Fall of the Samurai is a "standalone expansion" meaning you don't need the original to play.
Based on the glowing endorsement from Mr. Steve Butts, I gave Shogun 2 a whirl in the summer doldrums and immediately regretted not dipping my toes into its satisfying blend of strategy and setting sooner. It appears that Creative Assembly - the UK-based house behind the Total War brand - have not been idle since the game's release in March, announcing a standalone expansion that advances Shogun 2's technology and politics to the mid 19th century. New units wielding better guns, steam-powered ships and the first railways seen in a Total War game are just some of the features that I'll be jonesing to dive into - whenever Creative Assembly gets around to announcing a release date.
"Fall of the Samurai explores the conflict between the Imperial throne and the last Shogunate in 19th century Japan, 400 years after the events of the original game," reads the announcement, promising "a dramatic clash of traditional Samurai culture with the explosive power of modern weaponry."
The standalone expansion features a new map that updates islands of Japan to the new era of 1864 and adds a new island - Ezo - to the north, expanding the scope of the game. You'll also have six new clans to choose like those supporting the Shogunate (Aizu, Nagaoka, Jozai) or the Imperial clans (Choshu, Satsuma, Tosa).
Shogun 2 already offered some gameplay centered around European influence on Japanese clans, but Fall of the Samurai revels in it. There are 39 new land units like the gatling gun and the Armstrong gun, and you will also be able to recruit units directly from the British Royal Marines, US Marine Corps and French Marines. Railroads will also figure prominently as building or capturing them will allow you to move troops and agents quickly across the island.
The most interesting addition - at least to me - are the interactions between naval and land units. New ironclad ships will be able to support ground troops with artillery barrages and the new port siege battle will have cannons firing on attacking ships. The opportunities for interaction between land and sea units is just what the game needed; I often felt like the two different modes needed to feel more connected.
As if that weren't enough, there will be new agents - the Foreign Veteran, the Ishin Shishi and the Shinshengumi - and updated trees for the Ninja and Geisha, as well as new multiplayer options.
There's no word on what the price for all this content will be, but it looks like Creative Assembly are pulling no punches with The Fall of the Samurai. If it ends up being priced less than a full PC title, then playing it will be nothing less than the plundering of Japanese culture by the West.
Source: Total War blog