There was an FPS, released all the way back in 2013, called Receiver, that found an incredible new way of making shooting in videogames engaging. We’re used to just aiming and pressing a button – it’s almost casual. But in Receiver, you had to operate every single element of your gun, pressing separate keys to eject the magazine, refill it with bullets, slot it back in, rack the slide, disengage the safety, cock the hammer, and then fire. All of a sudden, this most common of videogame acts had substance, richness, meaning. A new RTS game, published by Microprose, that feels like a blend of War Thunder, Command and Conquer, and – of all things – Microsoft Flight Simulator, potentially achieves something similar. With a hyper fixation on detail and the entire world map to fly, sail, and fight over, this could be something very special indeed.
This is Sea Power: Naval Combat in the Missile Age. Set during the hottest era of the Cold War, it puts you behind the controls of more than 50 battleships and submarines, and 30 different aircraft. A combination of RTS game and simulation, developer Triassic Games AB has modeled every component of every vehicle down to the finest details. Weapons, for example, depend on a range of systems and subsystems that you need to operate and manage. If you’re using radar, it will be affected by ground clutter, weather interference, and other real-world factors. While the real-time-strategy element allows you to issue high-level orders to your troops, the simulation component is fastidiously accurate.
Everything can be scaled – if you want to simplify the controls, you can, but you can also incorporate forensic real-world events like weapon malfunctions and sensor failures – and the flying and sailing systems use an advanced physics engine to make them feel true. Originally designed as a bombing simulator, Sea Power was created with a streaming terrain engine which has now been adapted to a map of the whole world.
There are pre-made, historical scenarios, and a campaign based on a theoretical conflict between the USA and the USSR, but you can stage battles literally anywhere on Earth using the custom mission builder. Ambitious, detailed, and rigorously true to real life, we’re still waiting on a release date for Sea Power, but you can wishlist the game right here.