Reader Reviews: Shogun 2

Reader Reviews: Shogun 2
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I haven’t had the chance to play Shogun 2, despite being heavily impressed the last time I checked it out during development, but Dean Henderson has, and he’s wrote up this spiffing reader review.

And the best reader review each month wins a Blu-ray pack courtesy of Madman.

Total War: Shogun 2
As far as I’m concerned feudal Japan is compulsory history for all. What is there not to love about the samurai warriors, the clan politics, the mass slaughtering’s, ninjas, the castles, the leaders, the interactions with foreign traders etc. Creative Assembly has gone back to where it all started for their Total War series and their efforts have this gaijin smiling from ear to ear.

Personality: Often strategy games make you feel like a deity floating over its people giving orders detached from the comings and goings of your minions. Shogun 2 definitely has you controlling large stacks of armies, fleets and finances but never has a game made me care so much about the individuals involved. From your Daimyo and generals that you risk in each battle to your ninja’s, metsuke and monks that traverse the map carrying out the clans will. The time and care you place in developing their skills really connects you to their fates and losing one through carelessness or plain bad luck really can dent your progress and your own personal morale.

Battles: This is a game that really gives you a sense of a large scale battle and the chaos and fear that must have been seen and felt by its participants. Battles don’t hinge on killing all your opposition but more so overwhelming them with superior tactics. Great satisfaction comes from seeing the domino effect as a well-timed samurai charge down a hill combined with flanking cavalry sees panic spread throughout the enemy. This one moment can see entire armies lose morale and run for their lives leaving you to mop up.

Sweet Failure: Shogun 2 is hard. It was only after thirty hours and two failed campaigns that the mighty daimyo of the Shimazu clan rose to be shogun. These failures though were not disheartening as it was always clear why I failed. Build big armies and march your way to Kyoto leaving your conquered lands disgruntled ensures rebels will rise up and destroy your clan from the inside. Have large armies but neglect a navy and risk being flanked and losing your capital to invaders. Are you trading? Can you support your armies financially? All these must be balanced carefully to become the ultimate ruler of Japan.

Tall Poppy Syndrome: At a certain point in the game other clans realise you are far too powerful and even if you are not at war or even have them in your sights they will turn against you. This felt a little cheap especially as it seems impossible to strike up alliances with even the smallest of clans that would benefit from being allied with you.

Shogun 2 is overwhelming. It can be very difficult to pick up and play. In saying that though Creative Assembly has really made a rewarding and entertaining experience here for those who are willing to delve in.


  • So apparently you need ~+200 relations with another clan just so they don’t hate you after Realm Divide. Which is… hard. There’s actually a mod out so that they hate you less (but still reasonably so), that’s how bad it is.

  • Finished Campaign with Shimazu Clan, now currently playing as Chosokabe and Hattori Clan… Just super awesome man… I cant really play multiplayer since I cant really find anyone to play with but Campaign keeps you coming back for more!

    • Yeah it really has that pull. I could not wait to get back in and try to dominate with another more challenging clan after completion.

  • I just purchased this game last night. can’t wait to play it.

    but… what is the deal with pricing!! $89AUD via Steam, when the US get it for $49 USD!! (i think it is that price)

    I ended up purchasing it from a US retailer to get the US price. grrr

  • i LOVE the total war series.

    One of my secret loves is doing a castle seige in Rome Total War and having a kick arse army just trapmple a bunch of militia inside the castle…

    I just have a thing for trebuchet’s, me thinks.

    • Well there is a real lack of seige engines in this game, mainly because your infantry can climb the walls. However this is a slow process and the defender at the top of the wall has a massive advantage.

  • I’m a gigantic fan of Creative Assembly’s Total War series. Loved Rome, the original Medieval and the sequel.

    All the great reviews for Shogun 2 make me really want to pick this up.

    Plus the Sengoku period is so awesome.

  • Love Shogun 2, hate the reinforcement system ( in battles). If we attack with two stacks, give us the option of letting the second stack attack at the same time under AI control!

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