Total War: Shogun 2 Review

Steve Butts

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Total War: Shogun 2 Review

Creative Assembly remakes the game that started it all.

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Lord_Panzer

Impractically practical
Feb 6, 2009
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Video isn't working?

Haven't had the chance to play it yet, but rest assured the glowing praise it's received has only reinforced my iron-clad intent on making it a purchase very soon.
 

tokae

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Mar 21, 2011
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It's a game that aims for five stars AND get five stars.

As a fan of the first one I can't wait until friday when I will be able to buy my copy so I will now commence the inventing of a fully functional time-machine.
 

sharks9

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Mar 28, 2009
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So excited! Rome was my favourite so far because of no gun fighting so I hope it isn't TOO prevalent in this game.
 

Bretty

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Jul 15, 2008
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The big thing for me in this itteration is two things. Jumping in to peoples SP games and MP campaigns.
 

jonyboy13

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Aug 13, 2010
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Truly a great, objective review.
I find that the management is too complicated for new players and maybe even veterans. It is just too much to deal with and make you lose all the hype you had from your last battle.
Another hype killing thing about the game is the really uncomfortable control during battles. I find it much more annoying than the previous games.
Other than that, the game is pure strategic fun that no strategy game can match.
 

CrystalShadow

don't upset the insane catgirl
Apr 11, 2009
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OK, seriously Mr Butts...

At what point in time did a laptop with 1 gigabyte! of video memory become low-end exactly?

Yes, I know a low end graphics chip can have that much RAM and be a lot slower than a high-end chip with not a huge amount more than that, but that just proves RAM is not a defining performance feature.

(My desktop is hardly low end, and only has 1 gig of video RAM, and 2 gigs of System memory. (and a quad-core i5 processor). It's really not slow for all that.)

Anyway, nitpicks about that kind of comment aside, the game sounds pretty good, though I am always somewhat concerned when a long-running game series repeatedly fails to fix certain basic problems...
 

Double A

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Jul 29, 2009
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I'm only going to say this one time.

Shogun 2: Total War.

Anyway, sounds good. The main bugs of the series don't really bother me all that much.

And here's a "moving large group of units" tip: If you group them, but don't choose a specific layout (like Single Line), generally they'll stay in the same formation when you hold right click move them.
 

winter2

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Oct 10, 2009
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I love this game because of it's complexity. There is nothing like seeing a plan coming together. Most times I find myself skipping the battles just so I can go ahead and move my pieces accordingly.

I gotta go.. I have 3 armies pressing around Kyoto while also have a fourth army in the west keeping the pressure on the heathen enemies. Not to mention keeping my main sea routes clear..

:)
 

Musicfreak

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Jan 23, 2009
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In order to move multiple units and have them stay in formation you need to put them in a group first. This first started with empire and I still have no idea why they implemented it. It does nothing but add complexity to a system that already worked. There's nothing worse than putting your units in formation before the battle, starting the battle, forgetting to group them, ordering them forward and watching as they decide to reform into one giant line.
 

Gladiateher

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Mar 14, 2011
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Rome was always my favorite in this series even though the Greeks were imba at some parts imo. Finally I can retake my rightful place as lord of the Kwanto.
 

Slycne

Tank Ninja
Feb 19, 2006
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Double A said:
I'm only going to say this one time.

Shogun 2: Total War.
Heh, take it up with the devs. They decided to swap the naming scheme in this iteration.
 

cschraer

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Jul 14, 2010
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Umm what about Napoleon?

Also I've never had a problem moving units or with pathfinding. The biggest control issue I've had is chasing down fleeing units, which has been massively improved over the years.

Double A said:
I'm only going to say this one time.

Shogun 2: Total War.
I don't know what you're trying to say here. If it's about the name, they changed the name because everyone refers to the series as simply Total war.

CrystalShadow said:
(My desktop is hardly low end, and only has 1 gig of video RAM, and 2 gigs of System memory. (and a quad-core i5 processor). It's really not slow for all that.)
This game is highly processor and memory intensive. Especially memory. Every individual animation, texture, and model must be loaded into RAM. If RAM is not the issue then decreasing resolution or unit detail should help it run faster. If RAM is the issue then unit size should help.

The System memory is crucial and if you're running windows xp take 256MB off your system memory for the OS. If its Vista or 7 take off 512MB.
 

DaJoW

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Aug 17, 2010
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It looks like it's come a bit since Rome, the last game in the series I liked. Too bad the setting isn't very interesting to me :/
 

RA92

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And console gamers say that we don't need more powerful graphical hardware -_-

Damn, I really don't think I can run this, Civ V was bad enough...
 

Gralian

Me, I'm Counting
Sep 24, 2008
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Great review. I never really played the original Shogun, and having played Empire and a little of Rome Total War i'm more used to these epic grand scale conflicts, so this focus on smaller terrain would certainly feel a bit disjointed for me.

In all honesty, the actual battles are where i really gleam my enjoyment from the Total War games. I'm quite put off by all the management on the text based screens and large, bland map. In fact, most of my time spent on Empire was fighting the historical battles and other 'quick battles' as opposed to the campaign, because i didn't like dealing with that messy text-heavy interface where if you cock it up, things could go horribly wrong for you and your army in the next fight. It's for that reason that it gives me pause to consider whether Shogun 2 would really be worth a purchase for me. Creative Assembly has done some impressive stuff, though. They're worth all the praise and support they get, even if pathfinding is a little wonky and Empire kept deciding to crash to desktop now and then for no sodding reason.
 

Karlaxx

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Oct 26, 2009
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I think you've pretty juch nailed it on the head, Steve. Although one thing that's gotten me more than crashes (never been a problem) or the apthfinding (single player general), the unit selection is really, really sticky.

About half the time I try to change my selected unit, it doesn't take, and I end up ordering some poor sods halfway around the map before I realize that single clicks just won't register.
 

rees263

The Lone Wanderer
Jun 4, 2009
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I loved the first 3 total war games, and would still play the original Shogun now, it was so awesome. Only just got into Medieval 2 (and enjoying it very much), so won't be picking up Shogun 2 just yet - definitely will in the future though.

