|System: PS2, X360, PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Cauldron Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Activision||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 4, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
The graphics here are serviceable but little more. Character models offer little detail or variety, and cutscenes will often consist of conversations between soldiers who are made up of duplicates of each other. The backgrounds and environmental elements seem to match up with the theme of the experience, but textures are rough around the edges and theres plenty of screen tearing. However, the least welcome element of the games visuals is slowdown that occurs all too often and seriously impedes your ability to engage the enemy.
On the plus side, the soldiers move naturally, using motion-capture technology thats fitting with the gritty setting of the Civil War. Additionally, the game displays some surprisingly dynamic rag-doll physics. Toss a grenade into a group of soldiers and watch em fly when the shrapnel bursts.
Secret Missions audio is also a mixed bag. The background music and sound effects sit nicely behind the gameplay, and both elements lend mood and immersion during missions. However, allies ramble the same few lines, and their dialogue is usually horribly out of sync. Five minutes into a skirmish, youll often hear one of your buddies yell out, I dont think were alone.
HISTORY Civil War: Secret Missions takes inspiration from almost every World War II-shooter cliché and slaps a Civil War coat of paint on it. Its not a terrible game, but it is an entirely linear and limited experience. Youre corralled along very straight-forward levels, using uninteresting firearms in almost pedestrian skirmishes. Additionally, though the Civil War lasted about four years, Secret Missions will be over in just a little over four hours. There are bonuses, pictures, and letters that will perhaps appeal to the very niche audience this game is aimed at, but at $40, its an anemic package, regardless of whos in the market for such an experience.
CCC Freelance Writer