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Shogun 2 Total War: The Good Idea?

June 3rd, 2010 by Troy Goodfellow · 10 Comments · Creative Assembly, Preview

So this is a thing. There are teaser trailers all over, and I’ll probably be seeing something at E3.

Top Five Reasons Why This Might Be A Good Idea:

1) Simple Diplomacy: You have a bunch of clans fighting each other to be the top dog. There will be less need for fancy alliances and trade pacts, which is fine because Creative Assembly is never quite sure how to handle the velvet glove.

2) Similar Armies: As much as I love Rome: Total War, you could see CA kind of go off the tracks a little by trying to add so much flavor to every nation. You have a lot of mostly identical armies in early modern Japan. This should mean less stupid stuff or cheesy tactics dominating the battlefield.

3) Return to Melee: Yes, there will be the usual bows and muskets, but the Total War system doesn’t work as well for gunfire as it does for beating on people with cold steel. One of the great charms of the game system is charging in and seeing your enemy break before you even arrive. When they just turn and shoot you in the face? Less fun.

4) Clear Goal: Accumulating prestige or winning specific territories is all well and good, but Shogun will be about domination – a clear count of who is winning what should be enough. I imagine you will need to hold Kyoto, of course.

5) Navies Are Nowhere: When I saw the Empire: Total War naval battle stuff at E3 a couple of years ago, I was both impressed and concerned. Sure, it look good, but how would this slow moving morass of ships work in a game? It never really did, at least not well enough to recommend all the money and time put into it. Shogunate Japan? No major naval engagements so they throw that stuff aside and focus on the land battles.

Tomorrow, why this game might be a bad idea. Until then, don’t miss Rob Zacny’s paean to the game in our decade series that we keep forgetting to update.


10 Comments so far ↓

  • James Allen

    What other time periods would have been better than simply going back to some setting they already did? Seems uninspired to me.

  • Jaz

    They actually do have naval battles, but because it’s oars and not sails, and because there’s no cannon until later, it’s a lot more like infantry combat, so they say.

  • Gormongous

    As thrilled as I am to see the beloved Shogun installment getting the next-gen star treatment, I deeply suspect that this is yet another easy way for CA to avoid improving their AI.

    All the reasons you give will make for a cleaner and more focused experience, but they also mesh perfectly with the mad-dog charge-the-spear-line never-say-die AI that’s plagued the series for so long. It’s encouraging that they’re trying to play to their strengths, but I also find it a bit worrisome.

  • Micah

    Darn. I had hoped for an American Civil War game.

  • beatoangelico

    To me it’s clear they don’t want to spend resources in stuff like diplomacy and IA, despite their claims. They already get high scores from the press and good sales, so why bother?

  • Nikolaj

    I don’t mind them going back to Shogun, but I doubt their ability to make a “cutting-edge AI”, as they put it in their press release. I won’t be getting this on release, but I will be following the reviews.

  • kongming

    I want to see a Dark Ages game already. That period is so interesting but so neglected. I can only think of a handful of games that address it.

  • frags

    I think the Total War series has been the victim of feature creep. Lots of new addition without taking into account gameplay. How the AI handles it, how the balance changes, etc.

    It’s nice to see them ‘going back to basics’ but I wonder if they are brave enough to return to the cloth map like the Shogun world map. Or will they be sticking to the 3D world map with units being able to move all around it.

    I’d say, good move. But will have to reserve judgement until more information is released about the game.

    PS : Shogun: Total War is still my favourite total war game.

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  • Natus

    Agreed, Frags. S:TW seemed to hang together the best of all of them. I’m actually looking forward to this, though I understand why others may not.