I agree with the complaints about the series as a whole. Luckily I haven't gotten into multiplayer, so all the pathfinding issues in the battles can be remedied by pausing and re-issuing commands. It's just something I've come to expect.

And the excessive management does make the mid game onwards seem like a bit of a grind. I'm constantly scanning the map to make sure I haven't forgotten to move someone or build something, bit of a nightmare really. I've become really OCD about saving all the time so I don't screw something up, which means everything takes even longer to do.

The only thing I'll add is that some of the more extranious features aren't always implemented so well. I have really yet to find diplomacy and religion useful (at least in M2) - I can't really fathom how things work, and it all comes down to builing a huge army and stomping everyone else anyway, so I'm not really sure what the point is. The best use I've found for diplomats is killing the enemy's to train my assassins XD
 

murphy7801

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Apr 12, 2009
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Though I wont have much issue running this would be nice if they posted a spec of the machine they used in the video for the game footage to give people some benchmark to run off.
 

Double A

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Jul 29, 2009
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Slycne said:
Double A said:
I'm only going to say this one time.

Shogun 2: Total War.
Heh, take it up with the devs. They decided to swap the naming scheme in this iteration.
I know, but it's just a pointless marketing move.

cschraer said:
Double A said:
I'm only going to say this one time.

Shogun 2: Total War.
I don't know what you're trying to say here. If it's about the name, they changed the name because everyone refers to the series as simply Total war.
Yeah, but the name has always been first. I know it's not true for most games, but so what? Everyone has gotten used to it being Game: Total War. I'm not trying to offend anyone, but I think only an idiot would think Rome: Total War and Medieval 2: Total War weren't in the same series. It's pretty obvious.
 

Jamous

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And now I just have the joys of getting bootcamp to work properly for my bastard Mac, then I should be home free. :D
 

Crimsane

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"...and then realm divide happens - the game suddenly stops being nearly as fun and turns into a nigh-impossible task of trying to hold off every single other clan, because suddenly they all hate you. Even your (now ex)allies." As least, on Hard and above it does.
 

RhombusHatesYou

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I've enjoyed the later Total War titles more as they've moved away from mass faction specific units, making the battles focus on the tactics of position, manuever and considered force composition rather than spamming overpowered faction specific units and battering away at whatever's in front of you. Sure, you still could use all the tactical thinking in the older games but it wasn't encouraged by the gameplay because it'd let you ignore it all.

The diplomacy system is still off, though. Better but still buggy... I've found a few instances of other daimyo being pissy at me for being allied with their enemies when I've had no ally in the game so far (nor vassals) and some other odd shit. Getting the bastards to trade once you hit mid-game is a right prick, too. Vassalage works better now, too. Much prefer putting liberated clans in my pocket rather than having to strong arm long time allies.
 

Slycne

Tank Ninja
Feb 19, 2006
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Double A said:
I know, but it's just a pointless marketing move.
Eh. The way I see it, they made the game and every other one in the Total War series. I think that means they are at least entitled to call it whatever they please.
 

RhombusHatesYou

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Crimsane said:
"...and then realm divide happens - the game suddenly stops being nearly as fun and turns into a nigh-impossible task of trying to hold off every single other clan, because suddenly they all hate you. Even your (now ex)allies." As least, on Hard and above it does.
Does that on all levels. Was dicking around on Easy to get a better grip on the economic system of the game and when I hit that point, my clan got gangraped... all my allies and most of my vassals turned on me, the ungrateful little shits and everyone pull massive armies out of their arses while all the broken agreements left me economically neutered and struggling to maintain my main force.
 

Weaver

Overcaffeinated
Apr 28, 2008
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I've found the AI in Shogun 2 to be a LOT better than previous installments (unless you play on easy of course).

It still glitches out from time to time, but I've had it do some surprisingly clever things.
 

Alar

The Stormbringer
Dec 1, 2009
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I would've expected 4.5 out of 5 based on the problems that you mentioned, but it is your review, after all!

I may have to buy this for my dad. He loves this series.
 

Xan Krieger

Completely insane
Feb 11, 2009
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According to steam since I bought the game on the 15th I have played it for 23 hours.
Also I once wrote as my facebook status
"If you don't yet have Shogun 2 Total War then get it. If you don't have the $50 for it then I'm sure you can skip 2 dinners this week. If you do have the money and you've made it to this point in my status WTF are you doing sitting there? Run out and buy it right now."

Best in the series so far and I wonder where the series will go next.
 

Double A

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Slycne said:
Double A said:
I know, but it's just a pointless marketing move.
Eh. The way I see it, they made the game and every other one in the Total War series. I think that means they are at least entitled to call it whatever they please.
They are, but quite frankly, Total War: Shogun 2 sounds very awkward, even to non-fans.
 

CrystalShadow

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Apr 11, 2009
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cschraer said:
CrystalShadow said:
(My desktop is hardly low end, and only has 1 gig of video RAM, and 2 gigs of System memory. (and a quad-core i5 processor). It's really not slow for all that.)
This game is highly processor and memory intensive. Especially memory. Every individual animation, texture, and model must be loaded into RAM. If RAM is not the issue then decreasing resolution or unit detail should help it run faster. If RAM is the issue then unit size should help.

The System memory is crucial and if you're running windows xp take 256MB off your system memory for the OS. If its Vista or 7 take off 512MB.
OK, I can believe this game is memory intensive. But that wasn't what I was getting at. What I was actually saying is I doubt my computer would struggle with running this, judging by how well it runs everything else.
So it seems a little bizarre that a laptop, which, within the given specs seems superior to my desktop should handle it so poorly.

It seems... Odd.

Also, saying a computer only has 4 gigs of ram, when the majority of programs (And games in particular) are still 32 bit applications (And thus can never use more than 2 gigabytes of RAM, the remainder only helps to deal with the OS or background applications.)

The most likely problem on a laptop is going to be something that wasn't mentioned in the review, which is a low-end graphics chip that just doesn't have a lot of processing power.

