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 Uncharted Waters: New Horizons might look and sound like an RPG, but once you get past these few RPG 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, not to mention 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 and such a tailor-made experience.
While many of the game play elements in New Horizons have a very RPG-like feel to them, it's the strategy elements that take center stage in the game. The actual battles that take place are carried out much the same way 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 some who are expecting a more streamlined RPG experience. But if you like your games with a lot of real-life characteristics or you're someone who takes pleasure in being able to micromanage, New Horizons should be right up your alley.
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 visuals 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, at which time you'll finally be treated to a new musical track. The entire audio/visual experience is fairly basic, especially when compared to some of the more impressive Super Nintendo RPG musical scores, but you'll soon find out that epic soundtracks and flashy visuals aren't what this game is about anyway.
Uncharted Waters: New Horizons is a very unique strategy release for the Super Nintendo console that takes the standard RPG formula and coats it with many layers of additional strategy and simulation game play elements to form a very unique playing experience for those who are willing to take on the many intricacies that come along with it. But if you're looking for a more traditional RPG experience, this game might prove to be too much of a handful for you. Either way, it's still a great strategy title from a company that is so well known for them.
I have so many memory of playing this on zsnes as a kid. Its great I finnaly have a chance to own this awesome game for the Wii.
This actually sounds quite interesting from the review. But the micromanagement side of things puts me off. Some of the overworld shots remind me of civilization, which is what I originally though of when reading the game description about getting around on an Earth-like map. Like I said, sounds like an interesting game, but the RPG games always require such a time commitment that, sadly, I'll have to pass.
Edit: did the screenshots change? Haha they are randomly generated I think. Thats a nice touch.
Great review Corbie!!
I may have to pick this up when I run out of other games to play. Now that I think about it the visuals sort of remind me of Zelda: A Link to the Past.
For me, this is when the VC really pays off. This is easily one of my favorite games ever. Good write up C.
Sounds awesome. I might get it when I get a points card. But it all depends when Majora's Mask, Smash Bros, Cave Story, and Swords and Soldiers come out, because they are my main concern.
Does the manual provided with the puirchase actually explain all you need to know? I remember the Romance of the Three kingdoms 4 one not doing so being a big complaint (to be fair this probably isn't as complicated as that game).
Either way, this is one Koei title I hope makes it across the oceans to the old world
I'll definitely give this a try, thanks for convincing me Corb
It sucks how I've been waiting for this to come out for quite a while and I don't have enough points to get it... In any case, I'm really happy to see this get a well-written review. I'm itching to get this game.
Starwolf...I downloaded the game but haven't had a chance to review the docs...however here is a link to the first Uncharted Waters manual...something have changed but I imagine it's mostly the same.
Wait a sec, it says this is two player...What's that like?
To anyone who played it, how does it compare to Romance of the Three Kingdoms?
This was one of those games back in the day that surprised me. I thought I was getting a standard RPG, instead I got a strategy game with enough playability to last a lifetime.
This is why I love the VC. I can't explain what it is, but I tried to get into the game multiple times over the years because it looked pretty neat, but could never manage to have interest last past the first town.
Now that I've boughten and downloaded it, I've already logged in a couple solid hours and am hooked.
I really want to download this game. As tempted as I am, I'm still not sure if this is the type of game for me. I did some research on YouTube but the videos make the game seem overwhelmingly difficult and complex. I figured since I enjoyed Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen this might be a similarly enjoyable experience.
It is overwhelmingly difficult and complex at first. Heck, the first four months of my in-game time was trying to make money and failing. I ended up having to restart because I mismanaged my supplies. But it has it's charm, and I ended up liking quite a bit after that rough start.
Wolf, while the game is complex and takes a while to figure out, once you do figure it out you'll be hooked. If the game only had one character and one storyline it would be deep enough but they give you six! By the time you are done with two of the storylines you'll be an old salt and be prepared for the remaining four. It's deep, complex, and a very rewarding adventure.
I remember this game from when I was a kid. I was a really little kid when I first played it. And it was on floppy discs and ran under DOS.
Later when I was teen this was the first game I hacked. Just with a hex editor making changes to characters values and ship capacities and playing around with things like that. Just simple hacking.
Recently I got this game out again and used Dosbox to play it on Windows. It won't play on Windows without Dosbox to emulate the old DOS.
But anyhow I still enjoyed playing it...even with horrible graphics. It has a unique kind of gameplay like the reviewer mentioned that makes it enduring. Seems I can always go into this game and have a different experience. Not just by choosing the different characters (and yeah I even played Catalina the pirate chick), but also by defecting from one king to another, or being a pirate instead of a trader, and stuff like that.
One thing that was fun was when I changed all the hex codes so images of the waitresses and other chicks were my mates under Catalina...turned it into a chick crew instead.
Thinking back on this I really did have fun with this game...and not just playing it, but messing around with the hacks too.
Now if I could only read Japanese so I could play that Uncharted Waters 4, I would really go for that.
Strange that this wasn't released on the EUR VC too, never heard of it before. Maybe we get the chance this time on the WiiU VC.
I have the PC CD-ROM "Special Edition" version of this game, and it's still a game I pick up and play occasionally. Haven't played the SNES version, but if it's largely the same, it's worth getting.
What I found most interesting about this game is that the in-game music for both Uncharted Waters and this sequel were all done by Yoko Kanno. The Special Edition includes some great full-length instrumental music tracks that really showcase what she was going for in the games.
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