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Shattered Union

A spectacularly complex mishmash of ugly sprites and good intent raises its rebel flag on Xbox

Ah the ancient turn-based hexagon boardgame, a staple of old PC strategy titles, now lovingly recreated and brought to life on Xbox. Like Blockbusters, it's mostly a case of getting as many pieces on as many hexes as you can before the enemy does the same, then blasting him off strategic hexes you might require for your own armies.

Shattered Union, concerning itself with the second American civil war (shame they didn't have more of those) is a spectacularly complex mishmash of ugly sprites and good intent. You take control of one of seven different factions (including a European 'peacekeeping' force) attempting to reform the dis-United States in your own mould. It's similar to the Total War games on PC, with individual battles influencing the wider conflict taking place on a Risk-style map of the former US.


It's good fun building up an army and then pitting it against another itsy faction Command & Conquer-style, but by God, you'll not know what you're doing. That's more thanks to a confusing front end and baffling array of number-filled submenus than the game itself being too complex. Picking the best equipment for the job and navigating your way to a position where you're able to enter a conflict with confidence is primarily down to luck. And why can't you skip having to watch an enemy's turn?

It's details like this that spoil what could have been a great little game. Still, it's a brave thing for Shattered Union to even come out on Xbox - it's certainly a refreshing departure from the usual slew of first-person shooters and urban driving games. But it could have done with a more thoughtful conversion - stripped back from its PC roots and with a less headache-inducing camera, this could have been good. As it is, it's a missed opportunity.

The verdict

Get bamboozled by the stats and menus, then, if you're lucky, you might have five minutes of furtive firing fun.

PopTop Software
Sim / Strategy