Date of publish: 15/11/2020 19:44 CET
It was always inevitable that CDV’s excellent American Conquest was likely to get an expansion pack, and fans of the game will not be found disappointed by this one. ‘Fight Back’ gives you a further five new nations than the original, making the total seventeen playable nations! Additional to this you get forty new buildings, more than fifty new units and twenty-five brand new missions. The groovy part is that you don’t need the original game to play ‘Fight Back’.
American Conquest is a historical real-time strategy game, mainly working on the principle of building foundations, training troops and then going to war! The game will allow the bloodthirsty amongst you to jump straight into the action with the new Battles mode, play a single map or you can play through the full campaign. Once again the missions are nicely varied in look and difficulty, add to this the nation diversity and it is sure to keep you busy for a long time. The new ‘Battles’ mode is designed for those of you that want to leap straight into combat without having to worry about the economy side of the game. You are given the tools with which to wage war, and this mode is purely about military strategy, be it in singleplayer or multiplayer mode.
In ‘Fight Back’ you will be re-enacting historical battles from 1517 to 1804, with sometimes a staggering 16,000 units at your command. Eight all new campaigns can be selected which will have you experiencing the Search for El Dorado one minute, and the Conquest of Alaska the next. Every mission takes place on vast open land, sea and desert, and in campaign mode you will usually be given a basic set of peasants with which to build an empire. To achieve your goals you will need to chop wood for buildings and harvest food for your people to survive. Initially this is a simple task of creating a mill for the food, and a shack to store wood. Click on a peasant and he can create a building or you can assign them to perform a specific task. Things get more complicated when you build a fort; In these forts you create your troops, but you need to create additional peasants to be trained in arts of war. You soon find yourself balancing the survival of your existing peasants with the creation of your army of destruction. A careful eye has to be kept on the amount of food you have available to your people, and similarly if you are to create extra buildings such as a blacksmiths you will need a good stock of wood. The most important of all buildings tho is the Dwelling, these are where you create your peasants, and believe me you will be creating dozens upon dozens of them!!
All maps have a limited ‘fog of war’ view, meaning that you can only see so far before the map becomes obscured by blackness. This naturally prevents you from spying what your enemy is up to, though sending out a couple of expendable scouts is always worth a shot! Sometimes you just don’t know the strength of the enemy, and can find yourself with an army you think is fit to roll over the greatest, only to find them vastly outnumbered and it’s all over in a few seconds! To further ensure the survival of your troops, you can put time into training them in more advanced skills, though these will gradually take longer and longer to learn the more advanced the skill. The normal campaign mode can be very time consuming, but also extremely rewarding if you manage to get the balance right.
To control the vast armies in the game will take a lot of getting used to, but thankfully the interface to do this is relatively straight forward, with change of formation and orders easily achievable. Where the game does get frustrating is when you are trying to hand pick individual troops or peasants, either as a small of group or single, as it can be annoyingly fiddly to do so. It is also very easy to not select members of your army accidentally when you bulk select, so you can end up with your bulk group in one place and little pockets of stray troops scattered around the map! Another irritation is the size of the world map on screen, I found to obscure the action a little too much, and even though you can select a smaller size, it becomes a sluggish mess when trying to pinpoint certain areas of the map. A curse from the original game still occurs in ‘Fight Back’ in the dreaded pathing problems, but these don’t happen too often, and only become really annoying if you’re handling more than one set of troops at a time.
On looks the game is pleasing to the eye, while never overly impressing, but the terrain (viewed in an isometric style) is pleasant enough, and troop animations of excellent quality on the whole. With the amount of action going on at the same time, it’s a minor miracle to have something that looks this good anyway, and you will find it is rare to experience any slowdown. Presentation is top-notch, particularly in campaign mode with all major battles narrated and explained prior to the slaughter. People in the same house as you will know you’re playing the game too with the good use of audio, with wonderful booming sound of cannon fire and gunfire rattling off. Despite initially pleasing, the music will gradually drive you mental, more down to the lack of variety than anything else.
Overall the expansion does the job nicely, giving fans of the original game even more terrain to reap havoc on! Why can’t we just all get along though eh?
Written by DNM
Original date of publish: 02.09.2003