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Video Game
Silent Hunter III
NA Windows Edition
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Source: Wikipedia, "Silent Hunter III", available under the CC-BY-SA License.

Silent Hunter III is a submarine simulation developed by Ubisoft Romania and published by Ubisoft. It was released for the PC on March 15, 2005. Like Silent Hunter II, it places the player in command of a German U-Boat during World War II and the Second Battle of the Atlantic. It sought to address many of the complaints leveled against its predecessor, specifically the lack of a dynamic campaign.

Silent Hunter III features a fully dynamic campaign. Instead of giving the player a specific set of objectives for each mission, Silent Hunter III simply assigns the player a certain patrol grid, and appropriate naval traffic, such as convoys, destroyer escorts, and task forces are automatically generated by the simulation engine. How the mission proceeds and what targets are attacked is left totally up to the player. In addition to being a more accurate representation of WWII U-Boat warfare, the dynamic campaign significantly improves the game's replay value, as the campaign plays out differently each time.

A stated goal of the developer was to fully immerse the player. The game featured a fully 3D U-Boat control room, allowing the player the freedom to move about the interior of the submarine. Unlike other submarine simulations, where the crew is often heard but not seen, Silent Hunter III allows the player to see and interact with crewmembers. The game also tracks the stats of individual crewmembers, such as rank, experience, morale, and decorations, between missions.

In addition, the game provides ten historical single-player missions. These include saving the Bismarck, sinking the Royal Oak in Scapa Flow, attacking a task force as the first Type XXI U-boat, and passing through the Straits of Gibraltar (in a nod to Das Boot, the player commands U-96 in the Gibraltar mission).

Players can upgrade their U-boat's anti-aircraft gun(s), deck gun, diesel engines, batteries, radar, and sonar, and install special features such as a radar detector and anti-radar and -sonar coatings. Many different enemy vessels and aircraft are included.

While the dynamic campaign goes a long way to addressing the criticisms of the previous Silent Hunter titles, some gameplay issues still remain such as destroyers/escorts depth-charging at slow speeds, which in real life would normally result in critical damage to the destroyer. The Starforce copyright protection used for Silent Hunter III has also been criticized for installing incompatible device drivers.

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