I don't like the free-to-play business model, and I'm not too big on first-person shooters unless there's something really unique about them (such as Left 4 Dead
And here comes Nintendo with a free-to-play first-person shooter.
It's rare that Nintendo creates a new franchise these days, and Steel Diver
is still rather fresh, having been created in 2011 and not having a true sequel. Sub Wars
is the type of sequel that's really more a totally different experience with some things in common with the predecessor.
Like before, you move your sub by adjusting sliders, and the movement is based on inertia rather than being instantaneous. This means that rather than zipping around at high speed, you instead feel like you're actually moving a heavy vehicle with its own weight and physics. It takes time for the sub to dive, to surface, and to turn, though it's undoubtedly far more nimble than any submarine in real life. Torpedoes take a while to reach their target, so it's not "point and shoot" but instead, you have to take into account the speed of your torpedo and where the player is likely to be when it would reach its target. Players could slow down, reverse course, dive or surface, or turn. However, the slow speed of acceleration for these actions, combined with the slow speed of a torpedo, means that combat is a lot more tactical. Throw in the "masker" which allows you to become invisible for short bursts of time and shake off homing torpedoes, and even more strategies are opened up.
Being developed by Nintendo, this game naturally features some of that Nintendo humor and charm we've come to know. While most of the combat arenas take place in areas you might expect, such as ruins, an underwater cave, a base, and a large lake surrounded by mountains, there are a few "silly" arenas, such as a massive fish tank or swimming pool, or even Japanese hot springs.
So, how about the "free-to-play" aspect? The base game is free, but you are unable to obtain better submarines unless you upgrade to the paid version, which is a one-time fee. You don't have to pay for consumable resources, and there is no waiting. This isn't "pay to win" or "free to wait". Instead, it's basically shareware. I'm impressed. Precious honesty is rare in this business model.