.
If the price was higher we’d grumble about the empty single mission folder and that the Kriegsmarine’s finest speak as if American. Because we know a) there’s truth in the old adage ‘You get what you pay for’ and b) SH’s wonderful community will have rectified these deficiencies by the time you read this, we’ll end instead with positivity and facts. Buy U-Boat Missions. The answers to those introductory questions are: Spitfire, Panther G, and PPSh-41.
May 2, 2008