Empire Interactive tried to produce the complete, definitive Civil War game in 1995 with The Civil War. Unfortunately, although wide in scope and ambition, the actual result was as disastrous as General George Custer's last stand. For starters, the artificial intelligence can be described more accurately as artificial ignorance. In a confusing display of ineptitude, any time battle becomes remotely complex, the computer AI heads south (and I don't mean to the Confederacy).
Functionality of the individually controlled computer units is abysmal and features such anomalies as undefined movement objectives, lack of cohesion in mustering any sort of coordinated attack strategy and sluggish or non-reactive response to enemy troop aggression. A major problem is the lack of a command that allows the player to direct his troops into battle as all too often the only way to attack is to try and occupy the same space as the enemy.
The Civil War is visually quite nice with Gourand shaded battlefields on 3D textured maps. The interface is menu-driven, point-and-click but battles are conducted in real time once tactics and strategies are devised. Lack of response during the battle scenes is another large fault of the engine used in the game. Frustration builds as the program blithely ignores your repeated clicks and efforts to move your forces in a meaningful way. At times it responds, but most of the time you'll spin your wheels trying to get your troops to carry out your orders.
The full campaign, which covers the entire gamut of battles from 1861-1864, is laughably inept. Through repeated playing of the game, one can ascertain that early concentration on the western front with any large degree of success will result in a very short war, one that can actually be won in less than two years at the most. This is due in part to the idiotic operational and strategic levels of the computer artificial intelligence. A savvy player can very easily confuse the enemy when any sort of complex flanking maneuvers are employed. Unfortunately, the AI's reaction becomes so sloppy and troop movement so muddled that disorientation soon sets in.
The game certainly has a grandiose purpose and good intentions but it simply doesn't deliver any real enjoyment in gameplay. Too many glitches in the AI and the controls result in frustration and distaste for the entire operation. The Civil War in some ways reminds you of a previous civil war game published by the designers, Fields of Glory, but, for the most part falls astonishingly short of the mark in comparison.
At the very least, a game about the American Civil War should allow the player to engage in lively, robust and strategically based action against the computer opponent. In this instance, the computer AI fails abysmally to provide sensible, logical or tactically sound responses. With this sort of major fault, the rest of the game's trappings become meaningless. This game should be spiked like the artillery guns at Fort Moultrie.
Graphics: For 3D rendered backgrounds, the game is surprisingly mundane in appearance. On-field representations of troops are uniformly drab and simplistic.
Sound: A nice attempt to infuse the game with period music but not inspiring.
Enjoyment: Too many problems and frustrations just trying to get the program to respond meaningfully. It takes quite a bit of perseverance and stamina to troop through this muddy mess.
Replay Value: Even with the explicitly designed prospect of replay in mind, The Civil War is too frustrating to contemplate playing more than a few times.
The Civil War... could they have thought of a more original name? :) This game, programmed by an Englishman, covers the American Civil War from the years 1861 to 1865. You can play as the North or South, and the object is to take over a certain amount of cities of the opposing side before the war ends. It features both strategic and tactical parts in a turn-based format.
This game has about 45 difficulty levels (9 different "strategy factors" like supply, unit types, fatigue, etc. x 5 realism levels each). However, even with all 9 set to the highest difficulty, the game can be won in a few hours.
People who downloaded Civil War, The (Empire) have also downloaded:
Civil War Generals 2, Blue and The Gray, The, Civilization 2, Battleground 2: Gettysburg, American Civil War: From Sumter To Appomattox, American Civil War: Take Command - Second Manassas, Battleground 4: Shiloh, Battleground 7: Bull Run
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