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on 26 March 2012
I wasn't expecting too much from this 'expansion' (I emphasise the word expansion because it feels much more than that), but it duly delivers!

There are loads of new units to enjoy and experiment with, the deadly Gatling gun being one of my favourites. The new campaign map is slightly larger but feels much bigger than the original Shogun 2 map, so there's more room to manoeuvre your stacks and agents, offering more tactical options. It looks fantastic also, the smoke effects from your gunpowder are back! For those who favour the more close-up, gritty way of waging war you can opt for the traditional route of swords, spears and arrows, albeit a tougher challenge.

The single player campaign lasts about 7 or 8 years which doesn't sound like much but the time of which it takes to complete a full year is much longer than Shogun 2. Seasons alone now last 8 turns, so a year takes 32 turns to complete, which is something fans of the series have been wanting for a long time.

Fall of the Samurai is a nice addition to the franchise and the Total War series keeps getting better and better. At half the RRP of a new stand alone game it's worth the money. I intend to get many hours out of this until the next in the series.
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on 30 March 2012
Perhaps the best Total War game out there, and it's only an add on (kind of)!

Pros:
- amazing gameplay
- beautiful to look at
- excellent historical accuracy
- lots of new features such as railways and bombardments... Oh God... Bombardments, how I love thee!
- lots of new units
- great fun
- online is amazing
- bugless
the list goes on

Cons:
- campaign is fun but the Imperial:Shogunate divide is mostly north and south so when playing you're not necessarily fighting your neighbors, you're shipping your troops quite far and I just found that a little annoying.
The list stops about there!

The most enjoyable, explosive, amazing Total War game yet. Highly recommended!
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on 31 March 2012
Total war games have always been pretty solid fare. Yes, Empire was a bit of a wobble for various minor reasons, but such glitches seem to have been ironed out rather well now. This latest addition is slick, fun to play, and a very well written bit of software. Most of the game dynamics have been perfected - i remember back in Rome, where you couldn't build buildings quick enough for all the money coming in, and ended up needing huge garrisons to keep public order maintained to a reasonable level.

The trains are a nice addition. I was a little concerned as to how well guns would work, but they do - it makes for a wider scope of tactical possibilities, such as calling in fire support from ships. And yes, the sea battles are (finally) good fun to play.

However, having now played on essentially the same map in three different periods, there is one huge issue, in my opinion. Japan - lovely country - isn't actually that interesting to fight across. Each clan is essentially identical, there is only one type of terrain (temperate, hilly, with snow in the winter), and the whole place is just one long island, surrounded (as islands commonly are) by sea. Plus, with the North/South political divide, there's very little variation between games. Yes, it works well, but it just lacks the variety of previous titles. Furthermore, one of the things about Rome (and others) was that the large number of factions (even more so in Rome if you played around with the "descr_strat" file) increased the game's longevity. One definitely gets the impression that this game is a bit of a practice run, ready for the proper thing...

I know I'm not the first to say it, but it's worth repeating. Now you've got the gameplay sorted, have another go at Rome. If you get it right, it could be utterly superb. A wide range of cultures, units and fighting styles; sea battles (the ramming, boarding, land battle fire support and harbor attacks would work perfectly in this time period); better financial balancing...and you could even make it a little more historically accurate (c.f. Rome Total Realism etc). Either that, or...Middle Earth Total War, anyone?
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on 21 April 2012
Hi guys,

I know a lot of you will get frustrated, just like I did, with downloading the game from steam despite having the disk. If you are having this problem, stop the download. Insert disk 2, click the option to uninstall. Once this is done, double click the disk icon in the "my computer" section of your pc and hit install. After the usual "validating install"message, you should this time get an "installing from disk" message.

Its not as hard as it looks or sounds to some people who have had this problem with Empire and Napoloen, its just a pain to find out how to do it as there are multiple ways people claim works, however this method has worked for me and its very simple to do. Any questions send me a message and I'll try to help you out.
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on 10 September 2012
This is review of the single-player experience in Fall of the Samurai ('FOTS').

