The year is 2013 and the US of A has succumbed to terrorist attacks, corrupt veterinarians and videogame-inspired violence (or something, I wasn't really paying attention). All of which has resulted in a second civil war splitting the former US into six separate countries and, funnily enough, the EU staking claim to a small chunk of the east coast. Of course, in the midst of the fracas, those wily Russians have taken back Alaska, and Hawaii is just ignored, which conveniently makes Shattered Union's strategy map a little easier to comprehend.
As seems to be the tradition in the future, battles are turn-based and take place on an implicit hexagonal grid. Your army consists of units, each of which takes up a single hexagon on the battlefield and is capable of moving a certain distance determined by the unit type, the landscape and so on - it's quite basic stuff.
If you've ever played Advance Wars (and you really should have), you'll know how it works: certain unit types have advantages over other types, and it's up to you to decide when to use the right units against the enemy. It's essentially rock, paper, scissors with EU peacekeepers and tanks. Plus, with a basic strategy map dictating which province you attack next or which province you're defending, Shattered Union has all the hallmarks of a well-rounded strategy game.
The problems arise when you've been playing for a few hours and realise exactly how simple the game mechanics are. For example, an infantry unit with a single point of health left is just as effective as an unscathed infantry unit. Y'see, whereas Advance IVors took you for a gentle guided tour of every aspect of the game using amazing tutorials which steered you and tenderly prompted you to evolve your techniques, Shattered Union pretty much dumps you in the middle of the war and shows all its cards from the beginning.
This is the shallow end of the strategy game pool, where you can splash about in your inflatable armbands and blow bubbles - quite fun, but you come out smelling a bit like wee...
Download Shattered Union
Systems: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game features:Single game mode