Anyway, I should check the demo of Shogun 2 really... At least then I'll know for sure if my suspicions are correct.
(Making statements about system requirements for games on PC is incredibly difficult, because there's no easily quotable numbers to use. What's better? An Nvidia 335? Or an Ati 6600? Is the GPU with 1 gigabyte of RAM guaranteed to be more powerful than the one with 512? Those things are always difficult to answer.)
 

Simalacrum

Resident Juggler
Apr 17, 2008
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I adore strategy games. I am absolutely in love with the Total War series. As a series, its easily my favourite of them all.

And I have a Mac.

[HEADING=2]FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU-[/HEADING]
 

Azmael Silverlance

Pirate Warlord!
Oct 20, 2009
756
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I got the GrandMaster edition and i just couldnt be more happier. I started with Shogun 1 as a kid and i sucked at it :D But now im enjoying this baby soooooooooooooo much!
This game is so EPIC! The immersion is great. Sometimes i find myself talkin in ENG with JAP ACCENT! Im so into it!
Im yet to experiance any problems and im now worried cuz bugs got mentioned in the review :O

And the game is fantastic on ULTRA settings. Sometimes i just leave the battle to do tis thing and max zoom in to watch the samurai fight. its just glorious!

The multy player gives me some headaches since i cant find games....not sure what the deal is and the avatar exp thing confuses me even tho i did some battles.....but i guess those are issue that ill figure out in time.
 

RhombusHatesYou

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Xan Krieger said:
Best in the series so far and I wonder where the series will go next.
Probably Rome 2 just to get the R:TW fans to finally shut up about it. Or they might pull a Napoleon:TW and focus on the campaigns of a single famous leader from around the same time period as Shogun... So possibly Total War: Nobunaga but I seriously hope not.

I'm still holding out for a Total War game set in the 3 Kingdoms period of China or, In my fanboy dreams, a co-developed project with Firaxis - Civlization: Total War.
 

Poisoned Al

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rees263 said:
The only thing I'll add is that some of the more extranious features aren't always implemented so well. I have really yet to find diplomacy and religion useful (at least in M2) - I can't really fathom how things work, and it all comes down to builing a huge army and stomping everyone else anyway, so I'm not really sure what the point is. The best use I've found for diplomats is killing the enemy's to train my assassins XD
Diplomats are gone in Shogun 2 and you can talk to any clan you've encountered at any time (thank god), and diplomacy actually works. Becoming friends and allies in Shogun is a lot more solid then it was Rome/Medieval 2. Honour plays a part in how the clans act, unlike the backstabbing European settings were you can sign an alliance one turn, and the bastard will attack you the next. Pulling that crap in Shogun will annoy the other clans. It's nice to have the AI run in to SAVE you, rather then stick the boot in for once.
 

Telperion

Storyteller
Apr 17, 2008
432
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I honestly haven't noticed any performance hits, clipping or any of the other problems with the game. Then again my comp can run the game on high details without any problems, so maybe that's part of it. In any event, I agree that the AI still has some stupid routing problems and I really have to micro carefully, if I want my units to move from point A to point B in a logical way. Not that it bothers me that much in single player, but it is a problem in multiplayer.

Also....how can I make my cavalry and heavy infantry units move at the same pace across a field? The darn cavalry units keep charging ahead! Is it the formation I have chosen for my grouped units? I should look into that...
 

Watchmacallit

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Jan 7, 2010
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I got the game and it fucking owns. It is a really damn good games. Creative Assembly has failed to make a bad game...although the first Shogun was a little buggy. I give Shogun 2 a 10/10. It does what it is supposed to do with good graphics, beautiful scenery and a range of maps exploiting different tactics. The multiplayer is a little buggy in terms of the menu.
 

demoman_chaos

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May 25, 2009
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I'd like a game that works. The demo worked fine, but the full game will not load. The loading screen shows up and the computer reboots itself.
 

rees263

The Lone Wanderer
Jun 4, 2009
517
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Poisoned Al said:
rees263 said:
The only thing I'll add is that some of the more extranious features aren't always implemented so well. I have really yet to find diplomacy and religion useful (at least in M2) - I can't really fathom how things work, and it all comes down to builing a huge army and stomping everyone else anyway, so I'm not really sure what the point is. The best use I've found for diplomats is killing the enemy's to train my assassins XD
Diplomats are gone in Shogun 2 and you can talk to any clan you've encountered at any time (thank god), and diplomacy actually works. Becoming friends and allies in Shogun is a lot more solid then it was Rome/Medieval 2. Honour plays a part in how the clans act, unlike the backstabbing European settings were you can sign an alliance one turn, and the bastard will attack you the next. Pulling that crap in Shogun will annoy the other clans. It's nice to have the AI run in to SAVE you, rather then stick the boot in for once.
Wow, that sounds like a really great change. Will definitely be picking this up. I've loved the feudal Japan setting since Shogun 1 and the series has come such a long way since then.
 

Protrek305T

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Mar 21, 2011
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The graphic's in this game is beautiful i'll give it that. And the battle's is fun to play, how the AI try to outflank you and try to position it's archers on high ground.
But when you play the campaign-map all you need is a few monks and a few ninja's. Seriously i took all of japan with them going from city to city. Using monks to start a rebellion in several places at once. Then using ninja's to halt the enemy's army so they cant intercept the rebellion in the other provinces. And for some reason the AI dont like going into a province that they lost. So in my army go to take a free province.
 

wooty

Vi Britannia
Aug 1, 2009
4,252
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Me and you must be the lucky ones, it's not crashed on me either, only shitty steam has crashed in me, which is a given really.

But like you, I'm in love with this game at the moment. It seems......harder than other itterations, especially on the campaign map. I don't know how many goddamn ambushes I've walked into so far! And I thought these people were supposed to be honourable.
 

Barciad

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Apr 23, 2008
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From the demo, it looks like a return to form. For some reason Empire didn't grab me in the same way that Medieval 2 did.
 

Susurrus

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Nov 7, 2008
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Loading times are longer, but I think other criticisms are a bit harsh, in terms of bugs/performance. I've not had any performance problems, and though there do seem to be some issues with multi-core computers, on the whole it seems pretty good. I've had two crashes, but then I've also played it A LOT. I had far more on Medieval 2 (many of them corrupting my saves, forcing a restart).

