Has anyone played Cold Waters?
I am sorry for replying so late regarding the midweek sale including "Cold Waters".
Yes, I have and still am playing "Cold Waters" fairly regularily!
The best summary about the game would be an analogy to the old "Red Storm Rising" (as mentioned in the game card). The campaigns are quite similar to the ones in from old game and the overall simulation is leans a little bit to a somewhat arcadey type. Yes, the submarine and its subsystems are simulated in detail, but the controls are more direct (arcade) with direct WASD steering and diving (although, a mouse interface is available, too).
I rarely play the campaigns, though, because I found them rather "static" and kind of "uneventful".
The game offers 17 scenario missions that are accessible from the get go! Those range from surveillance or seek & destroy missions, to surface ship attacks, missile harbor attacks, to different submarine hunts.
If that counts as "skirmish", than the answer to your second question is yes.
If you want something similar in feel to the movie "Hunt for Red October", then "Cold Waters" gets really close!
My main issues with the game are:
- a little bit to demanding on the system requirements (reduced surface and underwater effects/shaders do wonders on this regard)
- The interface is not scaleable nor can you reposition individual HUD elements. (There is the option to hide and popup individual ones, but some elements need to be toggled and can not be displayed at the same time!)
- Gameplay-wise the biggest problem is with the detection system:
it is totally automated (you have only tiny influence on enhancing the sonar results by guessing the sentry's identification according to the signatures and your catalogue of vessels). No manually "searching" like with the hydrophone or radar in "Silent Hunter II" and "Silent Hunter III"!
=> Your crew is in a severe disadvantage against the AI here, and takes much longer to achieve usable firing solutions, even if the enemy vessels are running noisily (loud) with fast speeds!
=> When the enemy is running slow and silent, you have to get really close, and are easily detected and subsequently attacked by the enemy even if you running super silent!
=> Once you gave away your position by emiting a "ping", firing a torpedeo or missile, or cavitating due to speed-depth-corelation, the enemies are literally raining down fire on you!
The uneven detection system is really biased in favor of the AI. Especially, on submarine hunts it often seems that the enemies detection capabilities are not as limited as yours, and the title giving temperature layers (borders of different water temperatures) in certain water depths appera to not hide you, but only the enemies' signatures!
Unfortunately, this unfair behavior was never addressed nor fixed by the developer.
Despite this major flaw, I still do enjoy my time with "Cold Waters"!
And there is not much else available on GOG.com for modern submarine simulations.
I would like to see "Jane's 688i Hunter Killer" or "Sub Command" released here on GOG.com, as well as "Silent Hunter III Gold" or "Aces of the Deep".
P.S.: One thing that I almost forgot is the reliability of your torpedos. I believe the wired torpedos in particular are little too unreliable with respect to their reallife counterparts--meaning their wires break a bit too frequently or the entire torpedo fails too often for my taste.