War in the Pacific
Wolves of the Pacific is generally a harder game than Silent Hunter III was. It's not especially difficult, but the player needs some time to get acquainted with the AI's nuances (read: cheats) before returning to 100,000 ton sorties.
The first thing to master, however, are the American boats. Compared with the nimble and ubiquitous Type VII class U-boats of the Kriegsmarine, American submarines are big, long, fat, heavy, and ungainly. Diving speeds, especially initial dives, are atrocious. Forget about diving away from an aircraft that has spotted you the same time you've spotted it. Just grit your teeth and man the AA guns! By the time the submarine has finally made it under the surface, it could have sustained two or three attacks from the same aircraft. Turning radius is also poor, and dive depths are not as excellent as the German boats. However, American submarines do have great range and a good number of torpedoes to them. From as early as 1941, it's possible to get a sub with six forward torpedo tubes and four rear ones. Popping up in the middle of a Japanese carrier task force may be hair-raising, but it's also certainly rewarding with that much firepower at hand!
American subs available are the S-18, S-42, Salmon, Porpoise, Tambor, Gar, Gato, and Balao classes. Sadly, a personal favorite from Silent Service II – the oddball Narwhal – didn't make the cut, despite its giant twin 6” guns mounted on the fore deck. In general, this is actually one of the small problems with the game – there isn't that much variety to American designs. Other than early models not having stern tubes or being limited to 4 tubes up front, American subs are more or less identical to each other. Sure, they dive deeper as the war goes on, but that's pretty much it. Even the torpedo choices are rather boring, and the renown costs for basic electric torpedoes are ridiculous! The Mk 18 electric torpedo, whose German equivalent was free, costs 500 renown in Wolves of the Pacific, all because it's the only torpedo that doesn't leave a wake of steam. 500 renown is more than a typical patrol earns.
Once the player has a grasp of American subs and their primary weaknesses – steam powered torpedoes and poor maneuverability – it's a matter of simply adjusting tactics. The AI will make a beeline straight for the firing location. It doesn't matter if it's a moonless night and no one was there to see the torpedo's wake, the AI destroyers automatically know where the last shot was fired and the player must evacuate the area. Diving deep under the thermal layer, changing direction and hitting the engines are the first steps. If the convoy or task force slows down, another attack run can be made from a different location.
One of the thrills of fighting in the Pacific is the much higher likelihood of running into a task force. The escorts will be numerous, as will the screen of cruisers, but deep down in the center of the task force is likely to be one or more deliciously crunchy aircraft carriers or battleships. The force will be moving quickly, though not at flank speed as they were in Silent Hunter III. Usually the player will have only one shot at it, so picking his spot and shots correctly are vital.
Convoys are also present from the start of the war. Independent merchant shipping exists of course but the likelihood of running into a convoy is quite high. Understanding the way to elude escorts is obviously of the highest importance then, and can be frustrating until it becomes clear that the AI has a homing sensor to wherever the last shot was fired.