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Steel Diver 3DS Review (Australian Exclusive) - -

Gameplay 7.8
Graphics 7.0
Sound 6.9
Value 7.5
Distributor: Nintendo
James Wright


Steel Diver

Steel Diver is a 3DS game that you'll either love or hate as it's not your traditional Nintendo style of game and borders more on realism as opposed to arcade cutesy fun. In essence, Steel Diver is a submarine simulator but throws in a few interesting twists and turns like mini-games to make full use of the innovative controls and design of the new Nintendo 3DS console.

The main crux of Steel Diver is the Mission Mode that transforms you into a captain of a submarine as you engage in a variety of different missions. However before jumping straight into the missions, the Steel Diver is given the chance to select their own submarine for their top secret missions and each of these underwater vehicles have their strengths and weaknesses. Spice up the gameplay with a variety of different objectives and a mini-game here and there and Steel Diver is a very interesting option to 3DS gamers. Add in a damage meter for your vessel and strategy is a key part of ensuring victory for the player. However once your health reaches zero, you will need to restart your mission. Discretion is sometimes the better part of valour!

As mentioned, realism plays an important role in this game and best of all, the controls have been flawlessly implemented onto the 3DS that actually make navigating these steel behemoths a joy. With that said, even though the controls are quite simplistic, you use the stylus or your fingers to move two levers for movement. One lever will allow you to submerse or rise, whereas the other lever is used for movement. To add a spanner into the works, you also have a wheel that can be used to tilt your submarine as you attempt to avoid mines, missiles and other underwater nasties. There are also some interesting battles to be had in the game and some of the more powerful underwater vessels will definitely give you a run for your money. The problem with submarines however, is that their mobility is quite limited so you need to use your surrounding environment to assist in this dilemma. It's a clever balance incorporated into the title.

There are also a healthy amount of challenges and puzzles along the way which such as requiring you to clear your underwater path, avoid enemy missiles and attack your enemies. Thankfully the game doesn’t throw you in the deep end (sic) straight away and the first few missions are relatively straight forward but these levels will also either grab you or turn you away. One of my colleagues was given this game to review but after the first few levels, he needed to pass it on, hence the review from me. But for me, it's something a little bit different than your average Nintendo DS or 3DS game and I've spent hours underwater, so to speak, trying to solve these challenges in unique ways as the difficulty does go up through the progression.

The only drawback for me was there were only a handful of missions in this game and even though you can attempt to play them with the other submarines; the replay value of the title will start to wither very fast, unless you're a true perfectionist. However once you have finished the Mission Mode or if you need a break, the game contains another gameplay mode called Periscope which is basically a first person perspective shooter as you attempt to destroy your enemies around you by moving the DS around. It's kind of cool. Finally, there's a multiplayer mode which is basically a turn-based strategy game that unfortunately is a little drawn out but is ideal for those fans of military strategy games.

Finally we have the 3D graphics. Graphically, Steel Diver is a little average in terms of its graphics and even the use of 3D. For a strategy and simulator game, it does look acceptable but I like my games a little bit more graphic intensive as the entire premise had this real Spartan feel to it. For the most part, my 3D slider was turned off in Steel Diver. Sound effects mirror the graphics and are also rather simplistic but I must admit that some of the explosions did sound rather cool such as the whizzing of the torpedos. Music was quite ambient and didn't really compliment the gameplay that dramatically but it was still quite acceptable.

In the end and as mention, Steel Diver is a game you'll either love or hate. As opposed to running out and purchasing it, you might want to test it out first unless you're a fan of simulators and then I would recommend that you run out and buy this title. It's great that Nintendo are supporting other genres than their core games and hopefully Steel Diver will lead to other ventures into uncharted waters as opposed to arcade endeavours. For me, Steel Diver was an addictive experience and was just what I needed in all these 3DS remakes!


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