After the bug-infested disappointments that were Empire and Napoleon I stayed away from the Shogun II series until they dropped in price -- more than a year after release.

Having waited so long there haven't been many problems with stability on my Alienware laptop -- it has dropped to desktop perhaps twice during my total 356 hours (!) of play in Shogun II and its two expansions. There was an annoying bug in the vanilla game where it failed to recognise my grunty Alienware laptop's graphics card, but this was fixed a further two months in and isn't a problem in FOTS.

Aside from that, was it worth the self-imposed wait for FOTS? Well, you either like your Total War with guns or you prefer pointy sticks. In FOTS it's guns all the way: matchlocks, revolvers, rifles, cannons and even machine guns. The guns determine the style of warfare. In the open, battles between modernised and fully upgraded armies tend to be decided at a distance, and melee is rare. After a while each battle plays out similarly. The enemy approaches under heavy shellfire, closes within range of the withering fire of Gatling guns and kneeling rifle units, falters and routes. The few survivors then get cut down by revolver and carbine-wielding cavalry. Rinse and repeat. Having said that, recent patches have wrought significant changes -- large battles can be noteworthy with four stacks of units taking the field.

Neither are the factions very different from one another. There are six of them, differing only in their starting positions and base attributes. More factions are available as (IMHO) over-priced DLCs or in higher-priced 'Limited' editions. Each of the clans owes its allegiance to the Shogun or the Emperor.

Despite these criticisms, the game still entertains. After all, you don't knock chess for its limited unit roster and samey battle map. I put it down to the perky campaign AI and, in FOTS, the tweaking of Shogun II's Realm Divide mechanic. Realm Divide is the game's answer to the boring steamroller that sets in in many strategy games. In Shogun II, after a certain point all the AI clans would turn on you. In FOTS you now have the option to unite with other clans who share your allegiance - Shogun or Imperial - handing you a set of allies. Alternatively you can elect to go it alone as a republic. As a republic you lose important military units and a class of campaign map agents. In effect this turns the difficulty a notch. On normal difficulty, triggering the republican option feels much more like amping the difficulty up to hard. With some preparation it can be a lot of fun.

The battle AI and campaign AI are competent and colourful -- not MENSA level, but good enough for a strategy game, and far better than anything Creative Assembly came up with before Shogun II. Perhaps they don't have quite the sparkle of say a Civilization, but early and mid-game they can surprise the unwary player. As in Shogun II, the AI factions will launch naval invasions if you fail to protect your coasts, although you soon learn to guard your seaward flanks with navies and to park gunboats in your ports. At higher settings the AI will send its agents to wreak mischief in your lands. Geishas will seduce your generals, foreign gentlemen will challenge your characters to duels, the secret police (shinshengumi) will have a ball stirring up revolts, and ninja will... well, you know.

Modernisation takes place in the technology upgrade tree, which is slickly integrated into gameplay. Like most strategy titles these days you unlock economic or military technologies and construct buildings to progress. Deciding where to focus research becomes a strategic matter.

As it was in the vanilla Shogun II, the tedious Empire/Napoleon siege battle mechanic has been thoroughly re-worked and is now satisfying enough. Sieges can be bloody affairs especially if the enemy AI faction's had time to build Gatling gun or cannon towers, meaning it's often preferable to lay siege and await the inevitable sally by the defenders. However you have to plan for the longer winters as attrition will eat away at your forces.

There is a grainy and industrial feel to the graphics, as befits the time period. The campaign map is instantly recognisable but it's clear that you're in the 19th century now. As towns and settlements develop, their dark satanic mills pollute the landscape. Up in the North East you can now visit the island of Ezo, although this is of limited utility unless you are total completest as it takes so long to get there. I was a little disappointed in the battle maps, however, remembering one [of the few] good things about Empire - in FOTS the battle maps are by and large deforested plains, with very few of the fields, walls, buildings and rural lanes those earlier titles enjoyed.

Some features in FOTS that are new to the series work surprisingly well: coastal bombardments and railways, for instance, add tactical depth. For example, with a senior ninja you can sabotage an enemy army and bombard it from offshore turn after turn. Other features are less successful: first person mode feels a bit of a gimmick - I tried it once, but the unholy fusion of FPS and Total War isn't integrated smoothly enough.

