Total War: Shogun 2
||This article may require copy editing for grammar, style, cohesion, tone, or spelling. (May 2013)|
|Total War: Shogun 2|
|Developer(s)||The Creative Assembly|
|Composer(s)||Jeff van Dyck|
|Release date(s)||15 March 2011|
|Genre(s)||Turn-based strategy, real-time tactics|
|Distribution||DVD-ROM, digital distribution|
Total War: Shogun 2 is a strategy video game developed by The Creative Assembly and published by Sega. It is part of the Total War series and returns to the 16th-century Japan setting of the first Total War game, Shogun: Total War, after a series of games set mainly in Europe.
Shogun 2 is set in 16th-century feudal Japan, in the aftermath of the Ōnin War during the Ashikaga Shogunate. The country is fractured into rival clans led by local warlords, each fighting for control. The player takes on the management of one of these clans, with the goal of dominating other factions and claiming his rule over Japan. The standard edition of the game features a total of eight factions (plus a ninth faction for the tutorial), each with a unique starting position and different political and military strengths. The limited edition includes an exclusive ninja clan, the Hattori, and a DLC unlocks a tenth clan, the Ikko-Ikki.
The game moves away from the European setting of previous Total War games and returns to the first setting in the Total War series, but making significant changes to core gameplay elements of Shogun 2. Compared to Empire which spanned almost the entire globe, the new installment focuses only on the islands of Japan (excluding Hokkaido) and on a reduced number of unit types.
Shogun 2 was released on 15 March 2011 and received critical praise from reviewers, often for its simplification and refinement of the series by returning to its roots. A standalone expansion set Total War: Shogun 2: Fall of the Samurai was released in 2012.
Shogun 2's blend of turn-based strategy and real-time tactics gameplay is a staple of the Total War series. The player plays the role of both the clan leader and general, alternating between the campaign, where the player manages his land and armies turn by turn, and the battles, where the player takes control of the army on the battlefield in real-time.
In the campaign, the player needs to oversee the development of settlements, military production, economic growth, and technological advancement. The armies and units are organised and moved around the stylised campaign map by the player to carry out battles with other factions. In addition to fighting, the player is able to engage in diplomacy, political manoeuvring, and special agents to gain the upper hand. Ninja and geisha are also present in the game as assassins and spies. While religion isn't as relevant as it was in Medieval II: Total War, it can't be neglected by the player. Greater interaction with the European foreigners (Nanban traders), for example, to enhance trade and acquire firearms, exposes the clan to Christianity, which will seriously increase religious unrest in the provinces. Religious agents, such as monks and priests can be used to convert the enemy population.
There are nine major clans that inhabit the provinces of Japan which the player chooses from There are others, including the "Akamasu retainer clan". All Clans have particular advantages in certain areas, to give a variety of play style with each.
- The Chosokabe clan inhabit Tosa province and can recruit superior bow infantry and generate more income from farming.
- The Date clan control Iwate and can recruit superior no-dachi samurai, all their units also get a bonus when charging.
- The Hojo clan are great builders and siege specialists who inhabit Izu and Sagami.
- The Mori clan inhabit Aki and have a long history of naval mastery.
- The Oda clan are efficient commanders of ashigaru and are settled in Owari.
- The Shimazu clan inhabit Satsuma and can recruit superior katana-armed samurai, their generals are also more loyal to their clan.
- The Takeda clan warlords preside over Kai and recruit superior cavalry.
- The Tokugawa clan inhabit Mikawa province and rely on diplomatic relations and the recruitment of better warrior ninja and metsuke.
- The Uesugi clan control Echigo and specialise in Buddhism, allowing them to recruit better monks and warrior monks as well as generating more income from trading.
There are also three factions available as downloadable content (the Hattori faction came complimentary with preorders of the game, however):
- The Hattori are the leading family in Iga and recruit specialised ninja and warrior ninja with more expertise.
- The Ikko-Ikki clan are a "family" of religious rebels that control Echizen and Kaga and recruit Ronin and superior warrior monks.
- The Otomo clan control Bungo Province and Buzen Province, they start under the Catholic faith and can recruit superior firearm units, as well as Portuguese Elite Infantry.
In Total War: Shogun 2, leaders and generals are given personality and depth in gameplay, with emphasis on role-playing. Generals and agents are portrayed as "larger-than-life" heroes with unique characteristics and powerful abilities. The player is able to improve and unlock traits and special abilities for the characters as they gain experience. However, the player may also be inclined to engage in family politics within the clan to keep its members loyal.
The battles of Shogun 2 involve large-scale engagements between armies that meet on the campaign map and can take place on land or on water. The developers proclaim they are paying particular attention to re-designing the naval and siege battles appropriate to the new setting. In contrast to European castles and forts, the castles in feudal Japan had multiple tiers, and thus the siege battles in the game will put less focus on wall defences but more on courtyard brawls and tactical manoeuvring. Also, the players will fight naval battles with unique Japanese ships resembling "floating castles", and take into consideration melees on ships, arrow fire, coastal terrain, and other factors.
Like the recent instalments, Empire and Napoleon: Total War, the weather and climatic conditions have an effect on battles. For example, fog 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.
