Total War: Shogun 2 Review

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Total War: Shogun 2 Review

Creative Assembly remakes the game that started it all.

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This game better have gotten 5 stars.
It was hyped to hell, even on here.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

I was never a fan of the Total War series, but it looks quite interesting indeed.

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...

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.

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..

:)

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.

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.

Double A:
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.

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:
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:

(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.

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 :/

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...

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.

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.

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

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.

Slycne:

Double A:
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:

Double A:
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.

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

"...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.

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.

Double A:
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.

Crimsane:
"...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.

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.

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.

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.

Wow. Cinematic AND Compelling both within the first paragraph :P

Slycne:

Double A:
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.

cschraer:

CrystalShadow:

(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.)

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.

FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU-

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.

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