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In this review I will be going through the base game and the two other expansions individually to make you decide what products you should get. First I’ll start with Shogun 2.
Total War: Shogun 2 is the Seventh game in the Total War series, and the Sequel to the Original Shogun: Total War, which was the first game of the series. Taking place in Feudal Japan following the middle Ages, you can play as one of several warlords, or factions, whose job it is to take over and unite Japan under one ruler. Each faction has their own strengths and weaknesses, Economic, Political, and militarily. There are several DLC's for Shogun 2, including; Rise of the Samurai, Fall of the Samurai, The Dragon War Battle, as well as several downloadable clan packs. Unlike previous games in the series, Shogun 2 takes place only in Japan and not Europe or the overall world as a whole. SHOGUN II offers the best polish, balance and innovative multiplayer system of all Total War titles, arguably the best in the series. The immersion created by Shogun 2 is far greater than any TW title. In the battles, each soldier looks and acts like a real person: they walk and charge with different animations, and they all die in different ways. The stylized UI and player cards, beautiful scenery, and music add so much to the feel of the game. It's just so good. A perfect score composed using many Japanese instruments to convey the mood. Overall the soundtrack is very enjoyable. It makes you feel that you actually in that time period fighting against other clans in Japan. I really enjoyed the hours I spent in this wonderful game. Though shogun 2 is more in depth than the original it is just as addictive game, and it’s a lot more stressful than Civ5, but just as hard to walk away from. If you like grand strategy, giving orders to your regiments on a tactical level mixed with historically accurate factions, environments and equipment, this game is definitely for you! The battle AI is much improved as well. I can't really use Empire:TW as an example because I don’t own it, so I'll use Med2. The battle AI attacks head on without delay when on the offensive, defends smartly when on the defensive, and knows when to pull back and regroup. One small complaint I've found in the battle AI is from time to time the AI knows when I tell my cavalry to attack a bow unit and the bow unit starts’ running before my cavalry even gets there. It's like it detects the attack "click". When I tell my cavalry to move to behind the enemy bow units instead of clicking on them to attack I get the surprise attack I wanted to begin with. Another flaw is the AI that is not too amazing (Not awful either though) are some of the lesser points of the game The AI is very keen on plundering your lands, which ends up being more of a pain in the...Rear end than entertaining as you have to repair -yet another- farm and hunt down another four units of spearmen that ran past your defense and just keeps running away from you. It does mean that you can't really sit in your fort all the time and let the enemy come to you, but in the end you don't really gain anything aside from a headache from hunting down all the little armies running through your land. Luckily there are river crossings and mountains you can stand by to block most of the enemy from getting through. Although it can be improved with DarthMod which I recommend to anybody who wants to buy this, and they use cavalry quite well to surround you and get behind your lines. They know when to attack vs. defend on a hill, and support weakened units with reserves. The Great Avatar conquest system in multiplayer is a great touch and is SIMLAR TO NOTHING CREATED IN ANY OTHER TW GAME. All those faction systems are not even a bit as deep as Avatar conquest in Shogun 2. Nothing can compare with this. Yes it is really rough to new players. But if you have enough patience eventually you will enjoy Avatar conquest like nothing else before. Also I really like coalition system as you grow strong and everyone else are turning against you even your vassals and allies. This feature is UNIQUE TO THIS GAME and makes you plan your strategy really carefully trying not to overextend too much. And that's great because for example in Rome 2 you just pierce through your enemies like a knife through butter and no one can stop you in the late game at all, so in the mid game you simply lose interest to game process because of no challenge what so ever.
Almost every aspect of the game is done the way it should be, battles, sieges, clan system, agents, diplomacy, heck even naval battles. You will have plenty of choices and options for your empire and they are all meaningful in some way. You can embrace the new western technology and get yourself some guns, take on Christianity or stick to the old ways, eventually becoming the ruler of Japan. All of this comes with you being able to manage your entire clan - Build your holdings, expand them, train units and send your military to where they're needed and command the battles yourself. Naval battles of ancient Japan (Floating castles and archers which adds a UNIQUE TOUCH) are an interesting thing, with entirely new tactics to learn - Which you can do yourself. You can lead your clan from humble beginnings to glory, personally commanding every battle on the way there. Watch those forts though - They may look simple, but they are not to be underestimated. Attrition and seasons add a nice strategic layer: you can't always afford to starve out cities but storming them will always be costly. I also like the weather mechanics like fog which greatly reduces visibility, while heavy rain diminishes the effectiveness of missile troops, such as archers or gunners, thus requiring the players to adapt their strategies. Also, as in Napoleon, armies standing on enemy provinces during winter season or fleets far from the coast suffer attrition. The campaign mechanics, such as the family tree and events you can encounter, really make you connect with your leaders. I also like the idea of generals being used more to help other units on the battlefield compared to them being used more as cavalry.
Now on to Rise of the Samurai
In rise of the samurai players take on a brand new and independent campaign for Total War: Shogun 2 set in 12th century Japan. Set 400 years before the dramatic civil war depicted in Total War: Shogun 2, the "Rise of The Samurai" campaign is based on the Gempei War, a conflict between six legendary clans of the Taira, Minamoto and Fujiwara families. One flaw I have is that I don’t like that the first towns you get don’t have castles in them which makes them harder to defend, but that’s more of my problem just being used to some sort of castle like in shogun 2, and not so much a dig on CA. Also I thought the agents were perhaps a touch too powerful, Sou's in particular can unleash some devastating rebellions while I also never seemed to lose any agents (apart from Monomi) to failed attempts? New agents are hired through such new structures as the barter house. To unlock these, Rise of the Samurai specific arts trees must be climbed. Creative Assembly has thoroughly Genpei-fied almost every aspect of the game. I enjoy how this game adds the UNIQUE prequel story that’s not in other TW games
Now on to fall of the Samurai
It’s the 1860's and Japan has opened its ports to the outside world such as the United States, France, and Great Britain in to heavily influence the game which is UNIQUE. The play off between traditional sword and bow unit’s verses the emerging gunpowder technology creates an experience that is UNIQUE to the Total War series. I also like that in this expansion happiness seems more like a problem to me because some buildings increase modernization which citzens hate which is UNIQUE. Overall a very enjoyable game 9.5/10