|System: PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Outerlight||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Merscom||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: April 9, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-32||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Cole Smith
May 8, 2007 - With a name like The Ship, what do you think this game is all about? If I had not heard the preview, I would have dismissed this as some micromanagement-heavy, war game sim. Personally I don't know what title I would use, but I know that I would definitely label it fun.
The Ship is an amalgam. It combines gameplay genres in satisfying and entertaining ways. Whereas many games that incorporate multiple genres end up as generic experiments gone wrong, The Ship not only manages to keep from sinking, but sets sails for the high seas of adventure. This is one seriously imaginative game. While certain elements may remind you of other popular games, The Ship manages to combine these elements to create a unique concept in gaming.
Essentially a murder mystery, The Ship combines elements of the whodunnit classic board game Clue with shooter elements, in addition to some personal management features not unlike The Sims. There's lots of action, tasks, strategy, and laughs to be had. You can play with others online or offline with bots. Each mode has its own good and bad points, but the good points outweigh bad. If you're looking for a refreshing change of gameplay, then I think your ship may have just come in.
Each new game takes place on a different ship. You start out on a tugboat and progress to a huge luxury liner. You'll receive a map of each ship which will indicate where the cabins, corridors, various rooms, and of course, weapons are located. It's a good idea to get familiar with the layouts when you go online since you'll be competing with gamers that know the ships like the back of their hand. In each game, you're given the task of hunting down and killing a particular passenger. The information about that character will appear on the map. You'll have to do some groundwork of your own since the game doesn't just hand the character over to you. Using photos and positions on the map, you'll have to wander around and track them down.
Using anything handy to kill your victim such as an umbrella, a golf club, candlestick, blunderbuss, wrench, rolling pin, or exploding wallet, you have to keep your plan a secret and not get caught in the act. This requires that you keep away from the security guards and cameras. Don't let them see you with a weapon in your hands, and don't get caught killing your mark. As tempting as it may be, make sure that you don't kill any innocent bystanders. Especially other online players. Not only will you get fined, but you can be booted out of the game indefinitely if you're a repeat offender.
When you get caught killing another player, you will spend some time in jail and also face a stiff fine. You receive money for each successful kill and the character with the most money at the end of the game is the winner. So you have to hang on to your cash. You will also need the money to purchase things such as food and drinks, in addition to using some of it for bribes so the security guards don't turn you in. You'll get more money for using more difficult and different weapons. In this way, the game encourages variety.
You'll also want to make sure you don't kill your own character. That's why you'll have to attend to some personal micromanagement issues such as eating, sleeping, going to the toilet, and social interaction to keep from going stir crazy. Fail to pay attention to these demands, and you run the risk of injuring or even killing your character. These demands are not annoying; rather, they add a lot of fun and depth to the game. Especially when you consider that you're also being hunted and that performing even the simplest of micromanagement tasks such as taking a pee, can leave you vulnerable to attack.