Really good strategy titles have been hard to come by over the last few years, yes there have been one or two exceptions but it is hard to name any that have really stood out amongst strategy fans on the PC. This is probably the first time we have ever reviewed an Anthology release of a game, mostly because we do separate reviews of each title, but it shames us to say it, but we have never reviewed an American Conquest game before so we are looking at all three of the titles included in the pack.
The New World is ablaze in American Conquest, the newest real-time strategy offering from the makers of Cossacks!
In the year 1492, travel to America as Christopher Columbus and ignite the fire that will fan 300 years of heated battles for land, riches and freedom.
In eight historical campaigns spanning 42 missions, you will play the role of great legends such as Pizarro and Washington, commanding epic real-time battles containing up to 16,000 soldiers.
Harness new technologies, unique weaponry, improved fighting units and the delicate world of diplomacy.
It's simply the most epic, grandiose, absorbing, intense, and detailed RTS experience ever!
Play with fire! Conquer America!
With five new nations, 26 new campaign missions and an entirely new game mode entitled Battles, American Conquest Fight Back guarantees that fans of the original will find the game takes on new dimensions.
The five new nations include the Alaskan Haida, the Russians (fighting for control of Alaska), the Portuguese, the Dutch and, perhaps surprisingly, the Germans. However, as CDV explains, Germany had a deep-seated interest in the fate of North America in early colonial days through its land purchases in that part of South America now covered by Venezuela and its neighbours.
The new game mode gives a fresh perspective to playing American Conquest. In Battles there is no economy, so players can focus entirely on tactics and war formations. There are various objectives in each Battles mission, which are not tied to historical campaigns, using pre-designed maps. Battles mode is designed to test the player's mastery of pure military strategy, with restricted resources to give an added challenge.
The dawn of modern times tore America apart in the arduous wars and battles of the 19th century a great nation began to develop. Mexico and Texas, North and South fought hard and embitttered for domination. Even far beyond the times of occurences themselves the generals and battles are still known.
After the successful add-on "Fight Back", American Conquest - Divided Nation sets forth into a new century.
American Conquest is an isometric real time strategy title based around various wars dated from 1492 to 1865 through the civil war. As the title suggests, you take control of the Americans. The games were all developed by GSC Gameworld and then published by CDV, as the game is based on historic events, you will take part in various battles against the French, Britain, Colonials, Indians and more, it also means that you get real life units based on the time you are playing, so start off with simple pikemen and then gradually play with muskets and cannons. The game is viewed in a 3D isometric layout and while this means the game does look very dated now, it hasn't lost any of the gameplay over the years in any of the games included in this pack.
Starting off with the original game makes a lot of sense. The game takes place between 1492 and the War of Independance in America, this means lots of interesting weapons and some huge armies on show. As usual, each mission starts off with a briefing telling you what to do, while these are ok to begin with, they don't always help you to understand what you are supposed to be doing in the mission which is the whole point of a briefing. The missions tend to take in resource management and tactics it keeps you interested and the end result means you have to think hard and knuckle down to complete each one.
The interface is well done and gives you all of the information you need which is vital when you are battling enemies and need to know how your troops are doing. As i mentioned earlier, GSC have made sure that the games models are as realistic as they possibly can be, this means you have to deal with morale, motivation and choosing the right troops at the right time to turn the tide of the battles. You can also use buildings as defensive positions, this means that you can put troops inside and they get a defense bonus and have a large range of attack.
Overall, as expected American Conquest is a dated, but enjoyable title, it has a good history behind it but it does have some basic flaws that newer real time strategy games have bypassed now.
American Conquest: Fight Back
The first proper sequel to American Conquest is Fight Back and this covers most of the battles that the first game didn't while also introducing some other enemies like the Russians and the Germans. The gameplay is the same as in the original, although this time round you get much larger battles. Graphically American Conquest Fight Back is the same as the original title, which once again isn't too much of a surprise and it also means that the same basic problems the first title shows are still apparent. But lets get back to Fight Back itself, as I have already mentioned, this game has much larger battles, this is mostly due to the enemies you are facing relying on weapons and this means that the destruction and combat is much more showman like than the first title.
Overall once again its a good title with the same niggles the first game had, but as part of this pack and the fact that it
American Conquest: Divided Nation
Now we're onto the last title in the pack and this is the one that has been released this year and sadly this has to be the poorest of the bunch. This one focuses on the encounters the American states had between each other. The reason I rate this title the worst of the pack is because not only was it released this year, it still has all of the engine problems the first two titles had and it also hasn't improved the graphics at all in the game, there were even some occasions when the graphics looked worse in this one than in either of the previous titles.
Putting all that aside for a moment though, the game is still not bad and as part of the 3 pack its good value and will have a lot of entertainment for many real time strategy fans who have not felt the need to keep upgrading their PC's to the latest and best models year after year.
Feel free to comment on the review here.