Bug-wise, it also currently seems much more polished than previous iterations - although pathfinding can be an issue yes - at least you address the bugs though: I've seen so many reviews (PC Gamer particularly) which completely ignored (and even refused to acknowledge them in the face of letters complaining to them) massive, game-breaking bugs of previous CA titles.

The campaign map is much more manageable than Empire or previous, much more detailed, and seems to have much more of an effect on the game. Crucially, it can be used to much more tactical effect. Heavy amounts of forest mean that setting up ambushes is easy - I've launched more ambushes in Shogun than all previous titles put together - and been a victim of a few as well. The way agents work is also vastly improved, so that its not pot-luck as to whether they die on the first mission or not.

The AI is also a tough one, particularly in the battles. What's thrilling (and devastating) is that it really uses speed to its advantage. The amount of times its swung cavalry round my flanks, then suddenly dived somewhere vulnerable and terribly killy, the cavalry charge launched so quickly that I can't react... well, its awesome.
 

Smokej

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Nov 22, 2010
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i love the Total War series, but especially after Empire (which was a step in the worng direction imho) i'm waiting till the mod community adds some realistical depth into the game and finetunes the combat as i'm not a big fan of the Vanilla gameplay. In contrast to the reviewer i want my TW experience to be filled with an huge amount of different units.
 

Susurrus

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Nov 7, 2008
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Huge amount of different units adds nothing, IMO. Here, the emphasis is on tactics, and the slight differences you get from veterancy, from regional bonuses, and from faction specialities. The tactics here are actually more involved than games with more units, as it forces you to use units in appropriate roles, rather than getting unit x, y or z and steamrolling, which is what many different units eventually ends up as. I much prefer this version to those that had loads of units (it also means i don't keep restarting to take advantage of other units...)
 

Snor

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Mar 17, 2009
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its a great game for sure but it has lots of small bugs and the graphics are not updated and are not shown in their full glory before a major patch

bugs include AI not working properly, your online avatar not showing as he should as your general but as your opponents general, faulty registering of matches won/lost when someone disconnects or doesn't etc.

and general hardware to software issues; for me it was no water at all for instance which was easily solved by going back a few drivers

the game itself has much more immersion then the last two, despite the shaky realm divide feature and the lack of hotseat (mod please :p)

wow I sound a bit negative but that's what you can expect in addition to a truly awesome and must buy game
 

DTWolfwood

Better than Vash!
Oct 20, 2009
3,716
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Best TW i've played and i've played most of them, exception being Shogun1 and Medieval1. i have a really beefy rig and for the first time i can play the game on ultra settings and OMG is it an orgasm for the eyes. Watching No-dachi samurai charge into a rank of bow samurai and completely owning face never gets old!
 

The Artificially Prolonged

Random Semi-Frequent Poster
Jul 15, 2008
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Sounds good I will definitely check this out at some point, I've only just started playing Empire and Rome Total War. I have to agree with the reviewer the main problem I've had with the total war series is keeping track of all the stats in the strategic mode as an avid Civ player I have found the menus in total war to be incredibly fustrating and find the in game tutorials have are not very clear or helpful.
 

Tigurus

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Apr 14, 2009
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I now have the game 2 days and I must say that I totally love it.
Loading screens are taking a hell of a time to actually load though.
But I find it rather easy and nice.

I had a rough time with Empire to actually get money or be powerful though.
At the moment, I think Medieval 2 and Rome are my favourite but maysbe after playing more, Shogun 2 will also be there. Though I am more of a conquer Europe kind of guy.

Still need to try multiplayer though.
I'm gonna lose SO hard :(
 

Emergent System

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Feb 27, 2010
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Beyond the improvement to grapics, and making sieges more fun I found this game to be a huge step backwards from Medieval 2.

The scope of the game is just waaaaaaay smaller. A medieval 2 game could take me weeks to complete, same for Rome:TW, but in shogun I can finish one in a couple of days on the longest setting on the hardest difficulty. (I never played the empire ones since they didn't seem appealing, and from what I read they weren't as good either.)

The improvement to the way buildings are constructed (no more tedious queueing) has actually resulted in more boring gameplay despite being a good change. Why? Because now, instead of waiting for buildings to complete, we get to wait for the stupid tech trees to finish their tech advancements. I've lost count of the number of times where I've sat there pressing NEXT TURN over and over again to get a new advancement I'd need, while my gold piles up to the tens or hundreds of thousands.

The worst part for me, though, is how every single faction is basically identical. The Medieval or Rome games had wildly different factions in wildly different starting locations that played completely differently depending on their religion and units, while in Shogun 2 every faction is basically identical, the only real difference being some very minor differences to basic units. I'm pretty sure I can list every unit in the game off the top of my head right now after playing it for a week, and I've seen every area of the map. In Rome or Medieval, I played the games for months before I even saw half the world map.

Also, the Shogun 2 events are far less interesting than those of medieval. In shogun 2 you randomly get more food or income, in medieval the mongol hordes invade and destroy your entire empire if you're not prepared, and the "realm divide" event is far less interesting (since it's compeltely predictable and does the same thing every time) than having to deal with the pope in Medieval. That guy really had it in for me.

There are also many obnoxious limitations that don't make any sense except from a balancing-perspective, like how units can't be retrained or how disbanding decade old veteran units and training new ones from your, now upgraded, regions results in more experienced units with better equipment (bonus accuracy/morale/armor/weapons). At one point I realized that disbanding my veteran katana samurai and simply replacing them with normal ashugari (with +6 experience, +4 melee attack and +2 armor) resulted in more powerful units at a lower cost...

Overall it's not a bad game, but except for the (admittedly significant) improvements to how the battles look, the game doesn't begin to compare to Rome or Medieval 2, which is pretty disappointing.
 

