If ever a game deserved a 1 out of 10 this would be the game. Based on the 2003 movie Gods and Generals, Gods and Generals the game lacks everything a first person shooter should have...actually what any game should have. Poor graphics, immobilized AI, and some serious messed up technical performance makes this game one of the worst games of all time. On top of all of this, the movie itself was a bust at the box office so any fans looking for this game would be few and far between.
The History Channel attempts to compact the entire Civil War into a few first person missions by outsourcing all development overseas. What the loyal gamer gets is a game generations behind on game play and some serious historical errors in the mission descriptions. A Nation Divided is mediocre at best at trying to allow the player to play some of the major battles of the Civil War. In some ways this game does well in portraying major battles, but then again you are playing this game as if you are fighting in World War 2 and not in the tactical ways of the Civil War. You can play both sides of the war but both campaigns are short and barely give you an enjoyable experience.
The History Channel takes another stab at the Civil War, this time taking a more realistic approach by exploring the raiders and sabotage tactics of the war's most famous guerillas. The concept is excellent and better promotes the run and gun first person shooter that it is. Unfortunately the game's development was once again outsourced so some of the missions get switched up with the mission descriptions. More guns allow for a more realistic experience as you come across more of the single shot high caliber muskets found throughout the war. This is probably the best first person shooter of the Civil War, but if this game type is ever pursued any further it still has a long way to go.
The first real time strategy game to make it onto the list, American Conquest: Divided Nation actually covers early American History from the war of 1812 through the Civil War. The maps and units in the game are highly detailed but confusing controls make it hard to move your units around. Divided Nation also plays like a standard RTS game in that you have to have plenty of on site resources to keep your armies fighting. What makes this game fun is the custom battles you can create and with a large selection of armies to choose from you can wage fictitious wars like Pirates vs Indians, Confederacy vs. The British, and defend the Alamo against the Yankees. It's a very great game that covers a lot in splendid detail and is one of the more recent RTS games featuring the Civil War.
Civil War General is the first in a Sierra series of turn based strategy games based on the Civil War. This was a very simple turn based game featuring the hexagonal honeycomb movements but used them on maps that were rendered in high detail to meet historical accuracy. The campaign becomes very long as you fight the entire Civil War against a formidable AI opponent and you have to learn to place your units in the best position to gain the strongest advantage against the enemy. The game features a lot of reenactment footage that substitutes for battle representations and constant battle reports keep you immersed in the beginning of one very time consuming and fun strategy series.
The sequel to the more popular Sid Meier's Gettysburg continues the great fun of a real time strategy game based on a highly detailed map with more realistic graphics. Antietam! did not improve on too much and continued the same type of short game play that featured a campaign played on alternatives or a chance to play the entire historical battle start to finish. The game length is short, but the replay value of the game was very good.
This is the latest Civil War RTS game on the market as it made its debut in 2006. Take Command has slightly less detailed graphics of games like American Conquest or the Sid Meier's games but gives the player the most realistic RTS experience by giving you command of just a small part of the army through either a brigade command or army commander. Other brigades and armies on the field are controlled by friendly AI as you lead your troops to victory on a battlefield that looks very close to what an actual battlefield would look like. Mods also help with this game to develop other wars and battles throughout history.
From the fife and drum music to the yelling of orders on the battlefield, Sid Meier's Gettysburg! has some of the best sound, looks, and game play of all of the Civil War real time strategy games. It features a campaign of all the engagements of the turning point of the Civil War or the ability to play the entire battle from start to finish with a few alternatives thrown in for good replay measure. It once had a very dedicated online community and there were many mods made for this game. Even though it features only the battle of Gettysburg the game's length is strengthened by some fun replay value.
Surprised to see an NES game make it on the list? Believe it or not, North and South is the first Civil War to be featured on a console and it was one of the most fun games to play as well. This was a turn based game where you could play the CPU or a friend and try to destroy each other by attacking supply routes and enemy units on a map of the U.S. There were two modes of game play where your battles would feature a six man infantry unit, one cannon, and three cavalry and usually you fought the enemy with a large pitfall in the middle of the map with two bridges to get across. The second game type allowed you to play a timed side scrolling mission to capture a train or fort while the other player had about twenty enemies to fight you with. This was not only a very competitive game, but also loads of fun with plenty of quirks and surprises in between. It was based on a European comic based on the Civil War so historical accuracy aside, this made for one very entertaining game.
The impossible is brought to reality with Civil War Generals 2. This game is one amazing feat as it presents to you a fully arranged and historically detailed campaign featuring every facet of the Civil War. Civil War Generals 2 features several campaigns that you can play that cover every theater and every major battle of the Civil War. How this game was put together I will never know, but it has it all. The biggest feature of the game was keeping your armies supplied as you continued through a campaign and you could dismiss or promote generals you liked. The generals also had the unfortunate circumstance to be wounded or killed during a battle so you had to be careful as you planned your attacks. Civil War Generals 2 is a turn based hexagon game like its predecessor but with so many detailed features it truly ranks among the best of all of the Civil War games ever made. Custom battles allowed you to create some very huge engagements and a supplement to the game gave a very descriptive and informative lesson about the entire Civil War. This game was not only an immersive and awesome game to play but also gave you one heck of an education about the Civil War.
Attempts at a first person Civil War game have not been truly successful due to poor development and an imbalance of entertainment value over the educational value. The real time strategy attempts to provide a creative and fully educational game have been highly successful at providing war hardened Civil War buffs accurate and detailed battlefield maps, detailed unit information on actual armies in the war, and hours of enjoyable gaming. The Civil War has some historically rendered bad apples, but it is probably the most fully explored war in video gaming that is second only to World War Two. One day a non-strategy Civil War game could come out that will do some justice, but in the meantime you can definitely settle on some of these amazing RTS and turn based Civil War games.
List by DandyQuackShot (06/22/2009)
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