Matt Keller
18 Oct, 2005

American Conquest: Divided Nation Preview

PC Preview | The Confederacy will rise again!
Have you ever sat in front of your PC and wondered why there are never any RTS games that let you play the Texan War of Independence? No? Us neither. Nonetheless, CDV and GSC Gameworld have teamed up to bring us American Conquest: Divided Nation, the sequel to 2003’s American Conquest (which was well received by critics, despite an almost non-existent release in Australia), which let you lead the fight in the American War of Independence.

American Conquest: Divided Nation moves forward in the timeline to the period after the War of Independence, where tensions within the United States and its neighbours were at an all time high. Divided Nation contains a number of campaigns – some let you take direct control over a general (Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant) and lead his army in a series of battles, while others will let you lose in a series of battles associated with a campaign (Gettysburg, Antietam and the Texan War). You can play from either side in each campaign, meaning the Confederacy could rise again, or the Mexicans could hold Texas, if that is your will.

Horses for courses

Horses for courses
The game is split in two similarly controlling parts – one will have you building bases and troops in the usual real time strategy manner, while the other will have you commanding a predetermined number of troops in a more historically accurate representation of battle. This is meant to broaden the appeal of the game by catering to both tastes, and the game does a reasonable job at this point. In terms of game modes, there’s the main campaign mode, single mission mode, which lets you play any mission from the campaign mode, a random map, or maps you’ve designed yourself, as well as the requisite multiplayer mode.

Divided Nation allows up to 30,000 units to be on screen at any one time

Divided Nation allows up to 30,000 units to be on screen at any one time
Divided Nation uses a 2-D graphics engine, something we’re seeing less and less of with each passing day, so it does have something of a rustic look, but this does allow the game to render many thousands of troops – up to 30,000 we’re told. With so many men under your command you must keep them in line, and the game features many types of formation for every type of tactical situation. Morale is a huge factor in determining the outcome of a battle – lose too many troops, and your men are going to start deserting in the middle of a fight. You can improve morale by including drum soldiers and flag bearers, but sharp tactics are going to be the only thing that ensures you victory at the end of the day. Maps are based around topographical data of the actual locations during the time period in which the game is set to ensure the most realistic battles possible. Like its predecessors, Divided Nation uses GSC’s Cossacks engine, which allows for many on-screen troops while keeping resource hogging to a minimum, meaning that the game will run on many lower end machines.

The build of the game we got to play does have a number of problems still, the main one being that it is largely unstable, but we can expect that will be sorted out before the game is released in November. American Conquest: Divided Nation is shaping up quite well, and strategy buffs, especially those who like a historical slant to their games, should keep an eye out for it.
Divided Nation is shaping up to be a worthy addition to the American Conquest series, and should keep Civil War buffs entertained for months to come after its November release.

Related American Conquest: Divided Nation Content

American Conquest: Divided Nation Review
29 Jan, 2006 A history lesson, in more ways than one.
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