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Shogun II: Total War


tcharliel
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I am enjoying this so far, the campaign AI seems much better I just got my ass handed to me pretty much straight away lol.

I have to say I think something has gone missing somewhere since medieval war. The newer ones feel different and Im not sure I like it as much in some ways.

Saying that everything is really polished, feels lovely and theres alot of nice stuff in there.

Of course Ive just scratched the surface so far but the battles feel great, my sneak attack grenade Ninjas are awesome :)

It's good to be back in Japan, but when the game started warning about how common earthquakes were I felt a bit uncomfortable!

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FWIW the demo seemed great, but as soon as it got through explaining all the mechanics and said 'over to you', I was instantly lost and struggling to do something other than selecting every unit on the battlefield and pointing at the nearest enemy unit. Do any of the Total War games have a decent training mode that could see me through this? I actually own all of them thanks to Steam sales but I haven't really played most of them beyond an hour or so.

Although it's not the best of the games, Empire would probably be the best for getting you used to mechanics. Play the Road To Independence campaign and it holds your hand through basically every stage of a multi-part campaign before finally letting you loose on a small area of the entire game's map.

There are pretty general things that apply to almost all Total War games, though, and you don't need to be familiar with the Art of War for it! Bloody over-rated pile of tosh, anyway, Sun-Tzu. Spearmen counter cavalry, swordsmen are good against other infantry, archers should be kept out of close combat, loose formations minimize damage from projectile weapons, flanks should be protected. That kind of thing. It's less obvious in Empire and Napoleon, which take their tactical cue from linear warfare of the 18th and 19th centuries. That kind of thing is very obvious and common-sense to me, raised on Sharpe books and fascinated by the period, but it's less immediate than the swords-spears-archers-cavalry relationship.

Looking forward to reading some more feedback, does the campaign map feel big enough? Couldn't really get a feel for the scale of it in the preview videos etc, also how are the sieges with the climbing samurai? Looked a bit hokey to me (even if it is in line with lots of japanese paintings) but I don't suppose it's any worse than the crazy spiderman sieges in Empire.

The wall-climbing seems to work pretty well! Men fall off the walls while climbing, so you'll take casualties climbing walls even if you're technically unopposed. I think units with kisho training are better at climbing, which basically applies to ninja and some Hattori clan troops.

Would a Rome veteran get into this easily enough? I haven't played a TW since then but the setting and talk of atmosphere here is really tempting me.

Yes, easily. Anyone who's played Total War before shouldn't have much problem getting into the mechanics of it.

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This is genuinely the most challenged I've been by a Total War game since... probably Medieval? The AI is posing a genuine threat, and most recently I had to give up provinces and fight rearguard actions until I was able to face them properly (and even then in a siege). This is on Hard difficulty, and yeah, it is hard! But the campaign is just incredibly compelling.

Also, more screenshots.

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A rainy battle. The rain/fog just seemed so pretty I had to screenshot it.

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A minor skirmish at sea. I like how sea battles look to have a sort of separate scaling up - you start off with just archers and boarding actions, and then you work up to fire arrows and then better kinds of ships and so on. Presumably gunpowder has some bearing later.

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My samurai charging uphill at some yari ashigaru. That was a bit of a slaughter on both sides, actually, although my samurai got the best of it of course.

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A battle in a blizzard at sunset. The swinging lanterns on each unit's flag are a nice touch, when it's dark.

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Enemy archers pour fire arrows on my yari samurai, while just off-screen enemy katana samurai prepare to charge them.

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The aftermath of that fight. The single survivor of the yari samurai stands amidst about two hundred bodies. To his credit, he's 'eager'. Poor fucker became a victim of winter attrition after the battle, though, as did the other sole survivors you can see in the unit cards there (although they're all running, the cowards).

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A look at the autumnal campaign map.

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Played the demo of this last night and I really want to get the full game. Unfortunately I have one major problem:

I'm playing this on my 37" plasma which has a native resolution of 1280x720 and the text is completely unreadable. I'm not finding this too much of a problem in the tutorial missions as there are flashing boxes telling me what to click next, but once I'm left to my own devices in the campain this is going to become a huge issue.

