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Hard a starboard! Cannons ready! Fire!
Nautical buffs who like the idea of venturing into the glory days of the 18th and 19th centuries and then blowing stuff up would be well advised to take a closer look at Age of Sail II. It improves on a number of features of the original Age of Sail and proves to be an enjoyable slice of maritime action and strategy. As before, this one is set in the years between 1775 and 1820 and focuses on intense combat between mighty ships but which requires a lot of clever tactical thinking. There are six campaigns here, which revolve mostly around the Napoleonic War or the Revolutionary War, while there are also over one hundred historical sea battles to recreate. Battles see you in command of several vessels and you'll issue commands to them simultaneously, and which includes things like crew roles, firing orders and ship positions. Everything plays out in real time, so there's a great deal of tension and pressure on you and which really adds to the immersion. Improvements over the original include much better 3D visuals, new environmental effects, more detailed coastal features, and a huge number of ships to control. As far as pure naval combat goes, this is about as good as it gets. There's a huge amount of detail on offer here and you're really thrust into the action thanks to the impressive graphics. There's always something to keep you busy and juggling all your ship while keeping an eye on the battle is a challenging but always enjoyable affair. The extensive campaigns and missions will keep you going for some time, so if you have any interest in maritime combat, you should pick this up.