There are some niggles.

It surprised me that FOTS feels a more slow paced game than Shogun II. I thought the addition of mechanisation and railways would speed it up, but that's not the case because there are far more turns (24) in a game year. A Long Campaign of 12 years elapses over 288 turns. This means the game rewards patience and careful planning. On the other hand, bringing armies up to the front line, even using navies and railways, can take many turns.

The battle user interface feels a little more clunky than usual -- perhaps I'm losing it, but at times my camera spins around and I'm staring at the ground during a battle.

Sea battles are better in FOTS than Shogun II, but I still sigh a bit when I have to fight one. Worse, they don't seem as balanced in auto-resolve as land battles are, which means it always pays to fight it out on the map yourself. The steam-powered ships certainly pack a punch and can explode spectacularly. But, compared to land battles, units are slow; the variation in units' abilities seems arbitrary (eg. corvettes are faster but have a shorter range; frigates move at a tedious snail's pace), and formations are limited. Sea battles amount to establishing a concave loop of ships around one end of the enemy fleet to focus fire. Once ramming has been researched it adds some much-needed colour, but that's a late game technology.

Despite the minor criticisms, Fall of the Samurai is a great game if you enjoy strategy titles, and, in my humble opinion, Creative Assembly's best title yet.
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on 3 April 2012
I've waited a week or so before reviewing to make sure I didn't speak too soon. Shogun 2 was almost perfect in that it was stable, playable, addictive and brought a lot of new initiative to the total war series. Shogun 2 Fall of the samurai adds to this moreso than I could have expected.

Yes, we have had the main game and two expansions all set in Japan and yes the campaign map can get a bit repetetive after a while, but Although I would like to see a return to Europe, Japan has been a nice change to total war and I think they have got everything they can out of this game without going too far. The modern era didn't necessarily appeal to me, but that too has not been a problem and works very well.

For people like me, who were put off total war because of Empires lack of stability and stupid amount of unfixed bugs, don't be put off this title or it's two expansions, both well worth it. Creative Assembly seem to have made up where Empire Total war had failed. I can only reccommend it.

The total war series can do one of two things from here in my opinion. 1. Rehash and remake Rome 2 with the same game engine, which also offers 2 expansions, possibly main game being rise of the empire & the end of the republic, with two expansions being the punic wars and the barbarian invasions. This seems to be the title people want most and I certainly would like to see it. Other option, take total war into a completely new (uncovered) period or location, which I would also like to see - Hopefully 16th Century Europe or a 19th Century world domination. Something to ponder on whilst playing my second campaign of Fall of the Samuri.

I never played the original Shogun total war, but started with medieval (1) total war which raised the bar so high I didn't think it could be bettered... I was wrong. Shogun 2 and Fall of the Samurai comes highly reccommended.

Hope this is useful.
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on 14 June 2012
Now if you are a Total War fan, you will realize previous titles from Napoleon and before are quite dull and vague. Why? Because the gameplay aren't interactive enough. Units doesn't perform individual fights, they are like robots, so zooming in basically doesn't actually brings you much joy and exuberance. Gun fires are so fake and there are not much explosion or destruction from cannons.

However,in SHOGUN 2: FALL OF THE SAMURAI, IT'S DIFFERENT!
UNITS now are designed so realistic(individual people in units have their own personnal movements) that makes you immersing yourself into the epic battles once in a life time. ARTILLERY's bombardments are fun to watch, sit back and enjoy the amusing enemy units sent flying away. One thing you won't believe is that you can use FIRST PERSON VIEW TO COMMAND FIRING ZONE!

The SHIPS can now be more useful than ever since you can bombard nearby land units/buidings and use as naval support in in-map battles.

