(Super Nintendo)

Game Review

Uncharted Waters: New Horizons Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Corbie Dillard

As deep as the ocean

Koei released quite an arsenal of strategy titles during the 16-bit era, many of them on the Super Nintendo console. While the original Uncharted Waters laid the foundation, its sequel New Horizons picked up right where it left off and managed to add quite a few new game play ideas to the mix to form one of the most in-depth and unique strategy titles available for the console. But for those expecting a standard RPG experience, you'd better know that New Horizons might look and sound like an RPG, but once you get past these elements you'll find a strategy title that has an almost endless amount of freedom in the way the game can be played.

When you begin the game, you must select one of six characters for your adventure. Each character has a different background and story line, so you can technically enjoy the game from six different perspectives. You'll even meet up with a few of the other characters throughout your adventure as all of their stories are carefully interwoven. Once you've selected your character and you've been given your objective, you must then purchase supplies for your journey, as you'll have to feed your crew if you're to keep them alive and running your ship.

The main gameplay elements in New Horizons are the ocean voyages you'll be constantly embarking on. You'll have to travel from port to port, buying and selling various products in order to turn a profit. You can also earn money by taking on various errands, or you can resort to piracy and attack other ships in order to steal all their money. The choice is yours — and it's this almost unlimited freedom that makes playing the game so much fun.

Just as was the case with the original, the visuals are certainly nothing to get overly excited about. They're actually very reminiscent of the graphics found in such early Super NES RPG releases as Final Fantasy II and Secret of the Stars, but they still get the job done quite nicely. The musical score, while catchy enough early on, tends to get a bit repetitive since you'll be hearing the same basic tune until you're able to reach a different continent. The entire audiovisual experience is fairly basic, especially when compared to some of the more impressive Super Nintendo RPGs, but you'll soon find out that epic soundtracks and flashy visuals aren't what this game is about anyway.

While New Horizons has a very RPG-like feel, it's the strategy elements that take centre stage. The actual battles that take place are carried out in much the same way as they are in other 16-bit era strategy releases. The game even manages to add in a bit more variety by featuring many simulation elements as well, such as having to manage your food supply and maintain your ship. About the only complaint some gamers might have with the experience is that it can be almost too in-depth for those who are expecting a more streamlined RPG experience. However, if you like your games with a lot of real-life characteristics or you're someone who takes pleasure in being able to micro-manage, New Horizons should be right up your alley.

Conclusion

Uncharted Waters: New Horizons is a unique strategy release that takes the standard RPG formula and coats it with many additional layers to form a gripping experience — provided you are willing to take on the many intricacies that come along with it. If you're looking for a more traditional RPG offering then this game might prove to be too much of a handful for you, but it remains a fine strategy title from a company that is so well known for them, and being able to play the game on the Wii U GamePad is yet another plus. Just be aware that intricacy and micro-managing come with the territory.

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User Comments (20)

Shiryu

#1

Shiryu said:

It's probably the only SNES game that lets you play as a Portuguese! (Which I am, in case you didn't know!)

Einherjar

#2

Einherjar said:

I want that game so bad...
Oh well, UW Online needs to fill the hole till then ;)

retro_player_22

#3

retro_player_22 said:

This is definitely one of the better classic strategy game from Koei, sad that there's not more of it.

Morphbug

#5

Morphbug said:

I loved this one.

I was never sure of what I was supposed to do, but I loved it regardless.

Spoony_Tech

#6

Spoony_Tech said:

Wow a corbie review! Didn't see that coming but when will we ever see the Radiant Historia review?

Captain_Gonru

#8

Captain_Gonru said:

@Spoony_Tech Well, he did the review for the Wii Virtual Console release, and since this was a cut-and-paste of that one (with the half-sentence about the Gamepad added to the conclusion), he kinda had to be credited.

Gso

#9

Gso said:

I played this game before. It is too easy to abuse the economy and gambling to become super rich.

Kosmo

#10

Kosmo said:

Woaw, now I wanna see that game in Europe! It sounds just amazing!

FantasiaWHT

#11

FantasiaWHT said:

OMG I love this game! The only problem I had is that if you get too famous, a massive fleet of pirates comes and stalks you and can just slaughter you like you wouldn't believe. If you save at the wrong time it can make the whole game unplayable :(

jsty3105

#12

jsty3105 said:

@nameusage Especially my two favourites, Nobunaga's Ambition II and Bandit Kings of Ancient China, the latter still being the hardest KOEI game of that era.

edhe

#13

edhe said:

I was listening to a VG music podcast today, and they talked about two other KOEI strategy games I think 'ought to be on the Virtual Console - P.T.O II (Pacific Theatre of Operations) and the American Revolutionary War themed "Liberty or Death".

I wonder why KOEI hasn't got these up on the Virtual Console yet - at least on the American VC - they've released Romance of the Three Kingdoms IV so far (and in Europe too!)

drgfl

#14

drgfl said:

Looks cool. I'd love to play a decent RPG, even if I'm not very interested in strategy games.

FineLerv

#15

FineLerv said:

@Shiryu "It's probably the only SNES game that lets you play as a Portuguese! (Which I am, in case you didn't know!)"

I am so addicted to Portuguese chicken! I could eat it every day. :O

Samurai_Goroh

#17

Samurai_Goroh said:

@FineLerv Let me guess, Nando's? Oh, well... The influence of Portugal to world's history goes far beyond grilled chicken and this game seems to be proof of that, being set in the Age of Discovery. Portugal is severely underrated. Looks really cool and I dig the history lesson side of it and all, but it's just not my kind of game, gameplay wise.
And if you like our chicken... boy, you haven't lived till you try our codfish.

Obito_Tennyson

#18

Obito_Tennyson said:

The only good Uncharted game, mainly because it's an RPG rather than an FPS. FPSs are getting too generic now-a-days... There was Wolfenstein, Doom, 007, and Time Splitters... and then rest just looked the same to me... It can't be the fact that I'm tired of FPSs otherwise I would get bored of Time Splitters but I still get back to it here and there... Can't just be me, right?

MadAdam81

#19

MadAdam81 said:

This is my second favourite pirate game after the Sid Meier's Pirates! series, and is my favourite exploration and trading game.
As much as I liked Uncharted Waters online, it doesn't hold a candle to this, and is up there with Civ for awesomeness in strategy.

Kosmo

#20

Kosmo said:

Really complex and overwhelming at the start, but I do love that game. I played as Caitlin, and I love being a pirate, but I didn't realize that'd come with having the whole Spanish Armada at my heels! I now live in fear... And I love it. So enthralling!

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