Take Command: 2nd Manassas is the latest strategy game to come out of Paradox Interactive’s gates. Developed by Mad Minute Games, Take Command: 2nd Manassas is a Civil War based strategy game that allows you to recreate large-scale historic battles and command your troops realistically around the battlefield. The game is very meticulous with the realism levels, putting you in charge of ordering thousands of troops per battle. While the game is quite the undertaking and takes some getting used to (the slow pacing may turn away strategy gamers looking for something along the lines of Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War or WarCraft III), hardcore strategy fans and Civil War buffs should enjoy Take Command: 2nd Manassas’s deep level of realism and historical accuracy. 2nd Manassas puts players into the second year of the American Civil War, during the 2nd Manassas campaign, naturally. The campaign, which lasted from July to early September in 1862, was host to several major Civil War battles, like Cedar Mountain, Chantilly/Ox Hill, and of course, 2nd Manassas. You are put into the role of the Commander, ordering around troops and regiments ranging from 100 up to 60,000 men, depending on the battle. You can play as either the Union forces or the Confederate Army, exploring the battlefield and determining the best possible offensive or defensive venues to guarantee your side success. Gameplaywise, 2nd Manassas feels pretty similar to Mad Minute’s previous entry to the historical Civil War battles sub-genre, Take Command: Bull Run. There are a few additions and changes to the formula, like new units, but generally the game feels very similar. The main focus of 2nd Manassas is on the strategy of the battlefield as opposed to the actual battle. You arrange your units and set them up to win the skirmish, as positioning is key to victory in this game. The game is painfully meticulous in this regard, and the pace is actually quite slow and deliberate. While gamers who are very into the idea of a deliberate war sim will definitely enjoy, most players who’ve been weaned on more action oriented fare will probably get a little frustrated with the long battles and slow pace. The graphics are okay, but certainly won’t flex your PC’s muscles in the slightest. The game is composed of 2D sprites over a 3D battleground, and while the sprites move fluidly enough, the look feels very juxtaposed. Also, the backgrounds are pretty much lacking in detail. There are a few elements like houses and trees to try to give the field a bit more realism, but the terrain is devoid of realistic details and the explosion effects aren’t too great. The sound fares pretty well, with a nice score that fits the mood of the game nicely. The battlefield sounds are what you’d expect from large-scale battles, with cannons firing, guns popping and troops yelling. Take Command: 2nd Manassas is a very deep Civil War sim, with a great degree of realism and a focus on the move strategic elements of the battlefield. While the slow pace may turn off a few gamers, those who the game is geared towards will certainly enjoy it.
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