World War 2 may be among the most fertile ground we have for videogame excursions, but compared to all the harrowing trench battles and standoffs in ruined French villages we all have under our belts, the naval aspect of the war is less well covered.
Destroyer: The U-Boat Hunter is setting that right though. Available now in early access, Daedalic's latest WW2 release puts you in charge of a Fletcher class destroyer and gives you unprecedented historical detail onboard as you hunt for sneaky U-boats.
Here's the crucial intel from HQ before you raise the anchors and embark out into the misty mid-century seas with nothing but explosives and maps for company.
It's a hardcore sim that newcomers can get to grips with too
The level of historical research and meticulous detail goes appropriately deep here. If we had a radar for such things here at PCG, this game would be so low into the murky depths as to be undetectable.
Not only is your Fletcher class Destroyer forensically accurate to historical records in its appearance, the way you operate it and engage with enemies is true to the period too. And it's all presented in fully 3D models and scenes, rendered with impressive atmosphere, including the bridge, the combat information centre, the sonar room, the gun director, and the lookouts' station.
If the thought of using authentic attack procedures and equipment to manage a massive naval vessel mid-battle sounds like sweaty brow territory though, you can automate certain aspects of the job and just focus on the parts you want to. Handy if you're coming to the game without prior knowledge.
A Fletcher-class Destroyer of your own
The US Navy's Fletcher-class Destroyer was a key part of the allied forces' offensive deployment in the battle of the Atlantic from 1943 onwards, carrying out not just U-boat hunting attack missions, but also escorting other vessels, just as you're tasked with in the game.
The Destroyer was still part of the USN's fleet through the Korean war, and even into Vietnam. It's a potent piece of historical naval equipment, built with meticulous period details all reflected in its 3D scenes.
Encounters in Destroyer: The U-Boat Hunter happen organically, with multiple procedural elements ensuring you don't end up slogging through familiar battles. Not only do randomised weather and time of day factor into each encounter, enemy attack patterns are also varied according to the profiles of their U-boat captains. Any opponent you encounter may either be aggressive, sneaky, patient, or cold professional.
That forces you out of any comfort zone you might have forged out there on the misty tides, analysing enemy behaviour and adapting your engagement strategy on the fly.
When things get spicy out there and the depth charges start flying, the cinematic soundtrack has four layers of intensity to it, ramping up for dramatic effect in the heat of battle.
10 battle stations to man manually—or leave to your crewmates
Hopping between the bridge, SONAR, combat, gun director, lookouts and external view, you're not just the captain of the Destroyer, but the entire crew, too. Switch between battle stations to follow every action of a combat engagement manually, or automate some for AI crewmates to streamline your job.
Each battle station's complete with period-authentic equipment arrays that you'll need to learn and master if you want to sink your first U-boat.
Destroyer: The U-Boat Hunter is available now on Steam early access.