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Some comments and a referral to a complete review
Published on January 15, 2007 By terpfan1980 In XBOX

Standard disclaimer: if you are seeing this review within the affiliated sites that Stardock propagates the review to then please don't complain that it was published in the wrong place.  Stardock pushes content in their various sites to other affiliated sites.  This article was originally published in the Gaming -> Console Games -> XBOX area of JoeUser.com (which is the proper area for this content).

Please note that I'm not going to bore anyone with a complete review of this game, especially considering that there are other reviews out there, some of which do an excellent job of reviewing the game.  One such review, which I'm linking to a few pictures from, can be found at the Video Game Talk site (VideoGameTalk.com review).  Please check out the review there for a more complete review of the game, rather than just my quick comments here.  Consider my comments here a quick and dirty review that'll help get you interested perhaps, and consider the VGT review a fully fleshed out review that will cover the game in depth.

Amazon.com picture of Civil War: A Nation Divided game box
Box/package artwork linked from Amazon.com

On another site I frequent one of my Xbox Live "friends" noticed that I had been playing The History Channel's Civil War: A Nation Divided throughout the day (a neat feature of Xbox Live if you've not ever used it, you can check what your friends are playing and see if you can join them, or perhaps invite them to play with you if you are playing a game that will accept multiple players {but, I digress...}).  That friend asked for my thoughts on the game, and as I had intended to write up a quick review anyway, well, here I am.

Civil War is much like Call of Duty, I would say 2 not 3, for game play, but more like 3 in that the game plays "on rails" for the most part.  That only makes sense since the game was put out by Activision games, the same games studio/publisher that put out both Call of Duty games (COD2 and COD3).  It obviously uses the same game engines that were already in use for COD2/COD3, and uses the same basic controls.  That's good for gamers that are familiar with COD2/COD3 as the learning curve is much lower for them.

Image linked from Video Games Talk web site
Image linked from Video Game Talk web site

Sum it up for me please:

The pluses: it's the Civil War, you play through historic battles, with interesting (and as historically accurate as the pros at the History Channel were able to produce) cut scenes and intros to the action you'll participate in. You'll play through multiple battles, some for both the North and the South (six historic battles per side in all). You must complete both sets of battles to "finish the war" and you won't get to the last battle until you've completed both North and South full list of battles.

The minuses: you are using weaponry from the Civil War era. You'll spend a lot of the time reloading your musket, or whatever weapon you are using. You'll stand in the open (for the most part) when you do so, and you'll take damage from a soldier on the other side that is doing the same thing. It can be frustrating, but it's not so difficult that you can't get through it.

Some more details:

Some parts of the combat will be by knife, some by rifle, etc. The controls are similar to Call of Duty, but not exactly the same.   For example, pressing the control for "reload" that is used in Call of Duty does nothing in Civil War.

Second image linked over from Video Game Talk site
Image linked from Video Game Talk web site

There's no multiplayer options for the game that I can tell.  It's single player only, and that really kills replay value for the game.  (Something that the VideoGameTalk.com reviewer duly noted and graded harshly on).

There's a LOAD option that seems to make no sense as there is no save option to be found (at least not one that readily stood out to me).

There's a downloadable content option but with nothing out on the Xbox Marketplace to download at this time.  I suppose more battles and other playable content could be produced in the future, and that could add greatly to the value of the game, but there's nothing there at this time.

Oh, I should add that there's secret areas and such to find in the game, but again for the most part the game follows a linear path with set objectives that you'll keep moving towards, even if you have to take the long way around.

Is it worth getting?

I have it out as a Gameznflix.com rental. Since I got through the game (on Easy level) in about 2 days of my game playing (about 4 - 6 hours total), I'd say it's better as a rental than a purchase.  I'm not as harsh on my rating for the game as the reviewer (Mike Flacy) at VideoGameTalk.com.  I can't say it's worth a purchase, but it is worth playing.  I'd say get it as a rental and play through it that way.  True Civil War buffs might want to add the game to their collection for the bonus materials, but I'd recommend looking for bargain pricing, or holding out a while longer as the price is already on the way down.

