American Conquest Anthology PC Review
Developed by the same people that brought us Cossacks: European Wars, GSC Game World’s, American Conquest was a capable strategy game when it was first released in 2003. It was popular enough to garner two expansion packs and now in 2006 both expansion packs have been boxed together and released under the guise of American Conquest Anthology. Sadly, 3 years is a long time in the world of gaming and from the very first second the game loads and appears on your PC monitor it is very evident that the American Conquest has not aged very well.
All three American Conquest games in the pack (American Conquest, American Conquest: Fight Back, American Conquest: Divided Nation) play akin to most RTS games you may remember from a few years ago. They are all historically accurate and it is evident just from playing a small bit of the game that a lot of effort went into this area. If you ever played the Cossacks: European Wars game then the gameplay is almost a carbon copy of that. The RTS mainstay of base building is on show and there are also a huge amount of resources to gather on all maps so you will never run out of stuff to build your units with. The game also gives you the option to defend your fortifications which is nice and also, while in battle you are given the option to move your units into formations as well. All three games seem to play relatively the same with only a few changes in each edition.
The big plus the games have is the grand scale of the battles. Each mission in the game is huge and multiple large scale battles sometimes have to be fought with tens of thousands of units on screen to finish just one of them… in fact some mission can take well over two hours to complete, which is a number far above most battles in other RTS games. It was this great selling point that most likely made the game the success it was back in 2003 but in today’s gaming environment it’s not all that special.
AI also seems very underwhelming and just relies on a “we are moving forward, fear us” approach to get the job done. Perhaps it is my recent addiction to Company of Heroes is making the game seem worse than it is but even if I was not playing CofH I still think I would not be impressed with what is on show.
Graphics are in no way impressive compared with what’s on show today. The menus look dated but that’s only the start of the problems. When in game everything seems very flat, and units don’t seem to move/animate very well, even for a game that was released in 2003. The best looking part of the game is without a doubt the buildings, cathedrals and other old structures seem to have a lot of work put into them to make them look eye catching. The User Interface however leaves a lot to be desired. The best way to describe it would be a mess, as everything just seems out of place and not very pleasing to the eye.
Another dated part of the game is its audio. While the music is okay to listen to there is not enough of it so the few good tracks end up repeating ’till you are board to death of them. Sound effects lack any sort of bass… you would get more “oomph” if a feather hit a bowl of jelly in my opinion. Voice acting is terrible; as there is very little of it on show. Units don’t react when you click on them and don’t utter one-liners and that just makes everything seem very boring. I wish they added some voice acting to the game, maybe randomly inserting the word boring in some clichéd phrases… “we are boring people marching, fear us!” “we are boring people shooting, fear us!” “we are boring people dying, fear us!” That would have being entertaining, well for me anyway.
I barely remember playing the original American Conquest when it was first released back in 2003 but I remember only having a small bit of fun with it. Other than those big battles named above there was nothing hugely exciting about the game then, and now with RTS landscapes evolving with each month that passes any good points the game once had seem too faded away. Even though American Conquest Anthology offers loads of different campaigns and missions over the three games, with the game retailing at a price of around £20 there are many better value options out there to feed your RTS hunger.
Much better games are available for the same price.
5.1 out of 10