Emergent System

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Feb 27, 2010
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Also, the character talent trees are boring. Every one of my generals basically end up the same, and the same goes for the rest of the characters. In the previous games the characters would develop in fairly random ways that made them feel like they had personalities. When a new son comes of age and he starts with the genius trait I knew I had to make that guy my future warlord, not to mention the sheer hilarity of seeing the ruler of the most powerful empire in the world possess a trait like
"Lacks Manhood: So short on self respect is this man that those who bed his wife laugh about it to his face... Just before passing water on his shoes. -4 Authority."
And the guy would have 10/10 authority in spite of it due to having cut a bloody path of genocide through the entire middle east. Now THAT is amusing, THAT makes me care about my characters. That they'd age and die rather swifthly also played a big role.

In shogun 2 I haven't had a general die to anything other than in battle. Even the clan leader would be alive and happy when 1600 rolls around, not that it'd matter anyway. They guy had 5 stars and maxed loyalty... but so does the heir... and the next 3 replacements in line. In rome/medieval I caerd about my faction leaders because it was bloody difficult to nuture a powerful leader. In shogun 2 all I need to do is throw some random dude into a half a dozen battles and he's already a legend. In medieval or Rome, a powerful general dying in battle, or even to old age, was a tradgedy, because it was fairly hard to get them to that level of expertise. In Shogun I don't really care when a general dies. Takes barely a handful of battles to get anyone to the same level as the guy who just died. Whatever.

Not that I have any choice in the matter. Apparently generals get better at managing TAXES by leading battles, for reasons beyond me.
 

Jandau

Smug Platypus
Dec 19, 2008
5,034
0
0
ARGH! One thing bugs me about this review and every other Shogun 2 review I've seen so far. EVERYONE talks about how Empire had such huge variety of units and such. NO IT DID NOT! It had Line Infantry, Line Infantry and some more Line Infantry. It had terrible variety, all the european nations were almost identical, with the Marathas and Ottomans being unique in that they had really crappy Line Infantry. Compared to Medieval 2 or Rome, where most factions play drastically different (compare playing Romans, Bretons and Greeks in Rome, or Russians, Spain and Turks in Medieval 2) Empire was atrociously monotonous. It was one of the game's many shortcomings.

Sorry about the rant, it's just something that grates on my nerves every time I read/hear it...
 

deckai

New member
Oct 26, 2009
280
0
0
RhombusHatesYou said:
Probably Rome 2 just to get the R:TW fans to finally shut up about it. Or they might pull a Napoleon:TW and focus on the campaigns of a single famous leader from around the same time period as Shogun... So possibly Total War: Nobunaga but I seriously hope not.

I'm still holding out for a Total War game set in the 3 Kingdoms period of China or, In my fanboy dreams, a co-developed project with Firaxis - Civlization: Total War.
Yeah, that's what I thought too. A total war game, that includes the the bigger part of Asia. Or maybe even the whole world...
 

Abedeus

New member
Sep 14, 2008
7,412
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OH DEAR GOD IT'S BEEN THAT LONG ALREADY CHRIST I'M SO OLD

I remember how I played Shogun at my friend's house... I was under 10, so I didn't like it, it was too complicated and shit. Tried playing it recently, couldn't handle the low-res graphics. No, not the graphics themselves... It's just that the game doesn't recognize the new OS like Vista and 7. And probably XP as well. So I couldn't play in even half of my native resolution OR use windowed mode.

Oh well. Now I can make up for it.
 

KiKiweaky

New member
Aug 29, 2008
972
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0
Bought it and have been playing the SH!T out of it.... and alls I can say is wow. The level of detail in the combat is insane, the next time you storm a keep watch you units really closely. You will be amazed at the kind of moves being pulled in the combat.

Saw a rider getting hit with an arrow and instead of horse/rider dying on the spot like most total war games the horse keep moving forward and the rider fell off the back... the little gremlim at the controls in my brain leapt for joy.

Thus yet I havent encounterred any major problems apart from the fact that your men seem to be incapable of taking orders to charge through broken down gates. One unit can hold a gateway alone for ages this way as unlike some of the other total war games your men will not pile through. You can climb the walls if you wish but losing about 25% of the soldiers from climbing up an uncontested wall is a bit silly imo.

Naval combat is a bit meh (empires was far better due to your ships toting cannons) as alot of your ships have bowmen and not cannons. Ive been playing one campaign for a good few hours and I still havent reached cannons yet, theyre pretty far down the tech tree.

Small bit of advice, the AI is far better in the campaign and battles. Get used to the game before you crank up the difficulty.

Very happy with my purchase.

Azmael Silverlance said:
Sometimes i find myself talkin in ENG with JAP ACCENT! Im so into it!
Guilty of that aswell.... BANZAIIIII
 

Tharwen

Ep. VI: Return of the turret
May 7, 2009
9,145
0
0
But the excessive micromanagement in the Campaign screen is the best bit of Total War games!
 

roostuf

New member
Dec 29, 2009
724
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0
got the game already, and its epic.

the graphics are ok on my 4 year old computer, and ive been a total war fan since the time i bought the original shogun.

dawn side, it glitches out like fuck all the time if i dont put the disc in.

thanks steam....
 

Steve Butts

New member
Jun 1, 2010
1,003
0
0
Having played the game solidly for a while and being an expert on the Sengoku period now, this is a very good game representation of the period.
 

cardinalwiggles

is the king of kong
Jun 21, 2009
291
0
0
winter2 said:
I love this game because of it's complexity. There is nothing like seeing a plan coming together. Most times I find myself skipping the battles just so I can go ahead and move my pieces accordingly.

I gotta go.. I have 3 armies pressing around Kyoto while also have a fourth army in the west keeping the pressure on the heathen enemies. Not to mention keeping my main sea routes clear..

:)
i completely do this.
i make all silly little stories up in my head about what im doing. it usually comes together like a plan.
napoleon as russia i had the nothern armies(3) and southern armies (2) with a fleet army(1) the fleet army racing around the globe taking down rouge island nations that are easily defencible
nothern armies taking on prussia and southern armies taking out istanbul.

OT: i imagine this game is alot like that in regards of taking stories for generals.
i really want this game. played the game since rome and loved everyone since. MICROMANAGEMENT FTW.
 

