Total War: Shogun 2

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Total War: Shogun 2
Shogun 2 Total War box art.jpg
Developer(s)Creative Assembly
Director(s)Mike Simpson
Producer(s)Ross Manton
Designer(s)James Russell
Jamie Ferguson
Programmer(s)Richard Broadhurst
Charlie Dell
Artist(s)Kevin McDowell
Joss Adley
Writer(s)Mike Brunton
Dion Lay
Kate Watson
Composer(s)Jeff van Dyck
SeriesTotal War
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows
ReleaseMicrosoft Windows
15 March 2011
31 July 2014
23 May 2017
Genre(s)Turn-based strategy, real-time tactics
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Total War: Shogun 2 is a strategy video game developed by Creative Assembly and published by Sega in 2011. 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 and the Middle East.

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 establishing 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.[1][2]

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.[1]

Shogun 2 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.


The campaign mode features a map of Japan with different provinces, agents, and armies indicated by figures

Shogun 2's blend of turn-based strategy and real-time tactics gameplay is a staple of the Total War series.[3] The player plays the role of both the clan leader and general, alternating between the campaign, where the player manages land and armies turn by turn, and the battles, where the player takes control of the army on the battlefield in real-time.[4]

In the campaign, the player needs to oversee the development of settlements, military production, economic growth, and technological advancement respectively. 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 the use of special agents to gain the upper hand. Ninja and geisha are also present in the game as assassins and spies.[4] 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.[5] There are others, including the "Akamasu retainer clan".[6] All Clans have particular advantages in certain areas, to give a variety of play style with each.

There are also three factions available as downloadable content (the Hattori faction came complimentary with preorders of the game, however):

Shogun 2 added the ability to unlock traits and special abilities for generals and agents as they gain experience. A ninja skill tree is seen in this screenshot

In Total War: Shogun 2, leaders and generals are given personality and depth in gameplay, with high 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.[4]

A group of Date yari ashigaru fighting a group of Shimazu samurai in the game's real time battle mode

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 put less focus on wall defences but more on courtyard brawls and tactical maneuvering. 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.[2]

Like the recent installments, 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 is known for a unique event for the series known as Realm Divide, in which one by one, all computer-controlled surviving clans declare war on the player (or players in coop-campaign mode) and ally with each other, though the player's allies tend to do so later. Realm Divide is triggered when the player captures enough territories or captures Kyoto. The clan's fame shows how close the player is to triggering realm divide.

Shogun 2 features multiplayer battles with up to 8 players as well as multiplayer campaigns involving competitive or cooperative play with 2 players.[7] 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.[8]


Total War: Shogun 2 launch event in Kyiv

A demo became available on Steam on 22 February 2011.[9] The demo covers the campaign tutorial, the historical Battle of Sekigahara and the full game encyclopaedia.

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.[10][11]

Players who pre-ordered at GameStop (online or in-store) unlocked and can take part in the historic Battle of Kawagoe. Set in 1545, the Battle of Kawagoe saw the Later Hōjō clan launch a successful night time counter-attack against the besieging Uesugi clan, eschewing heavy armour in favour of speed and stealth.[12] 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.[12]

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. These items do not affect Shogun 2 in any way and can only be used in Team Fortress 2.[13] 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.

Downloadable content[edit]

  • "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.[14] 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 Heroes 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 campaign retains the realm divide event from Shogun 2.
  • "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.
  • "Battle of Kawagoe" adds a historical battle previously available only in the pre-order offer of the Gamestop store.

Compilations and ports[edit]

On 5 March 2013 in North America and on 8 March of the same year in Europe and Australasia (Eu/Au) "Gold Edition" compilations were released. The North American edition contained the base game, the Rise of the Samurai campaign and the Fall of the Samurai game. The Eu/Au edition contained these as well as all but one of the downloadable content packs (Dragon War Battle, Hattori Clan, Ikko Ikki Clan, Otomo Clan, Saga Clan, Obama Clan, Tsu Clan, Sendai Clan, Saints & Heroes Elite Unit and Sengoku Jidai Elite Unit packs but not the Blood Pack). The Eu/Au version also came in a gold and black wajima-nuri inspired folding case unlike the standard case for the North American version.[15][16][17]

On 31 July 2014, Shogun 2 was released for macOS by Feral Interactive, along with the Total War: Shogun 2 Collection, which includes all previously released additional content except "Blood Pack".[18] Shogun 2, Shogun 2 Collection and Fall of the Samurai were released for Linux on 23 May 2017.[19]


Total War: Shogun 2 received "universal acclaim", according to review aggregator Metacritic.[20]

