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Customer Review

43 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars KAN-ZEN!, 8 Mar. 2013
This review is from: Total War: Shogun 2 - Gold Edition (PC DVD) (DVD-ROM)
About a decade ago Shogun: Total War was the masterpiece that launched one of the best Strategy simulation franchises in gaming history. It was a perfectly balanced game that combined turn-based strategic decisions with real time battles in a beautiful interface made in the style of medieval Japanese artworks.
The game was based on the teachings of Sun Tzu, the Chinese strategist, who believed in the indirect approach: search for comparative advantages, use your forces with economy, surprise and deceive, and only fight limited wars. The medieval Japanese setting (relatively small armies made up from a limited number of distinct units fighting on different terrains), served as the perfect substrate to implement these strategies.
I have played every single Total War game since and they were all a joy to experience - yet nothing surpassed to the first Shogun. Until now.

The gameplay has matured, deepened and acquired a number of new features, including some RPG additions. We now have Mastery of Arts, a tech tree branching into Bushido (warfare) and Chi (governance & finances). There are now hero units, inspiring the troops, going after the enemy general or turning the battle at that crucial point.
Generals are upgradable and modifiable, increasing their effectiveness and making them indispensable. The honorable death of a seasoned general will affect many aspects of your overall strategy and may prove the decisive point of the entire campaign. Which is why subterfuge is so important.
There may be no honor in using Ninjas - but now they can assassinate the enemy general or soften up the enemy defenses by sabotaging their production or the integrity of their defensive structures. And because the Ninja knife cuts both ways, make sure to have enough Metsuke units to sniff out the ninjas send by the enemy.
Children serve as hostages to ensure cooperation whereas marriages are arranged to strengthen alliances. And since no army fights on an empty belly, one should make sure to set up complex trade agreements. Ones that will hold through the treacheries of war. Because sooner than later, your task will graduate from impossible to you-gotta-be-kidding-me.

The AI will make your life miserable. Enemy units will try to flank you from every possible direction and they will try to make use of your troops movement in order to achieve this. And then, just when you think you are winning, every single clan and province turns against you...
It is possible to let the AI auto-resolve all battles and play the game as a highly sophisticated turn-based Civilization game - but why miss all the fun?
Unlike the first game, SHOGUN 2 also has sea vessels and battles. While in a sea battle, you either board and take over or burn the enemy vessels. However, the real strategic consideration is this: when attacking a neighboring province, did you leave adequate defenses to prevent, say, the sacking of your own castle? Because the AI does not forgive such oversights.

The graphics and sounds of Shogun 2 are something one has to experience to believe. Even on DirectX 9 (WinXP - which is the OS I am experiencing it at), the strategic map feels like flying over the real Sengoku period Japan whereas the game design goes into unbelievable details. Every ribbon on a set of armor, every blade of grass, every ray of light reflected on raised katanas or refracted through the clouds are just gorgeous.
The game absorbs you into its world and never let's go. In one word: Kan-Zen (Perfection).

I usually deduct a full star from the final rating of any game that comes with any form of DRM that requires online activation or ties your game with digital shackles. Because even the retail version of SHOGUN 2 comes with mandatory STEAM, I did exactly that. However, because I rated the game well...above 5-stars, this could not become apparent and the game still rates a perfect score.
Yes, STEAM is the pheasant festering on the porch someone has to do something about. However, SHOGUN 2 is one of those extremely rare games that are worth their DRM hassle. If STEAM is still a deal-breaker for you, well, now you can make an informed decision either way.

This Gold edition of the game includes all DLCs as well as the two expansions, Fall of the Samurai and Rise of the Samurai. It is finally complete and you can pick it all up for a fair price (at the time I am writing this). Be careful if you own some of them though, unless so advertised, STEAM does not redeem duplicates.

SHOGUN 2 truly embodies The Art of War - and it will stay with you for a very long time.

