Thursday, March 31, 2011

DEMO: Total War: SHOGUN 2 (Windows)

Total War: SHOGUN 2 on Steam for Windows

Genre: Historical Strategy (real-time and turn-based)
Full Game Price: $50.00
No. of Players: 1, with online multiplayer

In 5 words: complex, eye-candy, historical, epic, difficult

It's been awhile since I posted a demo review for PC and this demo is the reason why. Total War: SHOGUN 2, released this month, features a robust and rewarding demo that every strategy fan should try. It's kept me tied up for weeks.

SHOGUN 2 is the latest entry in the Total War series of strategy games. This series is one I seemed to have missed, but if SHOGUN 2 is at all representative, I need to give the other Total War games a look. Set in 16th century Japan, SHOGUN 2 is an epic strategy game with real-time and turn-based components. As a clan leader, you struggle to unite a fractured Japan.

As clan leader, you have a variety of economic, diplomatic and military tools at your disposal to help extend your influence, nearly all of which are used during the strategic turn-based phase of the game. At the strategic level, you and your opponents take turns. Each turn lasts a season and weather affects morale and combat. SHOGUN 2's tactical real-time strategy mode is limited to combat between foot soldiers, cavalry, siege towers, and the like. In addition, sea power plays a significant role in your quest for unification.

Technically speaking, SHOGUN 2's graphics and gameplay are top notch. The audio is well done, although the character that helps you through the demo seems to vacillate between a Japanese and Scottish accent at times. A minor quibble, but quite annoying at times. Camera and unit control take a little getting used to, but are pretty intuitive after a few minutes of practice.

The SHOGUN 2 demo is not for the faint-hearted, or faint-computered. My Athlon II X2 and 7800GT struggled at times (recommended system specs at bottom of this page). Even then, I put over 3 hours into the demo and never found the bottom. Considering that the game is $50.00, I am pleased that SHOGUN 2 has a demo that really lets you explore before taking the purchase plunge.

I currently have no plans to purchase Total War: SHOGUN 2, but I have to admit that the game is amazingly deep, challenging, and rewarding. If you like strategy games, be sure to give this demo a try.

Demo Gamer Stats:
Age range: Rated T for Teen for language, sexual themes, and violence
Demo length: 3+ hours
Demo worth playing? Definitely worth a test drive
Full game worth buying? I'm not sold, primarily because I'm poor and I don't have the time to put into such a deep strategy game right now. But this is a solid, solid game. $50.00 looks like a very fair price.

Are you a fan of the Total War series? What's your take on SHOGUN 2? Sound off in the comments!

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