Kragg

New member
Mar 30, 2010
730
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0
Emergent System said:
Also, the character talent trees are boring. Every one of my generals basically end up the same, and the same goes for the rest of the characters. In the previous games the characters would develop in fairly random ways that made them feel like they had personalities. When a new son comes of age and he starts with the genius trait I knew I had to make that guy my future warlord, not to mention the sheer hilarity of seeing the ruler of the most powerful empire in the world possess a trait like
"Lacks Manhood: So short on self respect is this man that those who bed his wife laugh about it to his face... Just before passing water on his shoes. -4 Authority."
And the guy would have 10/10 authority in spite of it due to having cut a bloody path of genocide through the entire middle east. Now THAT is amusing, THAT makes me care about my characters. That they'd age and die rather swifthly also played a big role.

In shogun 2 I haven't had a general die to anything other than in battle. Even the clan leader would be alive and happy when 1600 rolls around, not that it'd matter anyway. They guy had 5 stars and maxed loyalty... but so does the heir... and the next 3 replacements in line. In rome/medieval I caerd about my faction leaders because it was bloody difficult to nuture a powerful leader. In shogun 2 all I need to do is throw some random dude into a half a dozen battles and he's already a legend. In medieval or Rome, a powerful general dying in battle, or even to old age, was a tradgedy, because it was fairly hard to get them to that level of expertise. In Shogun I don't really care when a general dies. Takes barely a handful of battles to get anyone to the same level as the guy who just died. Whatever.

Not that I have any choice in the matter. Apparently generals get better at managing TAXES by leading battles, for reasons beyond me.
i agree completely, biggest annoyances for me personnally are the small rosters, which yes, are accurate i guess. But people see this as a plus to the game while to me this is a huge minus, re-playability on medieval 2 was amazing, not to mention with a mod like stainless steel on it, you could play for months and months.

same stuff that annoyed me in empire and napoleon remains, the clunky way units pathfind or how horsecharges are terribly to do and so much easier to control in medieval 2. any charges really, if 1 guy gets caught behind an enemy the entire line falls apart and a charge loses all momentum. from a 120 man line of men, none of them can get a proper charge of cause the last guy on the flank accidentally engaged in melee. same for getting bowmen behind a line or manoeuvring troops from a flank, to behind your already engaged enemy to charge them in the back :(

i played some multiplay matches, avatar conquest mode, all of them were "general - 2 archer - 2 sword - 2 spear - 1 cav" or small variations on them and it was just a race for who could outmanoever the other faster and kill the general, all matches over in 5 mins max. like a starcraft match where all you could do is rush
 

MrGalactus

New member
Sep 18, 2010
1,849
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BeepBoopBrother said:
This game better have gotten 5 stars.
It was hyped to hell, even on here.
Which is precisely my problem with this review. I can't trust it after all the advertisement it's had on the Escapist.
 

RhombusHatesYou

New member
Mar 21, 2010
5,800
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Kragg said:
how horsecharges are terribly to do and so much easier to control in medieval 2.
Yeah but it took, what? 3 patches before mounted charges actually worked in Medieval 2. Control didn't mean anything when your mounted troops stayed in 'run' mode instead of going into 'charge' mode (and giving all that useful charge bonus)
 

BreakdownBoy

New member
Jan 21, 2011
96
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Take it from me. The review is spot on. Even the problems are correctly described. But still the game is awsome, I actually want to try out all the factions where as in Empire I usually only wanted to play either Britain, France, Spain or India.

The game rocks, your generals' abilities grow with you being allowed to choose the direction. Also the AI is crazy aggressive, well at least on the campaign map. So their is much more epic battles.

I bought this game on Friday and basicly did not leave my PC till Monday morning!
 

UtopiaV1

New member
Feb 8, 2009
493
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0
Great review, thankyou for giving an objective summarization of the game, but of course (as you said) if you're a fan of the Total War series, then nothing is going to sway you for getting this game.

I own every TW game thusfar, and even though my favourite is Medieval 2, I still have a problem with sequels, especially with TW games! There are so many other theatres of conflict in different time periods, we don't need to re-tread old ground. What about one of the hundreds of civil wars China had? Or conquest/colonisation of South America and Africa by European powers? Or even the very earliest wars in the world, like the Babylonian empire and the forging of the Arab empire in the middle-east, north Africa and Spain?

This is only a little grip, but it does irk me that this latest TW is an update of the first game. Still, this new game engine that CA are using has still yet to reach its potential, so I'm still ordering the game. Just wish the settings could be more diverse.
 

Steve Butts

New member
Jun 1, 2010
1,003
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UtopiaV1 said:
I own every TW game thusfar, and even though my favourite is Medieval 2, I still have a problem with sequels, especially with TW games! There are so many other theatres of conflict in different time periods, we don't need to re-tread old ground. What about one of the hundreds of civil wars China had? Or conquest/colonisation of South America and Africa by European powers? Or even the very earliest wars in the world, like the Babylonian empire and the forging of the Arab empire in the middle-east, north Africa and Spain?
The two I have lobbied most for are Battles of the Bible and the American Civil War. Creative likes both ideas but remains unconvinced of their marketability. I get that with biblical period, but I just can't see why Sega doesn't think a Total War set during the American Civil War would actually sell.

According to Creative, there are three main criteria a Total War setting must meet. First, it has to involve conflict between numerous combatants who are all fairly evenly matched. Second, it must include some significant technological advances that change how the war is fought. Finally, the content has to be cool.

The American Civil War obviously doesn't meet the first requirement, and the biblical wars probably don't meet the third, although that's largely a matter of interpretation. Personally I think Hittites and Canaanites and Assyrians are cool.
 

Emergent System

New member
Feb 27, 2010
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It would be interesting to see games dealing with conflicts I don't know anything about (I know pretty much nothing about the military conflicts of mainland asia, for example), but how are you gonna sell a game with the title 'Total War: Conflcits Almost Nobody (in the west) Have Ever Heard Of'?

Rome, the middle ages, even the shogun games, they all have a nice huge reservoir of pop culture to draw people's interest from. Everyone learned about european history in school, and the presence of eastern culture is inescapable even in the west. Anyone who is even remotely in the target audience for a game like this knows what a ninja and a samurai is, and ancient japanese culture is very well stereotyped in most people's minds, through TV and movies.

