Backlog Quest: Day 27 – Civil War: Secret Missions

Dear Journal,

Today I took part in a series of covert operations meant to turn the tide in America’s Civil War.

Civil War: Secret Missions is one of many churned out FPS titles to bear a History Channel logo on it.  The game places you in the uniforms of soldiers in both The North and The South, in missions where you are often attempting to complete a task ahead of the main army so that your side can achieve victory in the coming battle.  What really results though is a mess of a game with some historical facts thrown in here and there for good measure.


We once wrote an article about some games we want to see done right, and among them was a game based on The Civil War that wasn’t an RTS game.  This is not that game.  Poor controls plague an otherwise poor shooter full of glitches and graphics that weren’t even very good when the game was new. Even the game’s sound is awful, with the sound effect of you running something sort of like someone tapping paper.

Making matters worse is that there isn’t even much of a story.  The game tries to tie together various secret missions from The Civil War with short history lessons before the level.  These are somewhat interesting, and it is certainly a fantastic idea to draw attention to the smaller battles and skirmishes of the war that played almost as big a part as the epic battles; but in practice it often just means running around some fields and lighting stuff on fire.  About half way through the game you also just randomly switch sides, and there is no real narrative stringing the entire game together.

What little realism the game attempts to capture with historical facts between the levels is completely thrown out with the game’s combat.  Most guns reload extremely fast, enemy soldiers often continue charging even when a mini-ball has hit them (go ahead and look up what mini-balls did to a leg when a shot hit), and there are a lot of gattling guns just sort of floating around the south.

Plus, I’m going to just say it, playing as a confederate just felt weird.

There was also one painstakingly difficult level where you had to basically hijack a train. The game forces you to hold off enemies for quite some time while you are positioned behind a gattling gun. This should make you a god amongst men during The Civil War, instead it means that you are literally stuck in one position, unable to take cover while an entire column of soldiers pours down on you. Also, by “pours down on you” I really mean “spawns in the bushes where you can’t see them and immediately starts shooting you in your face.” In the end, this is the main thing I can recall from the game; a painfully difficult moment that had me nearly needing to buy a new controller because the urge to spike it was hard to resist.

This is leading to absolute hell.

To put it bluntly, Civil War: Secret Missions should have stayed a secret.

Tomorrow I race cars that can talk in Cars 2.

Final Rating: 3/10

CBR Break Down:
Console Played On
: Xbox 360
Time to completion: ~ 4 and a half hours
Gamer Score Earned: 550/1000
Price Bought at: $12
Current Price: $37.99 (Amazon)
Recommend Purchase Price: I would say $5, sadly this game seems to have retained value somehow.
Why you should buy it: You really like The Civil War.
Why you shouldn’t buy it: You really like The Civil War.

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About Tristan Rendo

I've made movies, written and performed music, and in January of 2011 got bored and started the awesome gaming site you see before you. My gaming roots began with the original NES, and endless hours spent spilling quarters into machines at the local arcade. I have a personal collection of over 200 Nintendo 64 games, and for many years it was the only system I owned. I re-entered the modern generation of gaming consoles when I decided to purchase a 360. I typically prefer the single player experience of games, so I’m usually playing through some single-player campaign, but can occasionally be found doing some damage in Halo Reach.