Posted – 6.30.2008
FPS’s are big business and the History Channel has found a way to enter the market by providing its name, and its research, to break in with guns blasting. Civil War throws the player into two campaigns, the federalist North and the secessionist South, as they fight as random soldiers in key battles pursuing objectives that range from seizing enemy cannons to holding a bridge against all odds. As fascinating as the History Channel’s programs can be, the game falls far short in comparison to its peers.
The graphics aren’t bad and the History Channel provides expert narration in between the major battles by dropping in a few facts to keep things interesting, but don’t expect this to pass for anything more than entertainment. It won’t cut players any slack, either, when it comes to the period pieces that make up the arsenal of freedom for either side. Flintlock rifles, six shooter pistols, and swords are all that you have to work with so don’t be surprised when reloading requires you to wait as you ram powder and ammo down a barrel while an enemy takes aim. The game does bend history a bit, though, by allowing you to carry weapons that weren’t standard issue to every soldier on the field in the day, such as a repeating rifle with a scope.
While it looks good and does make an attempt to deliver a unique experience with its setting, the game suffers because everything else just isn’t all that great. Subpar voice acting fills most every line, rifles that fire lead balls are uncannily accurate at long range which dampens some of the realism, the AI is dirt stupid, and the short missions mean that you can have this title finished in an afternoon.
Much of the title’s ease is likely because of the embarassingly dense lead filling the head of each enemy. I’ve seen soldiers run into obstacles on the field and then continue to run in place, turn into a wall and stand there, or simply stay where they are and keep shooting at you while waiting for the shot that will take them out. The criminally short title also makes this more of a rental than as something you might want to part money with at retail, and multiplayer just shouldn’t exist because there seems to be no one out there playing this.
Civil War is good for a few hours of fun if you’re bored and simply want even more achievements to add to your gamerscore. But you are probably going to have a lot more fun…as well as learn something more worthwhile…by simply watching the History Channel instead.
– World 1-1