Shogun 2 features multiplayer battles with up to 8 players as well as multiplayer campaigns involving competitive or cooperative play with 2 players. In a multiplayer campaign, players can be grouped into different clans, so that for each clan, one player assumes the role of clan leader and others take command of armies. The clan leader has the ability to direct other players and assign rewards based on loyalty and performance, introducing clan politics into multiplayer. As a player's army invades an enemy territory or is attacked by enemy armies, the online matchmaker finds a suitable opponent and initiates a multiplayer battle. When a player defeats enemy armies and conquers territories, the player will gain points and other bonuses for the clan. In addition, an achievement system is designed to provide adhering players with unique abilities and cosmetic upgrades.
Shogun 2 was released in four different editions. The "Standard Edition" contains just the game, while the "Limited Edition" additionally makes playable a unique faction with special talents (the Hattori Clan), an additional historical battle scenario 'Nagashino', a complete set of armour for the player's online avatar and a starting bank of experience points to spend on that online character. The "Collector's Edition" includes the "Limited Edition" content as well as a replica bamboo box containing a Shogun 2 art book and a detailed figurine of Takeda Shingen. The"Grand Master's Edition" consists of the "Collector's Edition", as well as a bamboo Shogun 2 themed chess set, currently exclusive to select stores in the UK and Australia.
Players who pre-ordered at GameStop (online or in-store) will unlock and take part in the historic Battle of Kawagoe. Set in 1545, the Battle of Kawagoe saw the Hojo clan launch a successful night time counter-attack against the besieging Uesugi, eschewing heavy armour in favour of speed and stealth. Those who pre-ordered at Best Buy (online or in-store only) will unlock 1,000 Koku, the currency used in Total War: Shogun 2. Player's campaigns will begin with 1,000 Koku, allowing them to purchase new buildings, train new units and upgrade their towns.
As a special pre-order bonus, Steam announced the "Shogun Pack" for Team Fortress 2. This was given to players who purchased Total War: Shogun 2 before its release date. The pack consists of eight feudal Japan-themed items, including a sashimono, katana, kunai and gunbai. It should be noted that these items do not affect Shogun 2 in any way and can only be used in Team Fortress 2. Steam also released the Total War Collection on 10 March 2012. This consisted of Empire: Total War, Medieval II: Total War, Rome: Total War, and Napoleon: Total War. It also included Total War: Shogun 2 which could be preloaded on 14 March.
- "The Ikko-Ikki Clan Pack" (released on 26 May 2011) adds the "warrior monk" clan to Shogun 2 and a wide variety of brand-new content for use across the different game modes of Shogun 2. It is new clan for use in single or multiplayer Campaign modes and Custom and Multiplayer Battles. There are 8 new unit-variants specific to the Ikko-Ikki clan; new technology tree; new historical battle, Nagashima 1574 (Ikko-Ikki vs. Oda); Ikko-Ikki armour set for Avatar – includes hood, robes and barefoot leg-pieces; and new Retainers for use in the Avatar Conquest mode.
- "Sengoku Jidai Unit Pack" adds ten new elite units for multiplayer and singleplayer game modes. Along with this DLC pack came a patch which fixed several bugs and revamped unit balancing in multiplayer game modes.
- "Saints and Heros Unit Pack" adds nine new hero units for multiplayer and single-player game modes. Along with this DLC pack came a patch which fixed several bugs and revamped unit balancing in multiplayer game modes.
- "Rise of the Samurai Campaign", set 400 years before the dramatic civil war depicted in Shogun 2, is based on the Genpei War, a conflict between six legendary clans of the Taira, Minamoto and Fujiwara families. It culminated in the first Shogunate, and the rise of the Samurai as the ruling class. Rise of the Samurai DLC pack adds new units in multiplayer and single player battles. The pack adds 16 new land units spread across swordsmen, spearmen, archers, and cavalry; 4 new Hero units; 10 new naval units and 3 new naval special abilities; and 4 new agent types with their own unique skill trees, and a new historical battle of Anegawa (1570).
- "The Hattori Clan Pack" includes all four unlocks previously only available in Total War: Shogun 2 Limited Edition. The Hattori clan are masters of the Iga-ryu ninjutsu – a unique collection of martial skills and guerrilla techniques. This additional in-game faction is available for use in single or multiplayer Campaign modes and Custom and Multiplayer Battles. It includes the most powerful battlefield ninja units. The Battle of Nagashino (historical scenario) saw an alliance between the Oda and Tokugawa clans clashing against the legendary Takeda clan in 1575.
- "Blood Pack" adds blood and gore visual effects as well as the appropriate sound effects.
- "The Otomo Clan Pack" adds a Christian clan with slightly changed research tree and more "Westernized" units.
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Total War: Shogun 2 received critical acclaim, holding aggregate review scores of 90 percent and 89 percent on Metacritic and GameRankings respectively. IGN gave it a 9/10 praising GameSpot reviewer Daniel Shannon has called it the "best Total War yet".
Alan Blair (lead campaign programmer), Kevin McDowell (lead artist) and Scott Pitkethley (lead battle programmer) won British Academy Video Games Awards for Total War: Shogun 2 for best strategy game.
Total War: Shogun 2: Fall of the Samurai
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