Gaming Today Impressions of ‘PT Boats: Knights of the Sea’ Preview
Recently I had the opportunity to preview Akella’s latest RTS naval simulator game PT Boats: Knights of the Sea, and if WWII games are your thing and you are tired of playing aerial or ground war titles; then this game was made especially for you. With the video game market overly saturated with WWII games, Akella wanted to produce something different starring one of the most under-appreciated heroes of that era, the Patrol Torpedo Boat. Faster and easier to maneuver than a large battleship, PT Boats were used when accuracy and speed were of the utmost importance and they got the job done. Being smaller did not mean that they could not cause serious damage to a larger vessel though, because they could take a tanker down with their torpedoes – and while they were indeed more vulnerable than their larger counterparts, they were essential to any maritime battle.
As the title of the game states, these unsung heroes are the boats you will be manning and your mission is to get the job done without getting yourself blown to bits. While that is the basic premise of any video game where you are in battle, PT Boats: Knights of the Sea is a bit different than your standard war game. Your job is to not only join the battleships and carriers during battles, but you will also be called upon to escort convoys, do a bit of reconnaissance and protect strategic coastal points.
During the demo of the game, players can choose one of three sides, Allied, Germany, or the USSR in six different mission episodes and experience battles twice via either defensive or offensive mode. Now, please note that this was just a preview demo, so some of the graphics features were not running at 100%, so be rest assured that the graphics within the full game will be less banal. The map is very easy to navigate and can be viewed in 2D or 3D mode and the wonderful thing about it is that you can click on anywhere in the map grid and be taken directly to that point without having to get to your destination in real-time mode. While in map mode you can also pause the game and change your speed for up to 4x the norm.
The main issue I had with the preview were the controls – it took more time to learn them than what I would have liked. However, once you get the keyboard short-cuts down pat it is much easier to switch between screens, and you can use either the traditional WASD scheme or your arrows to move around, the enter key will switch between action and tactical screens, and the numeric keys switch positions between all the crew members, captain’s bridge and even the torpedo sight. You will use your mouse wheel to zoom in and out of the screen and your mouse is used to change your gun placement which will enable you to shoot down enemies from both sea and sky. My main issues with the mouse controls were when I switched screens the mouse behaves differently each time and I became frustrated when I could do one thing in one screen, but not another. Eventually this will become second nature to you, but in the beginning it was not a pleasant surprise. The press demo did not come with a control manual and though decent, the walk-thru did not tell me everything I needed to know. Hopefully this is not the case with the full version of the game.
PT Boats: Knights of the Sea is so much different than other WWII games on the market, that hopefully it will be a breath for fresh air for gamers interested in this genre. The sound quality is top-notch, the graphics will be good in the full version and support both DX9 and DX10, and controlling your boat – once you get the hang of it – is a breeze; plus there is nothing more satisfying than sinking a ship that seems thirty-times larger than yours. The full game will include multiplayer options, the ability to wield weapons on some larger ships, participate in night missions with projectors, and take part in both landing and iceberg missions.
PT Boats: Knights of the Sea is powered by an improved version of the STORM 4.0 engine used in Pirates of the Caribbean. The STORM 4.0 engine enables the creation of unique special effects like ocean waves from explosions, tracing the tracks of various types of boats, illustrating the boats gliding, realistic collision damage, and damage from assorted types of ammunition.
For more information on PT Boats: Knights of the Sea, please visit the official website. Check back often to get more information and a concrete release date.