GameSpot reviewer Daniel Shannon has called it the "best Total War yet".[23]

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.[32]

As of 31 March 2011, the game has sold 600,000 units in Europe and North America.[33]

In 2019, PC Gamer listed Shogun 2 as the best Total War game.[34]


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  2. ^ a b Graham Smith (23 June 2010). "Shogun 2: Total War preview – The master returns". PC Gamer. Retrieved 6 January 2011.
  3. ^ Garner (20 June 2011). "Total War: Shogun 2 Review". Archived from the original on 23 June 2011. Retrieved 4 July 2011.
  4. ^ a b c Anthony Gallegos (10 September 2010). "Shogun II: Total War Campaign Preview". IGN. Archived from the original on 12 September 2010. Retrieved 8 January 2011.
  5. ^ Totalwar Shogun 2 encyclopedia in the Demo files
  6. ^ "Clan mergers" at; "The Road to Kyoto" at; excerpt, "The Amakasu clan approach, with the Satake on their heels. Neither of these armies care for your lives or your city. They seek only conquest ..."; retrieved 10 May 2013.
  7. ^ "Game info". Total War. Archived from the original on 19 March 2012. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  8. ^ Al Bickham (10 December 2010). "Shogun 2 multiplayer tested: clan warfare comes to Total War". PC Gamer. Retrieved 9 January 2011.
  9. ^ "Total War: SHOGUN 2 – Demo Announced". 15 February 2011. Archived from the original on 16 February 2011. Retrieved 16 February 2011.
  10. ^ "Pre-orders". Total War. Archived from the original on 31 March 2012. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  11. ^ "Shogun II: Total War Grand Master Edition – EB Games Australia". Archived from the original on 14 March 2012. Retrieved 7 August 2012.
  12. ^ a b Horowitz, Daniel (19 February 2011). "Shogun 2: Total War Demo Released Date Announced; Pre-Order Bonuses". Archived from the original on 16 March 2012. Retrieved 7 August 2012.
  13. ^ "Team Fortress 2 – The Shogun Pack". Retrieved 7 August 2012.
  14. ^ "Downloadable Content - The Ikko Ikki Clan Pack". Archived from the original on 22 March 2012. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 June 2014. Retrieved 24 May 2014.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) retrieved 23 May 2013
  16. ^ Retrieved 23 May 2013. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 26 May 2014. Retrieved 24 May 2014.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) retrieved 23 May 2013
  18. ^ "Yours for the taking - Total War: SHOGUN 2 for Mac is out now". Feral Interactive. 31 July 2014. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
  19. ^ Nestor, Marius (23 May 2017). "Total War: SHOGUN 2 and Fall of the Samurai Are Out Now on Linux and SteamOS". Softpedia. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  20. ^ a b "Total War: Shogun 2 for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 15 March 2011.
  21. ^ Tim Stone (11 March 2011). "Total War: Shogun 2". EuroGamer. Retrieved 15 March 2011.
  22. ^ "Total War: Shogun 2". Game Informer. April 2011. p. 92.
  23. ^ a b "Total War: Shogun 2 Review". GameSpot. Archived from the original on 31 December 2011. Retrieved 31 December 2011.
  24. ^ Charles Onyett (11 March 2011). "Total War: Shogun 2 Review". IGN. Archived from the original on 18 March 2011. Retrieved 17 March 2011.
  25. ^ Al Bickham (11 March 2011). "Total War: Shogun 2 review". PC Gamer. Retrieved 15 March 2011.
  26. ^ Adam Sessler. "Total War: Shogun 2 Video Review in High Definition". G4. Archived from the original on 17 October 2012. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
  27. ^ Alex Ivanchenko (18 March 2011). "Total War: Shogun 2 PC Review (English)". GameScope. Retrieved 13 April 2011.
  28. ^ "The Best of 2011 Awards". GameSpot. 30 December 2011. Archived from the original on 7 January 2012. Retrieved 31 December 2011.
  29. ^ "Overall". Best of 2011. IGN. 17 January 2011. Retrieved 20 January 2011.
  30. ^ "GameTrailers". YouTube.
  31. ^ "GameSpy: GameSpy's Game of the Year 2011 Awards - Page 3".
  32. ^ "Video Games Awards Winners & Nominees in 2012". 15 February 2012.
  33. ^ "Appendix of Consolidated Financial Statements Year Ended March 31, 2011" (PDF). Sega Sammy Holdings. 13 May 2011. Retrieved 12 February 2015.
  34. ^ Elliott, Matt (7 January 2019). "The best Total War games". PC Gamer. Future plc. Retrieved 3 February 2021.

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