Written by  :  Jim Newland (56)
Written on  :  Aug 16, 2001
Rating  :  4.86 Stars4.86 Stars4.86 Stars4.86 Stars4.86 Stars
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Miniatures wargaming nirvana! A work of art

The Good

This is the game that every droopy-eyed grognard has spent years of his life slaving over basement battlefields trying to create. Shogun: Total War is, to put it bluntly, miniatures wargaming heaven. If you like pushing toy soldiers around miniature battlefields but could do without the pushing part, this is the game for you. Plus, if you happen to like full-blown campaigns and strategy on a grander scale, Shogun comes with an exceptionally fine Risk-like wrapper as well, guaranteed to suck you into the world of 16th century Japan and its clan-based conflicts like never before.

Beyond that, the game is beautiful (in an authentically Japanese way--the birds flying around the battlefield are origami birds!), and the music and other audio within it are excellent as well. In fact, everything about this game breathes quality and attention to detail--even the official web site, which is an impressive creation in and of itself. If you want to see a game done right, you must check out Shogun.

The Bad

I don't like the fact that you can't play the campaign game multiplayer--it's single player only. You can, of course, play any of the individual battles against other people, but the sense of continuity and roleplaying goes out the window in that case. Other than that, there's just not much to dislike about Shogun. Sure, the diplomacy's a little weak, and some units seem too limited in their abilities (shinobi, ninja), but that's not nearly enough to sink this game.

The Bottom Line

If you are even slightly interested in realistic battlefield tactics, particularly formation warfare, this is the game to get. There is no other. Overall, it is, in my opinion, the second best computer strategy game ever made (after Imperialism II), but that's only because I tend to favor strategic-level games over those that emphasize tactical-level conflict. In reality, if anyone wanted to claim that Shogun is, in fact, the best computer strategy-cum-wargame game ever, all I could really do is shrug and say, "Yep, you may be right!"