Jutland – PC Game Preview
Jutland. Storm Eagle Studios. PC Game. Developed by Jim Rose and Norm Koger.
Passed Inspection: Great graphics; detailed modeling; improved interface.
Failed Basic: The learning curve might be steep for the casual gamer.
Jutland will almost certainly continue Storm Eagle’s reputation for quality tactical and operational gaming.
Storm Eagle Studios’ Distant Guns: The Russo-Japanese War sparked interest, controversy and admiration among connoisseurs of tactical naval gamers. Developers Jim Rose and Norm Koger take their innovative concepts a few steps farther with their examination of World War I naval combat, Jutland. The steps truly cover a large amount of territory.
All the Ships at Sea
Two hallmarks of the Distant Guns series are detailed graphics and extremely well-researched data on craft characteristics. Jutland shows advances in both. The 3D graphics show details down to links of the anchor chains on ships. Damage is depicted as impressively as it was in the first game; even scorch marks from near misses are shown.
The shell cam still allows players to follow single shells on their journey to the enemy. The size and low velocity of large caliber shells make their flight easy to follow; even the geysers caused by misses are impressive.
Discriminating gamers will appreciate the new dynamic environment effects. As battle progresses, shadows will move along with the sun, and the sun’s position will affect firing accuracy. Wind may also shift, causing smoke to obscure targets or clearing it away to allow better shots. Twilight, fog, and rain can all bring on murky visibility. Night action prompts searchlights, star shells and phosphorescent bow waves. Changes in sea states cause waves to rage or calm down. Both dawn and twilight have “rosy fingers.” Stargazers will notice the astronomically correct arraignment of stars at the different dates of the battles in 1916. All of these views can be seen through many pans, tilts and zoom levels; even the mini-maps have five different zooms. Pausing the mouse over any ship toggles the telescope view which brings up a small but detailed picture of the ship, its most important specs as well as course and speed. The binocular view puts players on the bridge or fire control positions.
Jutland’s modeling captures every detail of a ship: hull armor, belt armor, conning tower armor, propulsion and fire control are measured. The impact of each shell and torpedo is gauged minutely against the target. The 2D information shows the building specification of the craft but is dynamic. The impact of German shells on British turrets marks a crucial element in combat, reflecting the superiority of the Kaiser’s shells over the faulty British armor.
As time passes, the time from a ship’s last overhaul is shown as well as its relative efficiency. Combat damage is shown as it occurs, with fires and flooding monitored. Mousing over vital positions like gun mounts shows their condition, ammunition level and reload time. Icons on the right give even more information about general ship condition, navigation and speed status, fire control and condition of all gun and torpedo mounts. The amazing aspect of this modeling is that over 900 craft are covered. From lowly torpedo boats to the innovative seaplane carrier HMS Engadine and the lordly HMS Agincourt, this game provides an impressive amount of information. Added value comes from the inclusion of zeppelins and U-boats. Zeppelins are used for reconnaissance in the campaign game but the U-boats are useful not only for recon but also torpedo attacks. The naval situation in the North Atlantic in 1916 can be seen completely in this game.
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