Total War: Shogun 2

The Collector's Edition

The Collector's Edition

Total War series has always been my favorite games ever since Creative Assembly started off with Shogun: Total War 11 years ago. Shogun, Medieval, Rome, Medieval 2, Empire and Napoleon were the titles that have been used with the series which I got the chance to play them all. Shogun 2 is rather an indirect sequel to the previous one as it’s more like a remake of a used theme over a new game engine. A lot of changes, of course, after a decade of hardware technology where things getting more graphically beautiful and better artificial intelligence (although I know how to exploit AI in defending siege battles). Save that for later. How about we see the images of package that I got.

The package; A figurine, a Limited Edition game and an art book

The package; A figurine, a Limited Edition game and an art book

A figurine of Takeda Shingen

A figurine of Takeda Shingen

The game and the artbook

The game and the artbook

Inside the artbook

Inside the artbook

I’ve been playing the game for hours now (which is why I got problem waking up early in the morning at the moment). As much as the game provides many improvements on the multiplayer side like customizable our own shogun avatar and such, the campaign is pretty much what makes me like this kind of game very much. Shogun 2 introduces 10 playable clans (Hojo, Chosokabe, Shimazu, Mori, Oda, Tokugawa, Uesugi, Takeda, Date and Hattori) that being called as The Great Clans and various other minor clans. Each clan has its own specialties and they’re, pretty much, associated with the initial provinces that they have. They, too, have different set of difficulty (not the game difficulty but rather starting difficulty) like Oda being one of the clans considered as Hard because they’re facing 2 fronts of war at the start of the campaign. Of all, everyone can make the same kind of units like Ashigaru and Samurai class. So units are largely affected by clan’s specialties and daimyo’s traits along with technological advancement that they have.

There are 3 kinds of campaign that you can choose; short, long and domination which start at the year 1545. Each have to capture about 6 specific provinces apart from overall 25 provinces (for short campaign) or 40 (long) or 60 (domination). Short campaign ends at the year 1575 while both long and domination ends at the year 1600. You think getting 40 provinces by 1600 looks easier than domination’s 60, right? There’s a catch here. Once you conquered half of the required provinces to win the campaign, there will be an announcement saying that “Realm Divided” and everybody goes against you (except clans that being put under you as vassals). I think domination campaign of 60 provinces is a little bit better than the long campaign as 30 provinces already can make a lot of incomes compared to 20 so you can churn out more units.

In Empire: Total War, there’s something that we call as technology tree which we can select something that we want to research to unlock more units and buildings. In Shogun 2, the tech tree is divided into 2 branches; Bushido (military arts) and Chi (civil arts for clan and provinces growth). If you prefer to get more money (called koku) like me, I will simply ignore Bushido branch until the all tech on Chi side were acquired (depends on your situation tho). There’s no more School like in Empire to quicken your technology research. But rather depended on your castles’ levels and religious buildings (Shinto-Buddhism or Christianity). Of course the better buildings means better points for research. Conversion to Christianity (after accepting Nanban trade port and convert your clan in the clan menu) means more income and getting better European technology like Matchlock, Field Cannons and ships equipped with cannons. But of course that you need to rely on your priests to quickly convert your people or they will rebel against you.

In Shogun 2, every province can be upgraded with the biggest castle. Since every upgrade on the castle means additional slot acquired for building. But I advise you not to. Why? Apart from money and income, there’s another thing that we should that not miss out which is food supplies. When a castle is being upgraded, it took away one of the food supplies points that you have and if all provinces are being upgraded, you might not have sufficient food supplies for every provinces. The lack of food supplies may lead to civil unrest. In a way, use only one or two province to recruit armies with upgraded and multiple buildings together with bigger castles.

It’s easy to win the campaign (well, on easy mode) actually after I figured out the way. Apart from the stuffs I said above, the peasants army of Ashigaru is enough. Cheap but technically being seen inferior through mathematical calculation by the computer. If you’re facing a battle and showing that you”re losing, auto-resolves option will only make you lose. It’s easy to defend especially inside a castle that’s not being upgraded, the lowest level of castle. Why? Bigger castles have layers of defences which means more points to guard. Practically, a small castle with limited points of defence means easier to defend as we know exactly what the (computer) opponents want to go. I have a small force of 10 units of Ashigaru (5 Bow and 5 Yari) which I can defend against mightier full force of Samurai class units. The important key here is the Bow unit. It is important to upgrade them first in the Bushido tech tree so that they can have better attacks like flaming arrows and better accuracy for defending. As in, defending in a castle. try to lure the opponents towards your guarded castles. How mighty the units you ever facing, they still have to climb the walls to access your castle which is why they usually losing half of their units (from your Bow archers attack) before they finally on top of the castle ground where you can finish them off with your full force of Yari Ashigaru.

Another thing that is important to take note is your special characters; Monk/Priest (convert people and provide happiness), Metsuke (maintaining orders in a province while can be used to apprehend enemy special characters), Ninja (spy, counter-spy and assassination) and Geisha (higher percentage of killing/persuading enemy characters but not hidden like Ninja). They’re not that significant in an easy game. But your opponent computers will still use it to annoy you and on higher level of difficulty, they will use it more frequently.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention about Naval warfare. Certainly, it’s trickier compared to Empire or Napoleon. It is because that there are various terrains and type of waters such as shallow or deep sea. Smaller ships can use paths from shallow waters while bigger ones won’t be able to go there. A Bow Kobaya, the smallest ship, is fast and only reliable to harass other ships from afar with arrows (also flaming arrows to burn ships). Bigger ships like Heavy Bune can be used to board other ships to take over the ship with melee fighting units. As there are ships, it also means there are trade ports that you can access trades with Trade Ships for more income and specific resources.

Well, it’s a very fun game for me. I am supposed to put up a YouTube video but having problem with uploading it. Maybe next time.

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