American Conquest: Divided Nation is a strategy game in the style of popular titles like 'Cossacks 2', 'Blitzkrieg 2' and 'Rome: Total War'. A continuation from earlier American Conquest games that took place in eras of American history, including the American Revolution, this fun, entertaining and challenging game will keep you up late into the night. Historically accurate in all aspects of development, history fanatics will enjoy this game just for the realism of its uniforms, weapons and armies. You lead armies of thousands where every decision is critical to victory or defeat, in important battles in American history that determined many aspects of life today.
Pros (4 out of 5)
The size, scope and overall mechanics of the game work well, once you get use to them, making for beautifully created battles that look amazing.
The manual that comes with the game is very well written and requires extensive study to master, but once the manual has been read, the fun and addictive entertainment is ramped up considerably.
Skirmish mode is extremely fun, much like other RTS games, and it requires you to take the traditional route to victory. In the beginning there are no massive armies to command. Instead, you need to form, train and then arm the armies from scratch. I suggest trying this mode before jumping into the campaign, as this game mode will ease you into the resource management, army creation and overall game play much better.
RTS fanatics who love an intelligent opponent will be challenged with American Conquest: Divided Nation. The A.I. is on the ball, often creating settlements and armies much faster than the casual gamer will be able to achieve. I was attacked in my first skirmish before I had a chance to even start building an army, so be warned.
Once you get used to playing the game, the random map, single player or multiplayer modes provide the extreme challenges. Great variety in authentic buildings, units, upgrades and research available improves the experience of this game even further. You can compete head to head against veterans of American Conquest in massive online battles that will require great mastery of the controls and units in the game.
Cons (3 out of 5)
American Conquest is an extreme challenge, even for battle-hardened RTS veterans. The complicated game play can be very frustrating at first to master. The almost vertical learning curve in the beginning will probably have many non-RTS gamers looking elsewhere for interactive entertainment. Unfortunately, this is made worse because the game doesn't come with a tutorial for beginners; the campaign just throws you into the action in the first scene and expects you to be able to figure the game mechanics on your own.
Manipulating the armies on the huge battlefields takes a lot of time to move them across the ground into place, so be patient.
The A.I. is almost too intelligent at times, though, often crushing the beginner or even veteran RTS fanatics before they know whats going on. At other times, they're so unaware that your soldiers will not be intelligent enough to get around a fence on their own, which can be frustrating.
The game could use more camera views, as the developers only included two different views of the battlefields, which at times will limit the information you can get and certainly decreases the enjoyment level they could have achieved with a larger variety of camera angles.
Graphics (3 out of 5)
The developers used the same graphics engine they used in the earlier American Conquest titles, but the engine still handles the large armies and battles well enough to make the game fun, entertaining and look pretty good.
The large scale of the battlegrounds stretch forever across the screen to encompass the hundreds, seemingly thousands, of troops on the screen.
I experience no slow downs on my Vista Home Premium computer system with this game, which made it a lot more fun.
The beautifully rendered detail of all aspects of the game, including horses, weapons, soldiers, and the terrain, all look authentic and well done.
Sound Effects and Music (2 out of 5)
The soundtrack and sounds of the game were only okay. They could have been done better, at times you couldn't actually distinguish many sounds from one another, as they were so loud and over-bearing.
Replay Value (3 out of 5)
American Conquest: Divided Nation is a game you can play again and again. Attempting to complete the campaign will have most RTS gamers shaking their head at the extreme challenge this game will provide them. If you're a perfectionist, you may find yourself spending an unusual amount of time attempting to beat the campaign.
The skirmish mode can be played over and over again as well, and in the beginning is probably the best starting point for gamers; you're eased into the complicated game mechanics this way.
The real meat of this title's ability to provide hundreds of hours of RTS fun for fanatics is the online and LAN alternatives available with the single player and multiplayer modes. The ability to find opponents with experience and skills in battle around the world and compete head to head against them still has me coming back for more.
Summary (4 out of 5)
American Conquest: Divided Nation is a well developed game that shows a realistic level of historic detail that is impressive to say the least. The extreme difficulty this game provides may have some stepping back a little, but if you're an RTS fanatic who likes to be challenged, this game will keep you entertained and provide you with what you're looking for.
All the historic battles of the American Revolution are covered in the game, with all the armies wearing and using authentic uniforms and weapons. The naval battles include fights with gunboats and ironclads, the weapons all fire at their historically accurate rates, and they even included limber teams for individual artillery pieces.
If you're an RTS fanatic or a gamer looking to try an RTS game that will introduce you to the genre, then American Conquest: Divided Nation is one game that may turn you into a RTS fan.