I want to start off this review with a question. Why hasn’t there been more Civil War titles made in recent years? The question has plagued many people’s minds over time, as we have seen countless games made for WWII and many other wars, but for some reason the Civil War seems forgotten. Some have said this is because of the lack of weaponry that would make for a rather slow and boring game to play, and others say there is a lack of interest in the war itself. Whatever the case, there hasn’t been much justice done to the Civil War and now the hope lies within this latest game from Activision entitled The History Channel Civil War, a game that tries to give some historic value to the action on screen. How does this latest shooter hold up? Read our full review to find out!
It wasn’t very long before I heard about this Civil War title that the game was released during the busiest gaming time of the year, the holiday season. Civil War was one of those titles that actually got some hype, mainly because it was trying to be a lot more unique than many other games of this holiday. The big question for many though was The History Channel name going to go hand and hand with a solid video game.
One of the interesting sides to the game comes at the very beginning of the career mode, where you get to play as both the Union and the Confederacy. This on paper seems like it would be a bit difference in the way the two side conduct their affairs, but in reality they both play the same. Either way you have a handful of real battles to take part in on both sides of the game, which if you’re a history buff, you will definitely appreciate.
The one positive thing I have to say about the gameplay, is that it does do a nice job of trying to vary up all the missions keeping you from doing the same thing over and over again. To build upon this idea, you can see that they tried to get Historical Accuracy as much as possible with this game, and that goes hand in hand with the weaponry, which is one of the big reasons the Civil War has been left alone. As you have probably seen in many Civil War movies, the guns of that day were much less accurate and held much less ammunition. Along with that you had some seriously long reloading times. This is portrayed somewhat realistically in the game, and is something that you do have to get accustomed to.
Now this reloading wouldn’t be so much of a problem if the game played properly. One of the biggest issues with this game is the AI, which is beyond senseless. Reloading won’t get you killed, mainly because the enemies never try to take advantage of that, and even if they do you can take so much damage that it won’t matter. The AI will often just stand there leaving you with the feeling that they just want to be put out of their misery. The gameplay is just an utter disappointment, because you can see a lot of underlying ideas that work, but the gameplay feels dated, and much too lightweight.
There is just so much more that could have been done with this game to have made it better. The AI is just much too poor to even slightly begin to appreciate the gameplay. And finally to make matters worse, one of the appeals to a Civil War game would be the massive amount of troops, which is also not present and makes this whole experience one that often feels unfinished.
Visually I have to say that the same things we were saying about the gameplay apply to the visuals. You have a game that on paper sounds great, but the final result is nothing to write home about. To sum up the visuals would be best by stating they are stale, lacking any sort of originality or style that could have really helped this game. You have character models which are missing detail, animations which are dry, and a game that doesn’t flow like a game on the Xbox 360 should flow.
I am a history buff, and I have always found the civil war fascinated, and with all that being said I still did not enjoy this game. There was the initial enjoyment of the reloading, and the fact that I was playing a Civil War game, but after ten minutes of playtime you could easily see what road this game was headed on. There are times in Civil War where you just wonder why some of these things weren’t smoothed out. You also wonder why more wasn’t attempted with this game, as it had little competition in terms of olden day shooters and really had plenty of ways they could have taken this game, all of which would have been better then the final results of this title.
In the end, there are very few positive comments you can have with The History Channel’s Civil War, as it is a game full of disappointment. Even if you are a big Civil War fan, I would recommend just staying away from this game and enjoying many of the other great 360 titles of the holidays, as this game just doesn’t have enough to keep you entertained for long.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.