First, let me start off by saying, if your a total war fan, or a fan of other very RTS games with frontline action and controlability, then BUY THIS GAME. RIGHT NOW.
Now then... Ive had this game since it was in a state of human vs AI only, and it was suggested by a clan leader and friend of mine whom i saw play quite frequently. He told me the features and i was pretty psyched to say the least. Just so i dont make this review paragraph based, let me number off the pros and cons and info.
1. The Dev and The AI Behavior
This game was made by a popular Mod developer for the total war series, more specifficaly, the Darth Mod series. yes, same guy. And please take very good note of this, THE AI WILL KICK YOUR ♥♥♥. Im VERY suprised CA hasnt hired this guy for the Total War series yet for thier new A.I. behavior manager! The Computer acts just like a human in some if not all instances depending on the way you want it to act, its VERY releiving to see a compinant AI smashing a human player. If you buy this game, thinking that its just another game that youll steam roll the AI in, your wrong. Period.
2. Genuine BattleField terrain and locations
I live in mid Michigan, and the Gettysburg battlefield is roughly 300 miles away. I am also a dedicated Civil War reenactor, and historian, and i have been to Gettysburg and other battle sites multiple times. I must say, the developer has really put time into making the battlefield map as authentic as possible. By doing so, he has the terrian set just right, theres ALOT of small locations like the Penn. College, and several small areas like family houses, mansions and farmhouses with titles signifying the property. This really adds to your sence of thinking, like instead of thinking, 'Gotta hold that house' or 'Hold that hill' your more in a state of mind saying 'Hold the Henery House Property', 'Hold Oak Ridge', 'Defend the Unsbruck road'. It all makes you feel like more of a gerneral than most offical game companies for RTS and frontline action.
3. Realistic Chain of Command and Regiments
Instead of Regimental numbers and which state their from, theres titles to mark each regiment, or birgade by their colonel, core leader, or the actual nick name they had during the war. Like the Iron Birgade, The Texan Birgade, Bucktail Birgade, Irish Birgade, Kelly's Birgade, and thats just to name a few of the nick named. Other more common units are named after historical regimental commanders and birgadier generals who were present at the battle. THAT is true dedication to the games authenticity :)
4. A very high sence of carnage and urgency
Most people dont mindor think about this, but i beleive every war game should have sound effects of not only weapons, but voices and screaming and other things to give a more sence of the heat of battle. Whenever i engage the enemy, the new sounds of battle erupt and i feel like im more rushed or needed of concentration just to see it through. Plus, bodies stay where they lie, and it makes the feild more littered with the dead to give a better sence of war horror and chaos. One time, me and a freind playing online (explained later) fought over a wheat feild for nearly 20 minutes, and in that time, it switched posetion between us nearly 17 times! It was grusome!
5. Simple but very robust multiplayer
Dont expect this game to have a server or host list, but instead it has a mainly matchmaking based mulitplayer system. better yet, it even ranks your person and you can even select avatars! Though theyre only portraits of generals from both the Union and Confederacy, and nothing much else, which is a little dissapointing.
6. WHERES THE REINFORCMENTS!?
Throughout the 3 days at the battle of Gettysburg, both armies were conjured in a day or so by the arrival of reinforcements from different roads in order to manifest their armies into a whole. Reinforcemnets, are DEPENDED upon in this game to ensure victory for either side, and its very nerve racking to wait for their arrival. They even come in various sizes, types, and diractions to the feild of battle. So it really dicates where they can help most immediately, or spend time to get to another area.
7. The enemy army is breaking camp, let us do the same...
During a human vs AI battle, the fight can last to a max of 4 days or so. You only have so much time in a day to capture all objective locations or to route the enemy army until both sides being too exhausted to fight and break camp for the next day fallowing. Whats even more cool is that the gains or losses you make in one day can influence the lines of battle for the day fallowing, THAT is awsome and i cant even beleive no RTS game developer companies have even considered making that system an element in their games yet without making it for the prupose of cinimatic.
1. The line of sight for cannons
Cannons were a must have in both armies during the period, but in this game, it takes alot to get them operating effeicantly. Cannons must be set up with a proper line of fire in order to fire on the enemy, so youll be CONSTANTLY checking your artilleries line of fire. It also sucks that the Ai cant even automatically deploy them to a favored postion after being ordered to attack a certian enemy. I even had a battery of cannons on a hill overlooking an open feild in which the enemy were crossing, and they didnt even open fire! The enemy was completely exposed as well, and it even cost me the battle because they didnt open fire even though they were overlooking a hill. Be aware, the LOF for artillery peices, are VERY picky.
2. Poor/Slow morale recharge and gain
In game, Southern armies have more of a moral boost because historically, they were mostly made of volunteers willing to fight, whislt most of the Northern armies have lower moral sicne alot where drafties and didnt even want to be in the army in the first place. However, once moral is depelted for a unit, its over for them. They might as well leave the feild because theyll be so useless. I had a birgade of 1280 southern men, and after being repulsed, they automatically got behind the lines to safety, but the moral was jacked. i checked on them and their morale seemed fine enough to get back into the action, but as soon as they get near the fight, theyre morale was depleted, and mind you none of them were even fired upon when that happened. Even on the Northern side more especially, if a units morale goes below 20%, its over for them. They wont have the will to fight anymore. This needs to have at least a curtiosy balance or fix to be more acceptable.
3. Once more into the breech men!... men!?...
Charging the enemy is a needed factor in the game, but it needs to be a little tweaked. The Confederate armies have the benifit of actually fallowing through a charge but the Union wont even charge at all. Theyll hold their ground with great dediction, but a charge, even against the smallest units, just kills the moral of the Union units and they all run away before a charge even commences. It somewhat defeats the purpose of have a charge option while playing as the Union.
This game came out of the blue, and it wasnt another board game based civil war game nor a mod for a half ♥♥♥♥♥ RTS. Ultimate General is a slight arcade like game but its a mus thave for all RTS fans and those of 'frontline' combat. Like i said however, some tweaking might have to be done here and there, but the Pro's far outway the Con's.
I give this game, a 7/10 in its current state.
8/10 if your a Civil War history fanatic or an RTS fanatic for that matter, AND if the developer tweaks the strengths and weaknesses and morale of both sides.
This game DESERVES to be a series, not only that for JUST the Civil War era, but maybe Napoleonic Wars, 1700 Wars, Crimean War; it DOES have great potential! And i encourage the dev to keep up dedicated work!