Review

American Conquest: Fight Back! Review (PC)

American Conquest-Fight Back is the latest historical real time simulation offered by CDV. This is the company that brought you the Cossack series and is soon to bring you Cossacks II. Fight Back is yet another good product using this engine. It is a stand alone edition to the original American Conquest. It adds 5 more nations, 50 new units, and 26 new historical missions in 8 separate campaigns. You also get everything in the original game, so if you missed this one the first time out, here is your chance to get it all.



The little history lessons during loading screens are quite interesting.

The sound effects during battle are really well done.

The game itself takes place in the new world between the years 1517-1804. It lets you re-enact historical campaigns and battles from as far north as Alaska down through South America. Each of the historical campaign missions starts you with a brief history lesson to give you the significance of the task you are about to attempt. You can play the battles on a single map or you can go through the entire campaign. Although the graphics aren't on the cutting edge, when you can get thousands of units on the field at once and control them with formation movements, the feeling of history comes through without any problem. The game claims you can have up to 16,000 units at hand for a battle, frankly I didn't count them, but the number dwarfed most other games. Just watching the computer opponent wheel it infantry to match a flanking Calvary charge is impressive.

As stated above, the heart of the game is a real time simulation. You build up your forces starting with peasants. With the required buildings and gathering the resources needed, you can then begin putting forth a large army in a relatively short period of time. Your peasants however are easily captured and can even run afoul of the local wildlife. You must protect them well or a single push by cavalry will set back your dreams of conquest. As with most of the games in this genre you can research to get improvements and this is needed if you expect your army to compete for long. The computer opponent is very capable and you will find yourself hard pressed especially in the early going were the numbers are even and the computer has the quicker reflexes. The units also have moral, so you will need to have drummers and leader to keep the spirits up. If the see too many of their fellows die by cannon enfilade, expect to watch them turn tail and run.



The user interface is easy to learn. You will need some time to learn to move the units in formation and to be able to command them as easily as needed to best the tougher opponents. You will need to upgrade them as much as possible and buy new improvements as they become available. It does become difficult to manage all of your troops on a large engagement, and you will have them. Don't get lost trying to pick up the stragglers or those that ran unless you really need them to turn the tide. Better to spend most of your time on those troops that don't wilt in the face of battle.


Epic battles with large amounts of troops make a return in this expansion.

A signature of this series is the ability to easily control so many troops at once.

As mentioned above, the graphics aren't cutting edge. They are good for the quality of the game and you get a ready feel for the battle and the problems of command that face the leaders of this time. The graphics are good for what they try to create. That they spent more time on game play issues and not eye candy is a plus, not a minus. You can easily command the troops and determine the course of events. It is nice to watch cannon tear holes in a line or to see the front rows drop after a musket volley. The graphics allow you the critical emersion and that is what you really want the game to give. The background sound is good but the sound effects are what you will notice. The crack of the rifles, the booming cannon, and the cries of the men give the game that extra touch.

When you have gotten to where the computer no larger poses the challenge it once did, you can then move on to the multiplayer game. Having up to seven other opponents in this game raises it to new levels. It allows you to either connect directly with an IP address or you can go through the server to find your human opponents. The multiplayer game can be one of three modes, builder style with all the usual RTS components, death match tons of resources or the battlefield mode that you learn to love in solo play. The game balance is well done so you can either play as a European power with limited troops and a technological edge or you can play one of the "native" powers with low technology but lots of cheap and quick to build troops.




You can fight as high as Alaska, or as low as South America.

The graphics aren't spectacular, but they certainly get the job done.

Top game moment: Using a cannon to thin the ranks of the enemy, and then picking off the remaining stragglers with a huge army.

In summary, this is another good addition to CDV historical RTS line. It is well worth the price and will give you many hours of enjoyment. This is probably one of the better games I have seen this year.


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