With more and more publishers claiming that you have to have wide market appeal to be profitable, retail, niche targeting games are becoming far less prevalent. There is one section of the market that apparently hasn’t heard this and continues to release niche game after niche game to reasonable success: simulation games. Ship Simulator Extremes Collection is for all you boat fanatics out there and it wants you to pilot ships through the most extreme conditions on the seas.
The first thing you’ll notice as you navigate the clunky menus to find the helm of your mighty ship is that the visual fidelity of this game is low. The boats look fine from the default, pulled back view, but once you try and actually take the helm or use the free ship roam feature the complete lack of detailed textures is painfully apparent. The environments may be large, but there is so little going on in the background and buildings and foliage are practically cardboard cutouts that the lack of detail seems less like a technical issue and more like a lack of effort.
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to pilot a cruise ship through a channel and into the open sea, you’ll certainly experience that here. Yes, all that slowly piloting decent looking cruise ship through low resolution environments at a fast speed that from the ships immense size feels like a slow crawl all while make slight, single degree changes in the steering wheel to avoid hitting land and other ships. If that sounds appealing to you, chances are you probably bought this game when it came out and already have the downloadable content that is included in this collection.
For $38.99 you too can have an indescribable amount of content that puts you at the helm of types of ships I didn’t even know existed. The “extremes” portion of the title is a bit misleading. There are a few missions that put you through some rough weather, but this is a sim so those disaster movie-esque conditions I was thinking of are nowhere to be seen. The first set of missions the game tasks you with do put you in the shoes of Greenpeace out to stop all of the pollution and they get increasingly less exciting after that.
In an attempt to find where the DLC went, I managed to find a pretty ineffective tutorial buried in the menus, but for anyone just starting up and clicking on the campaign button I hope you enjoy spinning wheels and moving levers for some awesome trial and error action as you steer your boat into docks. Not docking, mind you, just driving right into the dock because docking is incredibly difficult, especially when you have absolutely no idea what buttons do.
There’s nothing innately wrong with Ship Simulator Extremes Collection, but even in the pantheon of boat simulation games, this feels like its the budget title. I have absolutely know idea how crowded the marketplace is for boat games, but if you’re in the market for a game that replicates things that people in real life can’t seem to do right, then this game is certainly a thing that you can buy.