All Features


  PlayStation 3
  PlayStation 4
  Wii U
  Xbox 360
  Xbox One


American Civil War: Gettysburg

Score: 74%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Apus Software
Developer: Talonsoft
Media: CD/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Turn-Based Strategy/ Strategy

Graphics & Sound:

American Civil War: Gettysburg is the latest game from the expert tacticians at TalonSoft (of Battleground fame), Take 2 Interactive, and Global Star Software - all for a budget price of $20.

Unlike most strategy games of this kind, it is beautifully displayed in vibrant 3D. From extremely detailed troops with historically appropriate insignia/equipment, to the actually modeled battlefields of Gettysburg, it’s simply great looking. The environments have a “painting” quality to them, not unlike something from a children’s book about the Civil War. They are far from cartoony though. Weapon fire is brilliant; puffs of muskets will cloud the field, along with the smoking holes left by your cannon. Even the menus sparkle with historical flair and design, from the watermarks, candles and other features to re-create an “aged” look.

The battles come alive with full on audio assault as weapons fire, cavalry charge with beating hooves and the cries of soldiers punctuate the bloody act of war. It would even be more chaotic if this was a RTS; as it stands, there are usually some brief respites during movement and planning. The music is simple and involves your usual Civil War snare drum with an orchestral base flavor.


American Civil War: Gettysburg is rich on strategy, yet keeps things fairly simple. You can battle through all the historic missions - 16 in all; like Picket’s Charge and the defense of Little Round Top, from either the Confederate or Union forces. Before each mission, you are briefed on the aspects of the engagement, providing a lot insight into the tactics and context of your coming actions. There is also a Skirmish mode where you can set up random encounters to your liking and just go at it.

This is tried and true turn-based action, something becoming a bit of a rarity these days. The map itself is divided into classic war game hexagons, and you have movement restrictions based on these. I, personally, really enjoy being able to sit back, examine the field, and apply chess-like ideas… instead of the point-click fest of RTS's these days. Several units are at your disposal, all with different firing and movement ranges. These include soldiers, militia, cavalry and cannons.

The tactics are simple enough such that most people will master them quickly. Utilizing cover and attacking an enemy when he is exposed is the key in most engagements. Also, the cavalry charge can be absolutely devastating to infantry in open fields… but beware of entrenched forces surrounded by forests. The readouts are also ridiculously simple, based on modifiers according to range, cover and morale. You know beforehand what an area will offer in terms of affecting these modifiers, so don’t feel like you're leaping into the unknown. Hills of course are huge in these types of games, especially with such simple, grunt-based weapons. Each unit serves a clear purpose, and it’s this last point that may let down the hardcore war gamers. In general, this game is simplified almost too much, but the tight focus on the battles (all on Gettysburg, not the entire war) make a case for why this is so. Just don’t expect 100+ units to command, and various types of resource management, diplomacy and the like. This is an “interactive educational game” at it’s roots, one that plays better than any Oregon Trail game I have come across.

The ugly areas of American Civil War: Gettysburg crop up with some wonky outcomes in battles and skirmishes. Sometimes cavalry will be decimated by cannons, or non-entrenched infantry will put up a surprising fight against fully covered troops. Perhaps the developers modeled the random absurdities of war; either way it left me scratching my head more than once.

There is multiplayer support included and there is a nice community website to link up with other players, and it was a nice change of pace from the single player mode.


This game should be a breeze for most gamers, while the more seasoned person may grow bored of it quickly. The units are simple and few, the strategy is straight-forward and the interface clean as a whistle. Overall, a simple game that portrays a harsh time in our country’s growing pains.

Game Mechanics:

The camera is fully zoomable and rotatable, a nice addition to examine your nicely animated and drawn units. As I mentioned before, the interface is super clean, to the point some would call it “sparse.” But frankly, you don’t need all that clutter on your screen to win- or lose-the day.

Strategy/Civil War buffs should eat this title up. I highly recommend watching the classic “Gettysburg” then play out the very battles you just observed. It may not capture the intensity of the movie, or the complexity of any Sid Meier’s titles, but American Civil War: Gettysburg provides a solid, informative experience, all for a modest price of $20.

-Tybo, GameVortex Communications
AKA Tyler Whitney

Minimum System Requirements:

Operating System: Windows 98/Me/2000/XP, Processor: Pentium III 800 MHz or better, RAM: 128 MB RAM, CD-ROM: 8X CD-ROM drive, Hard Drive: 700 MB free hard disk space, Video Card: DirectX 9.0 compatible 3D video card with 32 MB RAM (64 MB Recommended), Processor: DirectX 9.0 compatible sound card, Processor: Microsoft compatible keyboard and mouse; 56K modem or better (for Internet play)

Test System:

Windows XP, 2500+ 1.83ghx AMD 1 GB of RAM, Radeon 9800 Pro 128mb

Windows Madagascar Microsoft Xbox Ford Mustang: The Legend Lives

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated