gaming since 1997

Virtual Skipper 3

Boats, big and small. Some with engines, other without, some to row with, others with sails. Everyone has been addicted to some kind of boat once. Yes, you can admit it.
Doing boat races in your bath tub against each other.
Well, it isn’t in your bath tub, but racing with sail yachts is what Virtual Skipper 3 is all about. Yep, racing those big boats and catamaran’s. But does VS3 manage to get to the finish line and collect some prices or will the wind go down and will the game sink graciously as a ship does from time to time ? Time to find out in this review !

The first thing you’ll notice after booting VS3 is that everything looks slick and the details are very well done. You’ll see the sails blowing up because of the wind, the waves bursting on the beaches, the sailers walking over your ship. Everything is worked out up to the smallest detail.
If you for instance give the order to raise the main sail, you’ll see your guys walking over the deck and slowly lift the sail. Beautiful to watch !
However, that’s also one of the main downpoints, all this detail doesn’t happen without having a price. You’ll need a pretty powerful pc. I played the game on a P4 2Ghz with GeForce Ti4200 and even then it managed to slow down from time to time.

Looking beautiful is one thing but how does Virtual Skipper 3 play ? Well, here I have to disappoint everyone. If you know nothing of sailing, the game is extremely difficult. If you do have some knowledge about the matter, you’ll definitely appreciate it and find it handy to increase your sailing techniques.
Since I didn’t know much about things myself, I went out to get someone who’s been doing it for over 6 years already and he guided me through everything. Try to get a huge boat going forward against the wind if you’re a newbie. I sure couldn’t do it.
After about ten lessons and managing the basics, I finally got past the first race. These 5 minutes of the game cost me no less than two weeks.

And that’s exactly the problem Virtual Skipper 3 has. The necessary lessons in sailing are not present. Ok, they’re mentioned in the manual, but having to check it every five minutes isn’t something you’ll like to do. I certainly didn’t. Some in-game lessons could help VS3 to become a bit hit as I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t like playing a realistic game. Too bad they didn’t though, I’m sure the sailsport in general could do well with it.

For the rest the game just looks awesome and the sound is also very good. You’ll hear the wind blow, see helicopters flying over and from time to time you can sail off with a fat storm at sea which always brings forth nice views like boats that turn over and such. Once you’ve managed how to sail, you’ll really enjoy this game.
Another nice thing is that you can adapt your sails to your needs. If you want to go round with a naked lady on your white sheet, that won’t be any problem.

Something interesting is the editor that’s included with the game. Here you can make your own races which you can play against the computer or another human player through internet or lan. This enlarges the playing time of VS3 once you’ve finished the single player mode which already will take you some time as you’ll always be able to get better times on any course and the challenge to do better remains.

Virtual Skipper 3 is graphically a very beautiful game with nice effects and the advantage of an editor with which you can make your own races. Too bad that it’s so difficult to play. It would have been nice to see some in-game lessons.
If you don’t know what is necessary to start sailing (like knowing how to sail against the wind) I wouldn’t suggest buying this game as you won’t have much fun from it. On the other hand, if you’ve been sailing for a long time already, I definitely would suggest getting this as you’ll get an awesome playing time and the urge to go on it again in real life will only increase.

Our Score:
related game: Virtual Skipper 3
posted in: PC, Reviews
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