Doing a bit of reading on the net, it seems that this has affected the last couple of total war games (the only one I've really played is Rome) and there are people complaining about this in Shogun 2 also. Has this been patched in the past, or is there a back door way of changing the font sizes? I couldn't see anything in the options.

I know a tv isn't the ideal way to display a pc game, but it's all I've got unfortunately. I've never had issues like this before either.

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It's a very text-heavy game, like many strategy games. Short of some quite ridiculous large print mod (where the tooltips have to cycle through three words at a time) I think you're entirely out of luck.

I gave the Avatar Conquest multiplayer a go just now. Seems really nicely done. It's got a personal campaign map with territories that you move your avatar's army/fleet around, and fighting battles gets you experience for both your avatar and your units. You can end up with veteran units (which you can name) and pick skills for your avatar. I played one battle so far, which by rights I should have lost since the other fellow had lots of loan sword ashigaru compared to my yari ashigaru (and he had no cavalry so my yaris were a bit pointless) and he was campign a hill on the other side of a river but I still won it because my light cavalry was amazing and also the guy was an idiot. Got a veteran light cavalry unit out of it, too.

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I'd settle for a quite ridiculous mod if it allows me to play the game - I've never had this problem with Rome so I can't see how it's impossible to implement a larger interface for the same type of game.

I suppose this is the advantage of pc gaming - I hope someone does create a mod to help.

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Got to say im really enjoying this.

I started again after my failed attempt with the Hatori clan. I find having a starting province in the middle difficult. Instead I picked The clan based on Kyushu island. Again I noticed how much better the AI seems on the campaign map but after a struggle I managed to conquer the whole Island, with the help of some judicious diplomacy and a stronger focus on my economy.

However I found myself stuck in a situation where I needed more food but had to train an art to construct the farm upgrade. My lands were swept by discontent as food shortages set in and I lost four provinces to insurrection. My expansion plans were put on hold to regain control of my homeland. While I was there I purged all the Christians I could find :)

All in all really good fun. I have found myself slipping back into my old habit of playing the game almost exculsivly on the campaign map though, I should force myself to fight more battles.

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I find the Diplomatic AI frustrating. I enter a war between two AI factions and attack the larger of the two. Forge a military alliance with the smaller and marry off my daughter too them in order to cement things. Their attitude toward me is 'very friendly', and I spend the next few turns attacking our mutual foe, wrecking their armies and generally enjoying myself listing to the lamentations of their women.

I even break a siege on my allies town and help them fight off the enemy!

The very next turn, they go from 'very friendly' to 'hostile' on me, break the alliance and go to war with me, forging an alliance with our previously mutual foe - all the while keeping their high 'integrity' rating. Worse still, they assault my stronghold in enemy lands with a full stack of Rank 3+ troops, and wipe me clear off the board.

It's really put a sour taste in my mouth that the alliance I worked hard for (and including married my daughter into) meant absolutely nothing at all and a huge, powerful maxmimally experienced force which I hadn't seen at all before marched out of their single province (which I had been defending due to their 'weak' military rating) out of nowhere and crushed me. Fuck that.

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I've always hated that in TW games, even if you and your ally have high rep rankings they'll still stab you in the back eventually. The only one that never has is The Papal States in Medieval 2, I like to think that's because the Pope knows he'd end up with a knife in the back if he tried anything.

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I suppose it would only piss me off if it an unpredictable backstab happened predictably. By which I mean, if you basically knew that an ally was going to backstab you at some point because they always do (and not just because you've reached the point in the game where you get dogpiled anyway to stop you winning).

The occasional, seemingly random backstab I could just put down to that AI leader having secret plans to backstab me all along...just like we I do with them.

The sudden mega powerful stack and no integrity loss is, however, a bit alarming.

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Strange, I usually treat alliances with caution and try and stab them in the back first :) Theres alot going on and I don't think anyone plays this and reads all the stats so as you say it's possible that you missed something.

It's also possible that another faction (or even the shogun) forced their hand, especially if you're clan fame had become high,

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In my Oda campaign (which is on Hard difficulty, and which has basically stalled because I'm at war with almost everyone thanks to poor choices and over-expansion early on) I had a very steadfast ally in the Takeda. They never betrayed me in over 60 turns of play, basically.