I may play back through on Normal level before returning it, but would probably not play through the Hard level as playing through the game 3 times just doesn't seem to be worth it to me.  I am however interested in seeing the bonus material on the disc as History Channel produces some of the best historic programming anyone could ever hope to see.

on Jan 15, 2007

Hope that helps someone that is interested in the game decide if it's worth playing/renting, etc.


Reminder, in addition to the standard disclaimer I inserted above -- I've been called a shill in the past (thanks again for those compliments folks!) for games like this.  Again, I'll remind readers that I'm just another lamer gamer, lamer than most in fact.  I buy or rent the games I write about, am not employed by any video game studio, Microsoft, or any corporations that do business for these companies, the stores that sell the games, or anything else that would help to provide me with any income for the words I write.

If you feel my review looks like it was professionally done, then thanks to you.  I strive to publish materials in a way that demonstrates professionalism.  I have formerly worked in the printing industry, later did desktop publishing, and worked with precursors to the HTML language long ago.  I want my materials to look good so that they'll pull readers in and help make the content easier to get through.

If you think I'm making money for my materials then please let me know who has it?!  Again, I'd love to work in the game review industry, but I doubt it would really pay me enough to give up my current day job, which I really, really enjoy.

Thanks again and enjoy the comments (and feel free to add your own if you want).

on Jan 16, 2007
Honestly, do I think you are representing some one else in these reviews... Maybe. With all that has gone on lately with companies getting involved in viral or guerrilla style advertising its hard not to think it.

Now that being said, I don't see what your doing as a problem. As long as people are aware that you may be representing some one else then I think what you are doing is just fine. You write well, take a logical approach to your reviews, and can be entertaining. While I don't always agree with your opinions I do think they are respectable.

If doing this sort of thing is what makes you happy, I say keep going at it.
on Jan 16, 2007

Honestly, do I think you are representing some one else in these reviews... Maybe. With all that has gone on lately with companies getting involved in viral or guerrilla style advertising its hard not to think it.

You can believe that if you want, and lord knows I'd love some extra income for something I do anyway, but it just isn't true.

If I am representing someone else, if I get something for free, whatever, I note the same and then will proceed right on giving the same review I would otherwise I have given.

A long time ago I actually tried to get on the "lists" for receiving promotional materials so I could write reviews of products without making myself go broke (this was a long time ago, as in before Blockbuster and other sites were regularly making games available for rental so the costs of getting games to play was prohibitively high).  The one, and only, producer that I had any success with getting demo/evaluation copies of products from was Konami.  Their press relations department sent me a couple of games to evaluate.   Sadly one of those games was an absolute stinker.  Completely and totally worthless waste of the plastic material used to press the CD.  As a courtesy I sent a copy of the review back to the media relations department that had sent me the disc for review.  I felt awful about not being able to come up with *anything* positive to say about the game, and told them so, but I couldn't say something about the game that wasn't true, and wouldn't just ignore the game either.

In the end I published the review as I wrote it.  I doubt my comments affected that many sales as I'm fairly sure the word of mouth from everywhere else was just as bad as I had written, but then again some of the major print publications at the time were fairly well known for being incredibly soft in their reviews, especially when reviewing products produced by major advertisers.  I don't know that I even saw another review of that product (I suspect it was more like a movie that wasn't screened in advance for reviewers, they knew it was a stinker and didn't send out many copies because of it), but either way I said what I was gonna say all along -- the game stunk, and didn't deserve to have seen the light of day.

Again, I wish I was getting paid for my time in writing these reviews and comments.  I don't though.  The only form of compensation I get is a few points in JU's system and those are spendable exactly no where.  I get to see my blog site show up in the list of busiest blog sites (if I'm lucky), and I get to hold my spot in the list of top users on JU.  That's it.  And even those points, rankings and such, aren't really affected by writing game reviews or commenting about other things I may use or experience.  Most of the points have come from political articles that have cited mini-flame fests among regular commenters here at JU.

I've also gotten points from commenting on other peoples articles and such.  So, again, about that compensation...    if you have something for me, send it my way.  Lord knows I could use the $$.

And before I close, what I'd love to see is several other people (here at JU) writing up some reviews of stuff I might be interested in playing.  Knowing that others hate games, or feel they are wastes of effort is a good start to knowing what to avoid.  There are some definite stinkers out there on the current generation of gaming hardware.  Some absolute stinkers...  avoiding those is always a good thing.

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