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radiofloyd

Total War: Shogun 2

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I checked my receipt and I bought this game for €9.99 on December 31 2011. Better late than never. I loved Rome Total War and I also played a fair bit of Empire Total War (which I shamelessly pirated once I had access to mega-fast internet in university). But I think it’s safe to say that I haven’t played a Total War game in ten years.

 

The game opens with an awesome cut scene. 

 

 

After that I played the ridiculously long tutorial which took about two hours (and you can’t save in the middle). But at least it was thorough. In the course of the tutorial I played one battle and once was enough, I’ve never enjoyed the battles in TW games. I’ll start a proper campaign tomorrow.

 

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2011 graphics.

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Played a couple of hours of a campaign, starting as the Chosokabe clan in Shikoku who are the same clan as in the tutorial. Their starting difficulty is labeled as easy (it has been so far). I chose a short campaign.

 

It’s been too long since I played a Total War game for me to know exactly what’s changed from previous games (aside from the obvious), but there are some things I don’t remember being in previous games. You now have two separate construction queues for settlements (mostly military and recreational buildings) and provinces (resource and infrastructure related). The technology/research tree is now called the “Master of Arts” and it’s roughly split between military and non-military. What you can build and recruit is tied to the arts you have researched (come to think of it I’m sure Rome had something very similar). Generals gain experience and also have their own skill trees. There are some clan management options (you can marry your daughters with your generals) and diplomatic options (offer a daughter for marriage, offer a hostage) that I’m not sure if they were in previous games.

 

I’m not sure if it was even necessary to play the tutorial because the advisor does a good job of explaining everything as you play through the game and when you open menus. This part of the game is really well done. Also the game gives you mini-objectives to aim for aside from the main victory objective. Completing these mini-objectives gives you temporary bonuses or military units or other various rewards.

 

One thing I will say is that the music is very minimal and after playing through this  campaign I’ll probably listen to my own music after that. Which is a bit of a shame as I loved the map music in Rome. Although, I did hear a piece of music (called “Sakura”) which I had learned myself in the brief time I was learning to play the koto, which was a bit of a “holy fuck” moment. This piece:

 

 

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It’s strange playing this as an adult because I have more of an awareness of the complexities of the game, which I probably didn’t have when I was younger (although it’s also possible that Rome was a simpler game). Shogun 2 is complex in the sense that you have to balance financial growth with the size of your army,  having a large army will eat into your finances. Actually there is a kind of central complexity to the game, when deciding what to do next there are always alternative options or different things you can prioritise. 

 

I don’t know if it was in previous games but you can tell the strength of an enemy’s army by the number of stripes on their banner, which is very helpful.

 

I’ve already started listening to my own music while playing the game which should be a point against but...I love listening to music so if anything it’s a plus.

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