Enigma: Rising Tide Gold Edition Review
|Release Date:||August 1, 2005|
|Reviewer:||Shane Lacey (Felon)|
|Buy now at Amazon.co.uk|
Naval warfare games are not my cup of tea, hell I didn’t even like Battleships when I was at school. However, Enigma: Rising Tide has actually has kept me coming back for more or less 3 weeks, I never usually play a game this long when I am reviewing a game but this was a breath of fresh air most of the time, very different from games I usually play.
Enigma prides itself on giving the player a taste of naval adventure. Place yourself at the helm of a variety of surface ships and submarines, set in the late 1930's you play in the role of a German, American or fictitious League of Free Nations (A British/Japanese Alliance) naval commander. The game was originally released in 2003 but we are reviewing the recently released Gold Edition which adds new weapons, improves some of the sounds and adds a "voice response pack", we'll talk about that in more detail later.
Graphically, Enigma: Rising Tide is not going to amaze you, a bit dated in places would be fair no doubt but that's more or less a given due to it being pretty much two years old. However it doesn't look shabby, the reflections in the ocean are good and the effects in bad weather actually had me feeling a bit of nausea at times.
The game's interfaces have been tarted up a little from the original release I understand, they are however nothing more than functional, perhaps that's the way they were in the real ships though, so I won't complaining too much. Wherever you are in your vessel of choice you do get roughly the same type of bland metal control panels, texture detail is ok but nothing more. There's not a lot left to say about the way Enigma looks.
Sound effects again are basic but perfectly acceptable, AA and gun fire all sound reasonable enough, sonar pings can get a touch annoying as you might expect, depth charges sound good though and the sound of aircraft approaching is a great audible cue for troubling times ahead. As with the graphics, simple and effective but not much more. However the games' score disappointed me a little, I had hoped for more. I didn’t find it stirring me at all the way I feel these type of games should do. Perhaps I'm too fussy.
We very rarely talk about sound much, we usually try to focus on gameplay, but on this occasion a feature of the sound system has a fundamental impact on gameplay, the "voice response pack" added in this gold edition release. As soon as I figured it out I found myself sitting back barking orders out left, right and centre. I had total and full control over everything without having to move a mouse or tap a keyboard, brilliant stuff, it actually works too! Other than strange looks from the wife it would have been spot on.
Now a quick word of warning, as with most strategy games it does help to know your enemies strengths and weaknesses before you begin, I do recommend you read the manual as this game can be more or less impossible at times without this vital information.
When you start the campaigns, you are in command of a vessel and given a baby sitting job to escort a convoy across the ocean, but this is where the fun starts and the learning curve gets considerably steeper. There are a number of way's to control your vessels in this game, lot's of lever's and dials or the option I took most of the time because I'm lazy was to right click on your tactical dial and get your seamen to do it for you. Same with the on deck guns that are available, you can get your crew to do the dirty work for you or you can actually take over the various cannons and artillery or machine guns dotted around your ship. Firing the ships weapons is quite good fun, the screen vibration effects work well.
There is also spectator view which is very handy, it let's you zoom in and out and have a full 360 degree panoramic view, it can be easy to lose you bearings without it. As I mentioned previously, the voice command system is absolutely superb, it is nigh on impossible to play this game very well without it.
One thing I didn't like was the fact that there was only a status bar as an indication to your ship's damage, it would of been much better if you could actually see damage, even only in spectator mode would have been good. The other stats bars you have are fuel and ammo, you'll need to be careful with both, you really don't want to run out of fuel in waters infested with u-boats do you!
Enigma Rising Tide is however not exactly the fastest paced game you'll ever play, at times it can be positively pedestrian. But as it's pretty much a simulation you'll probably have expected that anyway.
While there are some good graphics and sound effects, it's mostly only average by today's standards. This game is really all about experience.
Sometimes engaging and addictive, at other times slow and tedious, maybe that's a fair portrayal of life at sea on a warship maybe not. Sometimes I'd actually play this game for hours and have a lot of fun and other times I would come across a mission that was a real pain in the arse and quickly lost interest. It all adds up to a game which would have been average at best without the very, very good voice control system. The spectator mode also helps a lot.
- Excellent voice control
- Some nice visual effects
- Quite addictive
Not so good stuff
- Slow pace
- Dull musical score
- A bit dated
- Some boring missions
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