Virtual Skipper 4
For all those persons out there who either
love to race yachts or would love to but cannot afford a boat here is
the game to help. Virtual Skipper 4 allows the gamer to take the helm of
4 different classes of yachts and the ability to race in places such as
Sydney Harbour, Marseilles or Rio de Janeriro.
Virtual Skipper 4 is one of those simulation games that will appeal to
those of us who are attracted to yacht racing so it will mainly appeal
to a niche market as opposed to the mass market. If you happen to be
amongst those interested in this type of game you will not be
disappointed. What strikes you most is the level of detail to make the
experience quite life like but fortunately without the seasickness and
the hefty price of owning a yacht.
game play itself allows you to chose the level of complexity from arcade
level through to full simulation. The difference being in arcade level
the trimming of sails is done automatically for you, the race course is
well marked and easier to navigate, and the full sailing rules are not
applied which means a reduction in potential penalties.
mentioned earlier there a four different classes of yachts to chose
from. America’s Cup Class, Melges (mono-hull, 7.5 metres),
Offshore (mono-hull, 13 m) and the Open 60 Trimaran dubbed
as the F1 of the sea. You are able to take a tutorial to familiarize
yourself with controlling these yachts, understanding the
instrumentation, the way boats react to sailing in wind and most
importantly how to navigate using the plethora of views available.
you are ready to get a little more serious and take on a few challenges
you can try out the Campaign scenario. Here you have half a dozen or so
races at each of the 12 different seascapes with different yacht
classes. You will be presented with differing wind and wave conditions
and also the times of the day are varied with some race times starting
at night time. To top it off, you will sometimes have a fleet race with
4 yachts competing or just a tactical head to head race with one other
boat and sometimes against the clock. In order to progress you must
either win or pass the minimum time requirements.
the grounding you get through the campaign mode you are then able to
build your own custom race course, set the location, the wind direction,
the waves and then challenge other virtual skipper’s to a race. It
appears the most of the following for this title is in Europe so you
will be faced with Italian, French or Spanish competition in all
likelihood. From my brief investigation into the online scene, there
appears to be a virtual America’s Cup regatta being staged plus numerous
other little regattas being organized by individuals that are accessible
if you have a decent internet connection.
Graphically this game played at its highest possible resolution won’t
disappoint. It looks superb. The yachts, the waves movement and sounds
of the wind make the experience really lifelike. Probably the only small
drawback is that the sailors on board the yacht don’t always appear to
be grasping whatever they are holding onto, either the helm or coffee
grinders. Generally speaking you won’t take any notice of it because you
are too busy watching for the wind, your course not to mention the rival
yachts. What makes it superior to actual real-life sailing is that you
can quickly change views from being on board, to satellite like view
from atop and all 360 degrees. You are not confined to just the view you
would get steering the boat which is a great advantage and makes it more
easy on the eye to appreciate the details the programmers have put into
Soundwise, you are in a sailing game and you get the sounds that are
associated with that. The breeze coming across the sea, the sails
flapping when they are not trimmed correctly, the clanging of the sails
against the mast.
alluded to earlier this is a game that will appeal to a certain type of
gamer interested in this type of sport but if you are into yachting you
will be love it. Overall a superb simulation that is both a challenge
and a learning experience.