What other historically volatile periods do people know enough about to care? Honestly, it would be pretty hard to get me to care about civil wars in ancient china, or fights between unknown tribes and kingdoms in the deserts of the middle east. The mongols seem pretty cool, but as far as I know they sorta just steamrolled every semblance of opposition they encountered.
 

UtopiaV1

New member
Feb 8, 2009
493
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Steve Butts said:
The two I have lobbied most for are Battles of the Bible and the American Civil War. Creative likes both ideas but remains unconvinced of their marketability. I get that with biblical period, but I just can't see why Sega doesn't think a Total War set during the American Civil War would actually sell.

According to Creative, there are three main criteria a Total War setting must meet. First, it has to involve conflict between numerous combatants who are all fairly evenly matched. Second, it must include some significant technological advances that change how the war is fought. Finally, the content has to be cool.

The American Civil War obviously doesn't meet the first requirement, and the biblical wars probably don't meet the third, although that's largely a matter of interpretation. Personally I think Hittites and Canaanites and Assyrians are cool.
Awesome ideas, although there is already a couple of American Civil War mods for Empire, so that seems to have been done (I really love the modding communities surrounding TW games, they make such great content!). As for the biblical battles, sound pretty cool! Religious rhetoric always has such a punch when combined with military might :p

You're in contact with CA? Awesome, I hear they have the lowest turnover of staff in the biz. Like, only 70 guys in their Sussex branch, probably the same 70 who made the original Shogun! During my Games Programming course at uni, I always wanted to work for them afterwards. Shame I turned out to be a rubbish programmer, but I still love history.

Emergent System said:
It would be interesting to see games dealing with conflicts I don't know anything about (I know pretty much nothing about the military conflicts of mainland asia, for example), but how are you gonna sell a game with the title 'Total War: Conflcits Almost Nobody (in the west) Have Ever Heard Of'?

Rome, the middle ages, even the shogun games, they all have a nice huge reservoir of pop culture to draw people's interest from. Everyone learned about european history in school, and the presence of eastern culture is inescapable even in the west. Anyone who is even remotely in the target audience for a game like this knows what a ninja and a samurai is, and ancient japanese culture is very well stereotyped in most people's minds, through TV and movies.

What other historically volatile periods do people know enough about to care? Honestly, it would be pretty hard to get me to care about civil wars in ancient china, or fights between unknown tribes and kingdoms in the deserts of the middle east. The mongols seem pretty cool, but as far as I know they sorta just steamrolled every semblance of opposition they encountered.
They did a Mongol expansion for the original Shogun, but it didn't encompass all their many many many campaigns, just the failed invasions of Japan in the 11th century. Which is what you'd expect for a Shogun expansion, but still...

I tend to think that most TW players are real history buffs, so CA's core audience would know a fair bit about other conflicts. People not knowing about a war shouldn't stop them playing a game about it! Besides, I though CA prided themselves on the amount of history knowledge they put in their games. I've learnt so much from those pop-ups when building units and buildings on the campaign maps in their games :p

I wish people wouldn't hide behind the shield of "Don't know, don't want to know" about other theatres of war. Sure, it'll be difficult to market, but this industry used to push boundaries dammit! Oh well, there's nothing one man can do about it. That's what TW games taught me, a group of people working together with a single purpose is more terrifying than a nuclear bomb!
 

RhombusHatesYou

New member
Mar 21, 2010
5,800
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Steve Butts said:
The two I have lobbied most for are Battles of the Bible and the American Civil War. Creative likes both ideas but remains unconvinced of their marketability. I get that with biblical period, but I just can't see why Sega doesn't think a Total War set during the American Civil War would actually sell.
If I was the Creative Assembly I wouldn't touch the American Civil War, either. They'd have a choice between pandering to the popular mythos surrounding why the war was fought, laying the historical smackdown, or some half-hearted compromise that'd piss everyone off. That's a no win situation in the US market.

It's also questionable how much interest such a game would garner outside the US market. Call me Nelly Negative but I get the feeling that an American Civil War game for the Total War franchise would sell mostly on the franchise name rather than the subject matter outside of the US, at least as a full game.

As an expansion pack such as M2:TW - Kingdoms and the like and what Napoleon should have been for E:TW, it would probably work much better... it would have worked best as an expansion for either Empire or Napoleon, IMO.
 

KuwaSanjuro

New member
Dec 22, 2010
245
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Hope Yahtzee does a review of it, seeing he is a big PC fan don't know whether he'll like it or not but it'll be funny as always.
 

Bruce Edwards

New member
Feb 17, 2010
71
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0
UtopiaV1 said:
Steve Butts said:
The two I have lobbied most for are Battles of the Bible and the American Civil War. Creative likes both ideas but remains unconvinced of their marketability. I get that with biblical period, but I just can't see why Sega doesn't think a Total War set during the American Civil War would actually sell.

According to Creative, there are three main criteria a Total War setting must meet. First, it has to involve conflict between numerous combatants who are all fairly evenly matched. Second, it must include some significant technological advances that change how the war is fought. Finally, the content has to be cool.

The American Civil War obviously doesn't meet the first requirement, and the biblical wars probably don't meet the third, although that's largely a matter of interpretation. Personally I think Hittites and Canaanites and Assyrians are cool.
Awesome ideas, although there is already a couple of American Civil War mods for Empire, so that seems to have been done (I really love the modding communities surrounding TW games, they make such great content!). As for the biblical battles, sound pretty cool! Religious rhetoric always has such a punch when combined with military might :p

You're in contact with CA? Awesome, I hear they have the lowest turnover of staff in the biz. Like, only 70 guys in their Sussex branch, probably the same 70 who made the original Shogun! During my Games Programming course at uni, I always wanted to work for them afterwards. Shame I turned out to be a rubbish programmer, but I still love history.

Emergent System said:
It would be interesting to see games dealing with conflicts I don't know anything about (I know pretty much nothing about the military conflicts of mainland asia, for example), but how are you gonna sell a game with the title 'Total War: Conflcits Almost Nobody (in the west) Have Ever Heard Of'?