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Showing 1-10 of 14 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 20 Mar 2013 16:19:51 GMT
Very well written and informative review.
Steam is a deal breaker for me which is a shame. I will have to sit back and look on with jealousy at those prepared to suffer the "Steam" experience.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Mar 2013 18:40:44 GMT
Last edited by the author on 20 Mar 2013 19:12:25 GMT
NeuroSplicer says:
Thank you kindly.
I came to this compromise with STEAM: (with only a few notable exceptions) I only buy games whose prices are greatly reduced. This way I only pay for the rental and if STEAM goes bankrupt (and/or bought out), I will already have had my money's worth.

Posted on 29 Mar 2013 16:16:16 GMT
A very, very good review!

Clearchus, I sympathise with your aversion for Steam. However, I have to admit that after being virtually (.. ouch, sorry for the pun) frog-marched to the Steam store - Metro 2033 as an Xmas present - I can (just) see some benefits..
In any case, Shogun 2 - Gold Edition is worth the pain.

Neurosplicer, like you I (usually) prefer to wait for a games price to drop before renting from Steam.
By the way, still play the original Shogun:)

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Mar 2013 19:29:36 GMT
NeuroSplicer says:
I can one-up you, BORDER REIVER: I still use the original Shogun sounds as Windows events!
(Device Connected, Question, Critical Stop etc).

Thank you for your kind words.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 May 2013 11:56:14 BDT
fragger says:
a small question. does this come with the disc or is it just a download code? many thanks.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 May 2013 15:22:57 BDT
NeuroSplicer says:
The original game and both its expansions (Rise of the Samurai and Fall of the Samurai) are included on the disc. The DLCs will come through STEAM.

Installing form the discs is usually faster (even if the game still needs to be patched afterwards). However, in order to do so you must only activate the game on STEAM, then find it in your STEAM game library and right-click to Delete All Local Content - and only then will you be able to install from the disc. Otherwise, STEAM will start downloading and will not let you install manually.

Posted on 21 May 2013 16:09:08 BDT
Hello. I bought this too, but it seems like there is some kind of installation bug. Like I havent even had the chance to play the game becoz of it :(.
Ive installed it through steam and all. And when game launches it comes to the main screeen with the shogun 2 logo and freezes there... anyone else have same problem and know any solution?
my other games working fine on steam so its pretty weird and ive tried many of the solutions on the net... its really dissappointing but just to mention this.

In reply to an earlier post on 21 May 2013 16:14:29 BDT
Last edited by the author on 21 May 2013 18:10:46 BDT
NeuroSplicer says:
The most common reason for a logo-screen freeze is either a PC that does not meet the minimum requirements and/or a graphix card driver in need of updating.

Alternatively, delete all local content form STEAM, exit, restart, and then ...leave overnight to re-download from STEAM (depending on your connection, it will take some hours). Sometimes a STEAM game will not start simply because it is getting updated in the background.

Best of luck, mate!

In reply to an earlier post on 21 May 2013 23:55:40 BDT
Im sure its not the problem issued my pc mate. I got a geforce gtx 660 in it so it should be running it easily. as for the graphic driverupdate ive installed a program from nvidia called Geforce Experience that checks for newest available driver stuff for ur specific drivers. that hasnt helped. Ive litterally tried every option that is on medium level. By that I mean there was some geek options (no offence) that I havent figured out how to do or dont dare to mess with. I rather let some pro geeks do that :D
anyways I just think games in general the new ones has become a pain in ass coz u need to install 3rd part users like steam and alike to use.... its really a shame...
im just warning everyone that they have high chance of getting same probs as me with the game at the moment unless they patch it somehow with a solution..

Posted on 2 Aug 2013 03:01:50 BDT
Charli says:
Was going to write a review myself, but I read yours and you seem to have summed it up perfectly. Excellent review, excellent game, with an exceptional "fall of the samurai" which I think beats shogun 2 itself. STEAM for me is not a deal breaker, I actually like STEAM (don't hate me), but I dislike their whole policy on "digital content" whereby, if you download a game, and it doesn't work, they refuse point blank to refund or replace! So beware of that at least. Luckily this only happened to me once. My only problem with the entire total war series is it's instability in terms of crashing.... and I have always have good machines! Currently using a fairly new alienware R4 and still have crash issues, other than that, I cannot recommend the game enough, almost perfect! especially with all dlc's and expansions included.

Good review. Need more like you.
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