Austerlitz: Napoleon's Greatest Battle
Courtesy of Jeroen Hill
Basically Antietam will be the sequel to Gettysburg but Antietam will certainly have some new and advanced features.
The game is played on a huge 3D map on which you can zoom, scroll and rotate. Just as in Gettysburg, the map again has detailed terrain features like streams, trees and peach orchards but also hills, rocks and knolls, That are the things where you would rather not have the enemy on when going into battle.
One of the important fields where the armies clashed was the Cornfield and Firaxis put it in the game indeed, when moving your men into the cornfield they of course step on the corn and the corn will actually be stubble. Expect to find more terrain features like Fords, plowed fields and of course the Sunken Road which is entrenched terrain to all troops. Antietam! will feature the 3 bridges the Union army needed to cross the Antietam Creek and I have seen a screen shot of those and they are even more detailed and bigger then the bridges you saw in Gettysburg. To simulate engagements like Burnside's bridge Firaxis made sure that only way to cross Antietam Creek is by putting your troops in maneuver column and march over the bridge.
New Unit Features and Orders
Firaxis listened to requests from the fans and designed new units and worked on all the uniforms. What I've heard and what Firaxis confirmed, the Confederate regiments will have that "poor" look like they used to. Meaning that in 1 regiment you could see men with butternut uniforms, men with gray jackets and blue pants and a slouch hat or a kepi. It is not clear if the Union regular infantry will also have different uniforms, I did saw a regiment with those bags on their bag and another regiment without them. In Antietam you will also find the special famous units. So far we know that Firaxis put these regiments in the game : Sharp Shooters, Zouaves, Iron brigade, Irish brigade, Texas brigade and also the famous Louisiana Tigers.
Firaxis designed some great orders and commands for your units. Brigades will now have the possibility to Fall back or retreat all at once. A new feature or should I say AI behavior is the fact that regiments in melee combat won't respond to orders except retreat. The Volley command we saw in Gettysburg is now more of an mode, A regiment can be put in volley mode meaning that they will fire volley after volley without the player having to be involved. Artillery will be able to switch into Canister mode, that means that they will hold their fire until the enemy is within Canister range AKA"Masked Batteries".
At Antietam the Union had some very big green regiments, some of them never even fired a shot so they are at full strength, a Thousand men! Gettysburg had a limit on the size of regiments but Antietam's limit was raised, it will feature full sized regiments like it should. Lee's army was almost a third the size of McClellan's army, but all that were left were hard-core fighters in regiments as small as 60 men. Firaxis created a new "Elite" morale level for some of these units and played with the fire effectiveness algorithm to simulate the results of very large green regiments facing very small hardened regiments.
Right now there is a rumor that Mplayer.com will not support Sid Meier's Antietam! Firaxis confirmed that in an e-mail to me but they said that they were planning to get it on the Microsoft Gaming Zone. This means that we'll loose the cool chat box features of Mplayer.com but in return we get faster games cause Zone servers are simply much faster nor does the Zone have maintenance times so you can always play.
This is what Jeff Briggs said : "They are the same."
Where to get it, when to get it, and how much will it be
It will be available on the Firaxis web site were you can order it so it won't be available in your local game store! The game will cost only $24.95 and Antietam will also have a 1,800 page thick manuscript called Ezra Carmen's Battle of Antietam, which was written by the commander of the 13th New Jersey Volunteer infantry who had become obsessed with the battle. The manuscript records what happened at the battle in extreme detail. Firaxis contacted a university professor who was preparing a five-volume set of books detailing the Civil War and who translated the manuscript for Firaxis. That exclusive manuscript will be available in fully printable form when Antietam releases.
This review was written by Jeroen Hill with special thanks to Jeff Briggs from Firaxis for answering my questions.
Sid Meier's Gettysburg & Sid Meier's Antietam; name and logo are registered trademarks of Firaxis Games Inc.
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