Video Game Review: Total War Shogun 2

Total War Shogun 2 is a PC Real Time Strategy game that was released on PC on 15th March 2011. It has received amazing reviews and earned itself a BAFTA in the Category for Games Award for Strategy.

I want to mention here that the developers have made Shogun 2 free for a limited time to aid the campaign to stay at home during these difficult times. You can get the free copy from Monday 27th April 2020. This game is a great opportunity if you are new to RTS genre to sink your teeth into it for no cost! For more details on this deal please visit HERE

The Game:

As the series of games began to enter its golden era, Sega returned to the Japanese Sengoku era (1467-1615) for a makeover of their original title of the series and brought it up to date with the latest graphics and improved mechanics.

The Story/Campaign

The campaign works remarkably similar to a turn based strategy game akin to Sid Meier’s Civilisation. Rather than having tiles of units you are moving armies over a specific distance per turn. The overall objective is to form alliances, and eventually become the dominant ruler of Japan.

The campaign map is superbly detailed, and the Total War series are known for their historical accuracy when it comes to the design of the units and the ship. The Developers often work with museums and the such in order to ensure that they are recreating the units in a realistic way.

You can pick one of nine playable factions, each with their own perks and differences. As the title suggests, it does become inevitable at some point that there will be conflict! When 2 armies clash in the turn based map, you gain the option to play through the battle. This is when the game really opens into what makes all Total War games epic in scale.

You enter the battlefield, which is usually a map that is like the area of the campaign area your army was in when the battle initiated. You have up to thousands of soldiers at your command in real time. From spear infantry, to cavalry, to archers and siege weaponry. Zoom in close and you will notice that there are many individual designs of each soldier to add variety and depth to the soldiers under your command. Through careful use of your units you will then engage in battle of epic scales with your rival in a bid to win with preferably as few casualties as possible.

In the midst of battle, it is chaotic and bloody. Individual soldiers will duel one another, adding further to the depth of detail this game has to offer.

Multiplayer

There is a multiplayer element to Shogun Total War, where you can aid a faction in controlling feudal Japan but conquering online opponents in the real time combat.

Other than that, there are also custom battles, which I have played more so than any other element within the Total War franchise. Custom Battle you are given a fund, and you can then build your army how you wish there and then and fight against a bot in a real time battle on a map of your choice.

Key Features

The game is the follow on title after Napoleon Total War and Empire Total War. Sea combat is a wonderful (and expected) mechanic in Shogun 2. What is new however, is where they have combined Land and Naval combat in the same real time battles (coastal warfare for example). This added huge elements to the game and added realism to besieging a coastal fortress. Sending a grand army by ocean to attack a city’s shore. It was hard not to feel like you were retelling the story of Troy from the Iliad (even more so in the later release, Total War Rome 2).

I personally have learnt so much history from this series of games. It is such a great advocate of what you can learn through just playing a game. Everything from the ship design to the ornaments on a warrior’s helmet are based on historical accuracy.

My Ratings

Strategy – 6 – It’s an RTS game so this one is a no brainer! You can try to float along without antagonizing any opponents for a while. Eventually you will likely end up in a combat scenario and strategy is vital!

Randomness – 3 – Random scenarios may occur and you may wish to test yourself with unique challenges, however this will be pretty difficult as strategy is such a key backbone of the game.

Complexity – 5 – Whilst there is enough complexity to give this a 6. I do feel that you can delve deep into it at your own pace. So long as you master the essentials, there is still plenty you can achieve without knowing the finesse tiny complexities.

Humour – Implicit – Funny things may occur along the way, but I would not say this is a game with much humour built into it. It is a game that takes its accuracy and attention to detail seriously. There are still some units with some crazy features, but they are based on something factual (which is a feature I love in the series).

Attractiveness – Nice – the game and its art style sometimes make you feel you are watching a cinematic piece rather than the battle itself. I’ve noticed the occasion bloom effect distorting the view slightly. The art style of the unit cards takes a moment to understand what you are actually selecting (you get used to it over time).

Average Length of Gameplay – This is an unpredictable length of time as it depends ultimately on how you play. Expect the campaign to take an extremely long time to complete. A custom battle might take up to an hour as its more of an “instant action” scenario.

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