One last thing, all the maps have been enlarged, so land/sea units travel quite slow. However, when technolgy speeds up after researches and buildings' upgrades, units can travel more efficient.
One thing that makes this game so lovely and innovative, is the time and effort Creative Assembly puts in developing this game, so i would sincerely recommend SHOGUN 2: FALL OF THE SAMURAI to everyone(Total War fan or not) to buy this game, YOU WON'T REGRET IT!!!
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on 15 August 2012
I am a huge fan of the total war series. Shogun 2 was absolutely brilliant, bringing some incredible new features into this extremely successful series. Shogun 2 Fall of the Samurai builds on this making it one of the best total war games yet. As with all of the total war games the beginning of the campaign can seem daunting at first, especially when you are unfamiliar with unit types. However, playing the game for a few hours will enable you to become much better acquainted with the unit and character types and their abilities. Fall of the Samurai is not just Shogun 2, set in a later time. There are entirely new aspects of the game to consider. The characters are very different from anything from the original Shogun 2 and now there is the pro-Shogunate or pro-Imperial aspect of the game. Alliances have very different meaning as a result. In Shogun 2 success would draw the eye of Kyoto. Realm Divide meant that it was difficult to keep more than one or 2 allies, as all remaining clans joined together to fight you. In Fall of the Samurai the player now has a choice. They can use their might to back the Shogun, the Emperor or if so inclined, themselves. Little things like this make strategic thinking much more interesting and allows much greater diversity in campaign development. Basically, it's brilliant!!!
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on 16 May 2013
FOTS is a very good addition to the Shogun 2 setting, bringing a satisfying conclusion to the era.
The massed rifle fire is awesome to see (IMHO better executed than it was in Napoleon), and some of the new units are very good. However just because you can now recruit "modern" units, dont for one minute think that the Traditional Samurai are now obsolete, as they still pack a punch if you can get in close.
The addition of Naval bombardment of the map (and Naval Gunfire support in the battles themselves) adds another dimension to strategy, and also is fairly well executed (I however still dont fight the Naval battles themselves, so cannot comment on this part).

If you are looking for a game/expansion to fill the time until Rome 2 arrives later this year, then you could do a lot worse than to go for this game, especially if you can get it for the £10.70 that I paid for it on here (as usual at the time of my purchase was an eye watering £25 on Steam)

Oh and finally, I have 2 words that just have to be mentioned..... Gatling and Gun :oD
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on 28 March 2012
Shogun 2 - Fall Of The Samurai, also known as FOTS, is the latest Total War game out and has the most brutal battles that involve traditional samurai with the mix of horses and gunpowder units, if that isn't enough, there are naval bombardments that can completely destroy an enemy army in 1 strike if used tactically. I myself, was disappointed in what Shogun 2 brought to the table in comparison to other Total War games, Shogun 2's naval battles are not fun and the gameplay can be fun at times and at others "boring"... BUT, FOTS is the complete opposite, with loads of stategies you can employ with your army, using different types of combat to your advantage, FOTS brings to the table fun land and siege battles as well as amazing naval battles, the naval battles which are the best in any Total War game yet.

Should I buy the game?

Simply put, YES, the game offers a huge single player campaign with tutorials on how to play, as well as a multiplayer ranking system called Avatar Conquest that lets you conquer an online campaign map and unlock units, ranks and much more to fight against your enemies in future games with and on top of that is a multiplayer versus and co-op campaign which really makes things worthwhile.

I need to find out more about the game, where do I go?

You can go directly to the Total War website dedicated to FOTS at [...]

You can also check out the following videos:
Shogun 2 - Fall Of The Samurai Announcement Trailer - [...]
Shogun 2 - Fall Of The Samurai Story Trailer -[...]
Shogun 2 - Fall Of The Samurai - Part 1: 'The Year of the Dragon' - [...]
Shogun 2 - Fall Of The Samurai - Reveal Trailer Chapter 2: 'Winds of Change' -[...]
Shogun 2 - Fall Of The Samurai - Reveal Trailer Chapter 3: 'Smoke & Steel' - [...]

Overall rating: 9/10 - The game did not get 10/10, simply because it was not in an era and game mode such as europe with the rise of nations such as Macedon, Rome and Carthage, you are fighting a civil war instead of a bigger type of war in comparison to other Total War games and their are many errors with the game that need patched.
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