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I have been a fan of the Total War series since the first Medieval game (I missed out on the original Shogun). There's something about the mix of micromanagement strategic planning and fast paced battles that appeals to me. With this in mind I bought this game soon after it was released.
It immediately became apparent that the studio had worked hard on improving the graphics since the (already beautiful) last outing. The in-battle weather and individual soldier models in particular are fantastic. The strategic difficulty also seems to have increased, becoming a serious challenge to play on the top difficulty when previously I found myself breezing through the campaign.
The aim of the game is to take your chosen clan to dominance in 16th century Japan, by fighting, negotiating and back stabbing your rivals. You can also buy expansions set at the start of the Shogun era and at it's fall in the 19th century. I found that I didn't really engage with the campaign, not really caring what territories I was fighting over, who died in the last battle o et also on. Perhaps this was due to my relative ignorance or lack of interest in this era, in other total war games I have been thrilled to firefight Agincourt, crush barbarians beneath the boots of my Roman legionnaries or to thwart the plans of Napoleon but there was nothing to hook me in this time. Just another battle against similar opponents on some vaguely familiar part of Japan.
The 19th century campaign was a little better with new innovations for the series such as ironclad ships, coastal bombardments and railways workingwell. However on the whole I just couldn't get over my apathy and really into this game, which is a shame considering its outstanding attributes on paper and the high regard in which I hold its predecessors.
Total War fans will rejoice at the long awaited revision of Shogun, the first ever game in Total War series.
When Total War developers Creative Assembly decided that the next project they would invest their money and time into would be a remake of the game that put them on the map and started a franchise, Shogun :Total War, it must have been like a homecoming. Since the 2001 release of Shogun, Creative Assembly went on to produce five additional Total War games, all of which received critical success and cemented the series as one of the best franchises in the real time strategy genre.
Could Total War: Shogun 2 live up to it's predecessor?
No. Simply put, it couldn't. Undoubtedly the graphics took a huge leap and the options available to the player are far more vast but unfortunately Shogun 2 seemed stale from the get go. Shogun 2 decided to play it safe and failed to capture the imagination. The options available to the player were not all that dissimilar from other recent incarnations produced by Creative Assembly. So instead of feeling like you were playing a fantastic retelling of the original game, it felt like you were playing Empire: Total War, or another recent game, just with a graphical enhancement that took your soldiers from Europe and into Japan.
There was a reason Shogun hadn't be remade until now. It was too polarizing for the huge American and European audiences the franchise appealed to. Put Europeans in Europe and they will enjoy conquering places they know and playing the role of historical legends of their region. Put a European in Japan and everything seems to lose context unless your an expert on Japanese history.
Also take into account that it seemed that the franchise was going in a totally different route. From the Medieval era we progressed hundreds of years to the 1700's in Empire: Total War. A game that revolutionized how you played a Total War game due to the inclusion of muskets. And then from there we further progressed to Napoleon: Total War, further solidifying the constant move forward in eras and technology. Then before you knew what hit you, you were smack dab right back in the middle of feudal Japan. Your musket was gone and replaced with the sword once more. The timing couldn't have been any worse.
Shogun 2 failed to impress because it did nothing new. It had nothing new to bring to the table and ended up being a game that we've all seen before when it comes to opportunities for the player. Of course that's not to imply Shogun 2 was merely Shogun 1 with better graphics, but to say that Empire, Napoleon and even Medieval have all given us the same level of freedom. Until now almost every Total War game in the franchise has had something new to bring to the table, unfortunately Shogun 2 just wasn't up to par.
2 out of 5.
The amount of raiden cosplay in this game is absolutely rediculous... joke!
First time disc put in: DVD drive spins up and steam opens. No surprise it wants to download. Right click -> pause update -> Delete local content -> close steam.
Next: Go to "Run". Type -> "C:\Program Files\Steam\Steam.exe" -install E:
C being the letter of your HDD where the steam directory is
E being the letter of your DVD drive where the discc is
Next: Steam should re-open. Put in password. Let it launch. Small window will appear and it will, maybe, ask for CD key and then will start installing from disc to about 95%. Small 100mb-ish download will come after that.
After that is done you should be able to launch the game but dont fret if it takes a while to launch; mine does to but then it runs fine!
The real time battles take a while to load to but it isnt long enough that i can make a cup of tea to calm my nerves :(
The graphics in the RTB (real time battles) are immaculate; you can zoom right in on your units faces to see them individually and when they actually fight you can see them attacking individual units, not just the air. With mounted units the rider can actually die before the horse does allowing the horse to flee and, potentially, crush a fleeing Bow Ashigaru on the way. (Seriously it was the best thing EVER!).
The AI in the RTB, even on easy, is still hard to trick and beat with a full attack. Even sending two Bow Samurai units to the left flank and two Yari Cavalry to the right and 3 Yari Ashigaru with spear wall turned on in their front they still manage to assemble their units to inflict maximum damage against you. Even if the odds arent in their favour.
The campaign map is beautifully drawn and how it works is fantastic. As you discover more land it goes from being the hand drawn map to mountains and forests which change along with the seasons. The seasons also have a added trick; when your units stay away from a castle during the winter some troops will die. On the campaign map you can see your trades and farmers working in their lampshade hats :D
Some on the ninja videos you get to watch are fantastic and laughable in their outcome. There was onetime when i had a level 5 ninja deading to assassinate a Diamyo (leader of clan) with a 48% chance of success. After skillfully killing the guards, without being detected, he was along with the Diamyo and he had his back turned but instead of stabbing or poisoning him my ninja, in all his wisdom, decided to push him off of his balcony!! After the cut-scene it said he [Diamyo] was injured and my ninja was unable to kill him!
I have only played the single player for this review.