A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that History Channel Civil War: Secret Missions is a first-person shooter (FPS) that takes place during the Civil War. Because The History Channel was involved in the making of this game, it's more about recreating a piece of history than it is creating a senseless and violent video game. As players progress through the game, they are frequently shown tidbits of trivia and information about the Civil War, along with important historical context for the mission they are about to undertake. While the first-person perspective and the frenetic pace of battle add to the violent content in this game, the impact is lessen by the deep historical context and no depictions of blood.
What's it about?
History Channel Civil War: Secret Missions puts players right in the middle of the action during the American Civil War. As a soldier of the union forces, players fight their way through missions that are based on actual battles from the 1860s. At the beginning of every mission, the game provides players with historical context and information about the task they are about to undertake. The game also contains a vast wealth of information, trivia, and tidbits about the Civil War, making this game more about understanding what it must have been like to be on the front lines during the tumultuous time in American history, rather than trying to be an overtly violent war simulation game.
Is it any good?
Playing through HISTORY CHANNEL CIVIL WAR: SECRET MISSIONS is a unique experience. Although it's a first-person shooter (FPS), it's very different than what most gamers have come to expect that term to mean. Because it's set a century and a half in the past, there are no advanced weapons; players are aiming their targeting crosshairs to fire old-fashioned rifles and muskets rather than the high-powered machine guns, giant bazookas, and nuclear rockets that have become synonymous with the FPS genre. In addition, the game provides a more fulfilling experience because of the faithful recreation of the Civil War, with no gory or gratuitous twists thrown in.
The graphics leave something to be desired, and the control scheme is not as well laid out as some of the more popular FPS titles, but this game provides a hands-on way to learn about American history. History buffs, as well as those who should buff up on their history, will walk away from this game completely satisfied.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the violence in this game, and about the real-life violence that it is recreating. Why do wars exist, and do they ever justify the violence they create?
Families might consider attending a Civil War recreation and then comparing that to what is shown in this game.
- Platforms: PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360
- Subjects: Social Studies: events, history, power structures
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: decision-making, strategy, thinking critically
- Price: $59.99
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Activision
- Release date: November 4, 2008
- Genre: First-Person Shooter
- ESRB rating: T for Violence
- Last updated: November 11, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.