Battleground 2: Gettysburg
The Civil War still provokes strong opinions from people. Since the day the war ended, questions of “what if” have inspired endless debate. Therefore, it's no surprise that people can recreate the military actions of the period through wargames. Of the many Civil War strategy games available on the market during the mid 90s, Battleground: Gettysburg comes very close to being the best. TalonSoft took a traditional genre and given it a new look, decent artificial intelligence, and more historical information than can be found in most public libraries. Battleground: Gettysburg retains much of the flavor of the typical hex-based war game. The interface gives you a choice of a 2D or 3D battlefield view. The “Battleview”, as TalonSoft calls it, presents you with a flexible view of both units and terrain. In the 3D view, it is remarkably easy to see what's really going on during the game. Hills, houses, roads, and units are presented in fine detail. A two-dimensional view is available for traditionalists, but most people will find the 3D mode more effective and entertaining.
Battlefield: Gettysburg reflects an enormous amount of research by the programmers. The terrain is a startlingly accurate reproduction of the actual battlefield. Units are represented by a number of different uniforms, and their leaders are viewed as tiny pictures based on real photographs. Nice graphic touches, including smoke from rifle fire and the tiny bodies left on the ground when units suffer heavy casualties, add to the period atmosphere of the title. Players have an option to toggle video clips on or off for combat, and the sound effects, while not exceptional, accentuate the aggressive feel of the game.
Battleground: Gettysburg plays almost as good as it looks. Unlike many other wargames, the computer opponent in this game is capable of providing a real challenge. The AI reacts to events rather than following a predetermined script (well, most of the time). While there is no difficulty setting within the game, players can choose individual scenarios that are easier to complete than the entire battle.
Sure, there's no shortage of Civil War games, but serious fans of the period should give this one a close look. Battleground: Gettysburg does just about everything right, and is a fine game for the money.