I have to admit, all the stories of horrible bugs were really bringing me down (I was perusing the forums while installing, which took a while)
The visual complaints are absurd. The game looks beautiful. It took me a half hour sailing out of harbour because I didn't use time compression, so busy was I in looking around at everything in awe. (And yes, I have a nice setup and a lot of recent games, and I do love great graphics. SHIV is the real deal here) Yes, the lack of AA does show up sometimes, but overall, the game looks fantastic. One thing, though - I appreciate them trying to make the harbours look more 'busy' but the fact that all the cranes are moving every which way just looks silly when there aren't even any boats nearby them.
Some people complained of a fuel bug, I haven't noticed it. Fuel use appeared to be very consistant. (I did notice, however, that the crew calls out different speeds than what I order. I think that is just the wrong sound file playing as the speeds appear to be correct)I am using a Gar class boat 1941, and the range isn't what I'm used to from late war SHIII boats, but I don't think that's a bug. I wish the manual would give some info on the boat classes! I have, however, come across the instant battery failure bug. I have yet to experience any looping sound bugs or transparent/2D crewmen.
Weapon systems: I tried to work the radar and couldn't turn it on lol. I know that there was some info on that somewhere on these boards. The gun is pretty bugged with range sometimes. Torps seem to dud a lot less than in SH3 and are more forgiving on angle shots (if you do an impact detonation). I guesstimate on range because I'm terrified of the CTD bug. I also managed to sink myself once, not sure what happened there. The mixup of metric and standard is kind of obnoxious.
Campaign: I love getting news updates and radio dispatches while out at sea, it really adds to the atmostphere. I've only done one patrol, to the marshall islands from pearl harbor in 41' - sadly, I didn't encounter anything but friendly traffic. Oh well, I'm an optimist and I'll chalk it up to the date instead of saying anything is wrong with the campaign. Besides, it was just the first mission. I have to patrol off of Honshu island next =P could be rough.
Overall, I'm enjoying it! I'm looking forward to the first patch. People who complain about bugs in vanilla games now days just don't understand how complicated the system has become. Consoles are much easier to test because they are all identical hardware, and they don't have to deal with windows, which is a real pain in the ***, and can crash on one system and run fine on the next. There are infinite hardware combinations out there. Then when you factor in time constraints and loss of revenue to piracy... well, I guess in my experience I've been happy with game companies' timely response to bugs with patches. Games are such massive, complicated affairs of code, graphics, hardware, business models... the modern bugged release system is hard to avoid.