Shogun: Total War

aka: Shogun, Taisho: Total War
Moby ID: 1692

Windows version

Take Risk, add some RTS, a dash of AOE, and stir. Enjoy!

The Good
Shogun combines it's strategic and tactical elements almost perfectly. Compared to another similar-in-concept game such as Star Wars: Rebellion, Shogun is infinitely better in both.

The tactical battles are fun, and the fact that they're 3D makes it even better. Rebellion let you scroll around in 3D, but the graphics in Shogun are far superior. When Rebellion came out, it's graphics were dated, but Shogun gives us beautiful landscapes and weather effects that are the best I've seen in any game.

The music is excellent, and the Japanese-accented voice acting is perfect. The strategic board reminds me so much of that board game Risk, and the sounds of the pieces really sound like some old game/chess board.

I also like that even though you can be hopelessly outnumbered, you can still win battles if your forces are superior to the enemy. I think that the way they make it so that battle-hardened veterans are better than green soldiers (through the honor system) is so rewarding. Some other games, like AOE2, don't feature this.

The variety of units is perfect. Because each unit has certain strengths and weaknesses, tactical battles become almost a chess match (or rock-paper-scissors): Ashigaru/Samurai beat Cavalry, No-Dachi samurai and Warrior Monks beat Ashigaru/Samurai, Cavalry beat No-Dachi and Archers, etc. (Of course, these are generalizations and not necessarily always true) :)

The Ninjas/Geisha are fun to use. It's always exciting to watch the animations to see if your ninjas will succeed, and to hope that your generals will be able to sense enemy ninjas when they come for them.

I learned more about medieval Japan from this game than from any other place.

The Bad
They need to add on to the diplomatic part of the game. Alliances are basically useless unless your ally dies and you get some of his land.

The amount of buildings and upgrades you can make to provinces and other buildings are impressive, but it can get a little unmanageable when you conquer about 10-15 provinces. You should be able to queue up more units and buildings. Why did they limit it to only 6?

There's really not much to complain about.

The Bottom Line
Shogun is a great game. The excellent graphics and sound are backed-up by great gameplay and exciting battles. It's definitely worth the price!

by Raphael (1245) on March 3rd, 2001

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