Shogun 2 mini-review

While the Steam Holiday sale did not do much for me, I did pick up Total War: Shogun 2 and its DLC (all but the campaign) for about $10. I was tempted to grab Deus Ex as well, but I honestly don’t have the time to put into the game, and I know it’s one of those titles I want to play start-to-finish without taking a break.

The first thing I noticed about Shogun when I loaded it up was that all of the text was almost unreadable. At first I thought it was because the game had selected a different resolution for my monitor, but the options menu showed the correct 1900×1200 setting. Next I played around with some graphic options, but nothing made a big different. What was really odd was the fact that everything but the text looked fine. Some Googling revealed that others had similar issues, yet despite finding a few forum threads talking about it, I never read a solution. I was half a second away from just writing the game off as a $10 loss.

Then I switched the game from DX11 to DX9, and the issue was solved. I guess DX11 is a little buggy…

That issue resolved, Shogun so far has been an entertaining title. There appears to be a lot of depth, most of which I’ve only scratched the surface of while starting a few campaigns. Graphically the game is good, though not great, in most areas. The campaign map has some nice touches, my favorite being that it starts as a ‘paper’ version, and as you reveal territory, the paper fades and the ‘real’ physical terrain is revealed. Very fitting for the setting, and very cool.

The game is turn-based outside of combat, and with frequent use of auto-battle, Shogun plays like a TBS game, somewhat similar to Heroes 6 in many ways. In both title, you expand your empire by conquering new territory, building up your existing territory by improving the town/castle, and leading a hero/general-lead army around. The details are of course different, but to me the ‘feel’ is similar.

Where the two games differ most of course is combat. Heroes is turn-based on a grid, while Shogun is real-time on a larger map. Where I likely differ from most Total War fans, I don’t care much for the combat. The animations are in that silly “swing at the air” style, and in large battles it often feels like the two sides just clash together into a pile and swing away until one side dies. Granted, I’m sure that with more time you can come up with some nice strategic moves, but on normal difficulty the AI uses the “move forward, just fight” approach, and doing the same usually works well-enough. Luckily auto-battle gives you decent results most of the time, so I’ve mostly kept Shogun as a TBS game so far. The occasional castle defense/attack for a large, pivotal battle is a nice change of pace for me, rather than the core game.

At the discounted price, I’ve already gotten my money’s worth, and I have a feeling that as I learn more about the game, Shogun will become a nice addition to my strategy game library. With each turn being fairly short, jumping in to play for 30 minutes seems entirely possible, and with each game playing out differently (different AI clans doing well some games, not so well in others), I can see some good replay value here.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
This entry was posted in Random. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Shogun 2 mini-review

  1. saucelah says:

    I wonder if that text error relates to some of the DLC. Hell, I can’t even remember if the release version used Dx11 or not.

    Anyway, caveat, turns get a lot longer when you control more territory; though if that half hour mark is important to you, you can probably still get in and out of a turn under that.

  2. Dril says:

    Shogun 2 is utter garbage; the campaign map isn’t bad, but it had a lot of annoying restrictions, wasn’t as intuitive as M2:TW and lacked the depth of previous games. The battles are a truly woeful affair, for a myriad of reasons, but I truly despise that game.

    Have you actually played M2:TW? With mods, its battles are incredible, and its campaign map, whilst lacking some of the features of Shogun 2 that make it quite nifty, is in many ways still a lot better.

    • SynCaine says:

      Shogun is my first TW game. While I like strategy games, so far I’d rate the Heroes series, Mount and Blade, and Civ above TW. Fun enough, but not exaxctly my cup of tea.

Comments are closed.