I've always been a tad intimidated by the Total War series. Honestly, who wouldn't be, at first glance? It's one of the most complex real-time strategy franchises around. One that has spawned a lot of entries and garnered millions of fans around the world. This time we're sent back to Japan for another go at unifying the country under one banner, with plenty of war, swords and of course, honor.
Under a similar engine that powered previous Total War game, Napoleon, SHOGUN 2 is absolutely gorgeous to look at. But don't get distracted by its impressive locales and scale, underneath the pretty visuals lies a lot of complex micromanagement and strategy creation.
The strategy comes into play rather early in the already lengthy single player campaign. SHOGUN 2 gives you a small window of time for you to familiarize yourself with the controls and interface before it kicks you off the boat and into the heat of battle. Things start off rather intensely as you're tasked with taking back villages that were conquered by a rival shogun and quickly move on to taking out said enemy.
Every battle plays out differently, even if you replay levels. The artificial intelligence that powers the enemy side is relatively smart, considering the number of units it has to handle, which can easily surpass the hundreds very early on in the game. Your own subordinates usually know where to go once you point out your orders, but will sometimes get stuck in more complex geometries depending on the map, like hills or steeper inclines. Thankfully it's easy to keep track of units when you're able to simply pause the battle and look around for stragglers.
If you grow tired of battling by yourself, SHOGUN 2 offers a pretty hefty set of multiplayer options to take your conquering band of samurai online, by either dropping a truce flag and recruiting a fellow warlord for a cooperative campaign or head-to-head skirmishes. I was naturally often defeated by more skilled shogun online, but there's truly a lot for the dedicated leader if they get tired of fighting against the computer.
Sega's been doing a great job promoting the Total War games and it wouldn't surprise me if SHOGUN 2 continues to receive improvements in the form of DLC for a long while. This is a huge game and it certainly calls for more expansions and options in the future. Overlord says so. He grows restless. |9