SHIV has its roots in hardcore simulation, but this entry in the long running Silent Hunter series also includes plenty of features and options to make the game more accessible to new players. The player takes the role of a submarine commander in the Pacific theater, and as such does not actually ever need to take direct control over any aspect of the ship. Giving orders is the key, and understanding the capabilities and limits of each boat is critical. Can a early-war Gar-class boat dive beyond 90m? Well it better, because there is a Japanese destroyer dropping depth charges and it looks angry.
The player can choose to take direct control if he wishes, either by manning each station in a faithful fully-3D recreation or by using the games simplified (for the series) UI system. The player can choose dive depth by cranking levers, man the quad-AA gun to fight off dive bombing Zeros, or manually tweak each torpedo to ensure good kill.
Crew management is also key, each man is modeled down to the lowliest deck scrubber. As crewman complete patrols and take part in action, they earn experience and can gain new skills such as the ability to work in the engine room or man the torpedo bays. A careful commander always chooses the best crewman for the job, and the right man in the right place can be the difference between plugging a leak or laying at the bottom of the ocean waiting for the oxygen to run out.
The wide array of difficulty options and assists makes the game fun for the dive-hard and newbies alike. Options include how much damage the sub can take, auto calculating torpedo shots (this is a must for new players), and even whether or not to allow the player to use the external view cameras. Of course the hardcore can always turn all these assists off, as their is nothing quite as ominous as being 100 meters under the Pacific and hearing the tell-tale PING of a destroyer's sonar getting louder without having any idea where it is coming from.
SHIV is a definite, if incremental, graphical improvement over previous games. Water is now realistically transparent and watching a sub glide silently 20 feet under the waves is a beautiful thing. Additions in smoke and particle effects help make the explosions more satisfying, and reflections off the water (a big deal when 99% of the game takes place in open ocean) are quite realistic. The subs, as always, are meticulously modeled, as are the all the other craft in the game.
Silent Hunter IV includes 3 single player modes: career, single war patrol and single battle. Single battles let the player take part in actual naval battles in the Pacific theater, such as Midway and Guadalcanal. Famous ships like the Enterprise, Shokaku, and Yamamoto are all faithfully recreated and can be found (and destroyed) in the course of battle. In addition to single battles, there is an option for a single war patrol. This is a middle ground between the long dynamic campaigns and the short, set-piece single battles. A single war patrol simulates just what it says, where a sub leaves its dock and completes one full war patrol, usually lasting weeks at a time.
However, the real meat of the game is in the campaign. Starting at the beginning of the war, the player is tasked with conducting combat patrols and completing assignments given by fleet command until the ship is sunk or the war is over. Missions range from patrolling a set area to dropping off special forces teams to sneaking in to Japanese harbors and gathering intelligence. By completing objectives and sinking enemy ships, the player earns renown (the games currency) which can be used to purchase more skilled officers, new equipment, and new subs as they become available.
The game is set during World War II in the Pacific theatre. The player can control a number of submarines such as:
- Balao class
- Gato class
- Salmon class
- Sargo class
- Tambor class
- United States Porpoise class
- United States S class
Silent Hunter 4 was the first game in the series to feature an online multiplayer mode which supported up to eight players.
Supported OS: Windows XP/Vista (only)
Processor: 2 GHz Pentium 4 or AMD Athlon (3 GHz Pentium o r AMD Athlon recommended)
Ram: 1 GB (2 GB recommended)
Video Card: 128 MB RAM DirectX 9-compliant video card capable of rendering Pixel Shader 2.0 (256 MB RAM recommended) (see supported list*)
Sound Card: DirectX 9-compliant sound card
DirectX Version: DirectX 9 (included on disk)
DVD-ROM: 4x or faster DVD drive
Hard Drive Space: 6 GB
Multiplay: 128 Kbps upstream or faster (512 Kbps upstream or faster needed to host online games)
Supported Video Cards at Time of Release:
ATI Radeon 9600/9700/9800, X300 to X850, X1300 to X1800
nVidia GeForce 6200/6600/6800/7800
Laptop versions of these card may work but are NOT supported. These chipsets are the only ones that will run this game. Additional chipsets may be supported after release. For and up-to-date list of supported chipsets, video cards, and operating systems, please visit the FAQ for this game on our support website at:
Notice: This game contains technology intended to prevent copying that may conflict with some disk and virtual drives.