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  1. So, I've played through the Union campaign and finished Antietam on Medium. I've managed to win every battle through a bit of trial and error and save and redoing. My gaming experience is... well I dunno how to describe it but I've played UG:Gettysburg liked that, and like playing strategy games such as Total War, XCOM and XCOM 2, Civilization 5 and Starcraf 2. SO i'm used to strategy games. Ultimately, I was entertained greatly, but there were a few things that could have been done to make my experience a bit less frustrating and make the game a bit more... smoother, not easier, smoother. However, let's start with the good stuff. The battles are difficult and fun. They have variety and they are challenging. I haven't felt so challenged even when playing XCOM 1 or 2. I tend to do a save before every battle so when I do lose I can figure out exactly how to pull off a victory and try again. They're also fun though b/c the AI is a devious bastard and the openness and terrain of the maps allows you to try different strategies. The customization of the corps.divisions/brigades commanders, weapons, unit count is amazing. It gives this game so much replayability as you could start another game with another set of brigades. It also gives me the feeling of playing an XCOM like game where the brigades are your favorite soldiers who will do and die for you. Thus, it is amazing to see when your veterans rip the bloody hell out of the enemy. It's also gives a player a great feeling when you assign historical generals to command brigades or divisions. I have Grant as the commander of my 2nd Corps and Reynolds commanding one of my greatest veteran divisions and it feels great to have them "working" for you. I've also never played a game where you could customize and organize your army to such an extent and still have it have impact. The corps/brigade system is very interesting and you have to make a lot of choices when putting your career points and equipping your divisions/spending your money. I love the detach skirmishers mechanic which allows defense in certain maps and an ease of withdrawal. Cannons also work MUCH better than in Gettysburg. They're actually incredibly useful as they can blast divisions at point blank and allow you to defend points with a lot more ease. Unfortunately this is where I come to the parts where... frankly do need some work. The tutorial is not extensive enough. I've played UG: Gettysburg, which allowed me to figure out how the move commands work (I also watched a streamcaster). However, beginners might have no idea how to orientate their units aside from drawing lines b/c... well it's never really explained how. Grammar and spelling on certain cut-instructions and screens need to be corrected to give the game a more polished note. I have heard cavalry is good... but I haven't seen any use for it but that may just be me. Thing is though, tutorials can be tweaked, grammar and spelling can be reworked. I also don't think the set-battle nature of the campaign is a problem. I don't mind that you can't decide your own attack. You're following what they historically did and that's fine by me. However, what I am annoyed about is how the attack plan is explained after you deploy the required corps. Due to the nature of how the player will build an army up through putting them into smaller engagements and gradually raising more troops, their 1st corps are going to be full of veteran badasses and subsequent corps are going to be less badass. However, when you deploy the corps into the load screen thing, you have no control over which one attacks first or the plan itself b/c it's not told to you. Thus, the battle results are going to vary WILDLY simply b/c you had to deploy willy nilly when the battle plan that you in a general should if not have control over, be explained to you. Case in Point, The Battle of Antietam. I brought 57,500 troops ish against the Confederates numbering 56,000 I think. Basically I outnumbered them slightly and I had 3 corps. I deployed my 3rd Corps to attack from the right (north), 1st corps to go into the center and 2nd corps to go attack the left near the town. I didn't know though that my 3rd corps would be leading the attack because there is no indication on the corps deployment map of which corps is attacking or defending first. This corps I had raised fairly recently and they had less powerful firearms, no veteran units, and had lower-ranked commanding officers in general. In short, they were the noob corps. So as the battle panned out, I fought a vicious battle around the church, but was eventually able to achieve victory at Antietam with the arrival of my more experienced 1st and 2nd corps under my character's Major General and Ulyssess Grant. Unfortunately I forgot to screen capture the results screen but my and the confederates losses were fairly equal about 30,000 each That got me thinking though, what would have happened if I deployed my 1st Corps on the North and had them attack first? They were more experienced, they simply had better firepower in firearms and they had better morale and command. What if they spearheaded the assault? So I replayed Antietam and the results couldn't have been more different. I literally rolled the Confederate army up. My veteran divisions made taking the church WAY easier. Then my 2nd corps attacked as they had, but b/c the initial offensive was so successful... taking the sunken road just destroyed the Confederate army's centre. All in all, I felt as I was playing that the offense simply went far faster than it did in my first replay. didn't know for certain b/c I felt I had lost a lot of men especially from my first corps even though I had taken ground faster, but then I checked the post battle results. Compared to my first attack, I had lost only 22,000 men whilst inflicting similar losses on the Confederate army. They lost around 30,000 men. I had lost 8,000 men less than I had the last time. The result was happy to me, but also annoying. That I had 1st corps on the right in my second replay, spared me a lot of trouble... if Only I had known to do that in my first replay... which apparently I could have, but the game said NOTHING about which corps was attacking first (unlike 2nd Bull Run) so I just deployed randomly. I was able to replay the battle b/c I had made a save file to ensure that if I screwed up I could figure out what went wrong and try again, but the autosave system would only save the results of THAT battle. Thus, if someone didn't make a save... they'd be dealling with the consequences of something they'd have no control, which is which corps makes the attack first. I'm not so sure how to rework the corps deployment interface screen to make this possible, but please, if one of the developers is reading this, make it so the commanders understand WHICH corps is attacking/defending first in the battles. Particularly for Antietam which is a large grand battleplan that the player as the general should have some awareness for. Maybe alter the corps deployment screen just to show which corps you're committing to the battle. Then show them the opening battle plan animatic so it's actually impactful and not just a info dump. Then FINALLY you take them back to a corps deployment screen where the player commanders can then decide which corps to execute the attack. It just would give the player actual control over something the game is suggesting he has control over, which is where to deploy the corps. As of right now, the corps deployment screen is confusing b/c the player doesn't know the full battle plan and what his/her corps are going to be doing. But overall... I am REALLY glad I bought the game in early access. I got a lot of fun from it. It just needs interface tweaking so that the tutorial is clearer on basic (how to move unit), and so the corps deployment screen can allow the player to affect the outcome of the battle according to his or her intention. I await the coming battles so I can commit my army to them! Yours sincerely, vren55 Edit: I just found out you could switch brigades around in various corps and divisions... so I suppose my point on the tutorial is now even more valid. That doesn't change my opinion on allowing the general to know the plan in the Union and Confederate Antietam battle in particular. (I've just finished the confederate battle)
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