Rome, the middle ages, even the shogun games, they all have a nice huge reservoir of pop culture to draw people's interest from. Everyone learned about european history in school, and the presence of eastern culture is inescapable even in the west. Anyone who is even remotely in the target audience for a game like this knows what a ninja and a samurai is, and ancient japanese culture is very well stereotyped in most people's minds, through TV and movies.

What other historically volatile periods do people know enough about to care? Honestly, it would be pretty hard to get me to care about civil wars in ancient china, or fights between unknown tribes and kingdoms in the deserts of the middle east. The mongols seem pretty cool, but as far as I know they sorta just steamrolled every semblance of opposition they encountered.
They did a Mongol expansion for the original Shogun, but it didn't encompass all their many many many campaigns, just the failed invasions of Japan in the 11th century. Which is what you'd expect for a Shogun expansion, but still...

I tend to think that most TW players are real history buffs, so CA's core audience would know a fair bit about other conflicts. People not knowing about a war shouldn't stop them playing a game about it! Besides, I though CA prided themselves on the amount of history knowledge they put in their games. I've learnt so much from those pop-ups when building units and buildings on the campaign maps in their games :p

I wish people wouldn't hide behind the shield of "Don't know, don't want to know" about other theatres of war. Sure, it'll be difficult to market, but this industry used to push boundaries dammit! Oh well, there's nothing one man can do about it. That's what TW games taught me, a group of people working together with a single purpose is more terrifying than a nuclear bomb!
Thinking through the CA requirements, the only periods that spring to my mind (and haven't been done yet) are either more modern (The Great War, and WWII) or more ancient (the wars between Greek city states).

The Greek wars could be represented with the existing engine - even the Athenian navy - however it could quickly become regarded as 'Rome Lite' and may not feature enough game-changing technological innovation.

The Great War features game-changing technological advances throughout, numerous combatants of roughly equal power. However some form of battlefield deformation may be required - something the current engine would probably struggle with - and the 'cool' factor may not be there.
 

Undeadpool

New member
Aug 17, 2009
209
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Uh oh! Sounds like some things got streamlined...which means the fanboys get to pull out their favorite buzzphrase: "Dumbed down."
 

GothmogII

Possessor Of Hats
Apr 6, 2008
2,215
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0
Undeadpool said:
Uh oh! Sounds like some things got streamlined...which means the fanboys get to pull out their favorite buzzphrase: "Dumbed down."
Dumbed down? Hah, hardly. The AI is still quite difficult even on normal, and while there's less units overall each of the clans feels distinct from one another. Not to mention, that the additions to the levelling systems for generals and specialist units means the the game offers an even wider variety of choices on the main map. Do you want your ninja to specialise in assassinations or sabotage or scouting? Prefer your monks up front and helping out the army or have them travel around the provinces sowing discord?

Not to mention, that once you've taken about 20 or so provinces in a long game you risk a realm divide, this basically means almost -every- single faction on the map (including the Shogunate if you haven't already taken them out) will rise up against you, making the game un-winnable unless you've built up the right combination of forces and infrastructure. This is a game where pure force does not work, as in order to win a campaign you need not only to capture a certain number of provinces + Kyoto and a selection of specific provinces depending on your clan but you must hold those too, and this can be difficult what with rebels if you don't appease the serfs and all the other clans knocking on your doorstep.
 

Undeadpool

New member
Aug 17, 2009
209
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GothmogII said:
Undeadpool said:
Uh oh! Sounds like some things got streamlined...which means the fanboys get to pull out their favorite buzzphrase: "Dumbed down."
Dumbed down? Hah, hardly. The AI is still quite difficult even on normal, and while there's less units overall each of the clans feels distinct from one another. Not to mention, that the additions to the levelling systems for generals and specialist units means the the game offers an even wider variety of choices on the main map. Do you want your ninja to specialise in assassinations or sabotage or scouting? Prefer your monks up front and helping out the army or have them travel around the provinces sowing discord?

Not to mention, that once you've taken about 20 or so provinces in a long game you risk a realm divide, this basically means almost -every- single faction on the map (including the Shogunate if you haven't already taken them out) will rise up against you, making the game un-winnable unless you've built up the right combination of forces and infrastructure. This is a game where pure force does not work, as in order to win a campaign you need not only to capture a certain number of provinces + Kyoto and a selection of specific provinces depending on your clan but you must hold those too, and this can be difficult what with rebels if you don't appease the serfs and all the other clans knocking on your doorstep.
Yyyyyyyyeah, I wasn't personally saying it was dumbed down, I'm saying that lately every time something gets streamlined, the majority hold up their hands triumphantly and say "THANK YOU!" while a small, pissed off group wring theirs and screech about how they're "only trying to appeal to the mainstream by dumbing everything down!"
What they, of course, fail to realize is that the main reason the games they reference (on older systems) were so difficult wasn't the result of devs having more "respect" for our ability to play games, but rather only having space to make a game that's about two hours long from start to stop. To alleviate this, they made them RIDICULOUSLY hard.
 

Icenflame

New member
May 4, 2010
5
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Looking forward to getting this Title through Steam on pay-day. I've enjoyed the Total War series immensely and I'll take it buggy or not!
 

fgdfgdgd

New member
May 9, 2009
692
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I'd just like to point out one little thing in the video, it may be the graphics card or another issue, but WHY IS THE HORSE BLUE AT 0:25?
 

Althus

New member
Sep 24, 2010
52
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0
Just got this game now, was just waiting for the rigth time that was today steam deal weekends :), got to love those.
Only played the Original 10 ago and love it, and skipped all the others, lets see what did they learn in 10 years.

And sorry for bumping this treat in a few months.
 

Dalton Hayes

New member
Apr 5, 2010
16
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haha, steve butts. ive been on this site for 2 years and it still gets me everytime. ahhh im so immature. but ya i love this game.
 

Darth_Dude

New member
Jul 11, 2008
1,302
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Dalton Hayes said:
haha, steve butts. ive been on this site for 2 years and it still gets me everytime. ahhh im so immature. but ya i love this game.
I imagine Mr. Butts (hehe) went through alot of bullying during school..