I've started a new one as the Shimazu on Normal just for something less stressful, and I'm about 30 turns in and things are pretty damn peaceful! I don't have any allies except the Miyoshi (because I've figured out that it's far better to just be friendly but not allied with people rather than incur penalties for dishonouring treaties, which makes everyone else hate you).

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Is it just me, or is this much easier to run than Empire? I could never get above 'high' settings in Empire, I'm running this with everything on ultra and I'm getting 45-60fps. No AA mind.

Anyway, I'm just playing through the demo campaign tutorial again for now. I had a funny moment earlier where I was left with a single enemy Yari Ashigaru against an entire archer unit. Nothing quite like watching 25 arrows all fly into one tiny spot on the map with ghostly precision :lol:

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Still loving this, had two niggles so far though.

On one siege defence all my troops died or routed except 3 units of archers. The enemey only had left the general and his cavalry body guard. Obviously I couldnt attack cavalry with a few of the basic archery units so I holed up in the castle and waited for him to attack. Instead the AI general buggered off to the far corner of the map and sat there. The battle timer was set for 60 minutes , so even at full time acceleration it took about 20 minutes for the stale mate to end :(

The 2nd problem, or annoyance was with the Campaign map. I hit legendary clan fame, and the Shogunate divided the realm on me. But during that turn my stalwart allies overthrew the Shogun and assumed his position. At this point I thought I had been spared. ( I remember in Medieval if the pope excommunicated you then died you would get reconciled by the new pope). But the next turn every clan broke all its agreements with me and declared war including my old ally the new shogun. Quite annoying lol.

I exchanged hostages again with them and worked my relationship with them back up so they would open trade routes with me. But the very next turn they declared war again.

The game gets pretty tough at this point, well it did for me as so much of my income came from trade routes with the other clans.

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From what I hear - I've not reached that point myself, yet - the 'divided realm' bit that triggers at Legendary is supposed to end up with you and your allies (if any) against everyone else.

You probably broke it a bit by having your allies become shogun right as it happened, so that they broke their alliance with the 'legendary' upstart.

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My new campaign as Shimazu is going excellently. I'm only at war with as many as I can handle and most clans actually like me a bit, and I've got incredibly lucrative trade going on.

Just fought a sea battle at night with Chosokabe.

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It devolved into a scrum very quickly, but my command of fire arrows was critical.

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Several enemy ships were set ablaze.

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Four ships were captured intact, and one escaped. One of my bow kobayas routed from the battle. Heroic victory.

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Just downloaded the demo to see if it runs on my laptop - it does, but it's really quite amusing how appalling it looks. It's like the old days, when my computer would only run Medieval Total War with each individual man in a unit looking like he was comprised of six pixels.

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Tutorial devolves into the same old thing before too long.

1. Here are your units

2. ???

3. ???

4. NOW WIN THE GAME!

It's bit a like describing to someone how a steering wheel works and then asking them to take a driving test. I don't understand why they never, ever run you through a few basic strategies or try to give you advice on how to deal with different situations. Time and time again they just go through the most basic mechanics, then skip ahead to reading you off the list of new units and then hand them all over to you and expect you to know what to do with them. It's especially frustrating as someone who never really played the old ones, because when I voice my grievances to my friends, every single one of them agrees but tells me they learnt all that through hundreds of hours of trial and error in the older titles. I just don't have the time to do that.

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Aye, it is a it overwhelming in the final mission, as it thrusts a bunch of units at you that you don't really understand the purpose of (Ninjas! Hero units!), then fails to explain how things work properly. "To take over bow towers, stand next to them for a period of time" - what it doesn't say is how long for, and where to stand by them, and whether ninjas can take them stealthily. Still, the historic battle was a lot better, as all of the units you have are known to you (Yari vs cavalry, katanas vs infantry, bows vs, er, anything it can shoot and not get trampled by).

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My brother said to just go straight into the campaign and lose a lot, as the tutorial is as useless as ever and that's the only way I'm ever going to learn how to play it. Which is annoying, but I guess he's right.

My first battle went well, the enemy selected his entire army and charged them directly at my general, who then died, and I was powerless to do anything about it despite having an army twice the size.

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