Reviews Strategy

Total War: Shogun 2

Developer: Creative Assembly | Publisher: Sega | Release Date: Tuesday, 15 March, 2011

The Total War series is highly regarded by fans of the strategy genre. Over the years the series has integrated new ideas and improvements. The very first Total War game was in fact the original Shogun. The game is iconic with the franchise. Shogun 2 has been greeted with great anticipation. The community is excited and so they should be. The developers at “Creative Assembly” are some of the best games creators in the video game industry. In the strategy genre they are second to none.


16th century medieval Japan is the setting for Shogun 2 and centres around clans competing against one another to dominate the most territories with the end result being the opportunity to overthrown the capital territory of Kyoto and becoming Shogun.


Shogun 2 introduces a new battle engine greatly improving the scale of battles compared to its predecessors. Up to 56,000 units are supported in a single battle. Battles are tactical and very challenging. Understanding each units attacking abilities and their weaknesses are vitally important. Making archers charge at cavalry would be suicide. However placing them behind swordsman will award you a winning advantage.


An important feature of Shogun 2. Ignoring diplomacy and going your own way alone may just upset the clans around you. This could make your territory a target for invading. If adjoining clans decide to invade at the same time or alongside each other you could find yourself in real trouble with no-one to call upon to support you. Gifts can be attached to an offer of diplomacy to sway the deal your way.


Total War is founded on very tactical gameplay. From the territory map to the battlefield. Starting with the territory map you’ll need to position your army in strategic positions to best protect your kingdom. At the same time ready to invade and attack adjoining territories. As mentioned previously positioning units in the best positions is vital. The landscape can be used to your advantage such as placing the army on a hill or amongst trees. The element of surprise can really change the outcome of a battle.


Within the game new units and abilities can be researched. You’ll need to decide which technologies and units you’d like to research and upgrade. Upgrading is very detailed and well worth the time to full a custom yourself to the features. Generals and units upgrade their ranking during and after battles. Thus improvements will be noticed in future battles as your soldiers become more experienced.


The typical soldiers are available such as swordsman, archers and cavalry but there are also some elite units such as the spy, ninja and samurai. Each have their own unique abilities. Researching technologies may be needed to unlock specific units. Spy’s are great. They can be sent into territories you wish to invade and in turn weaken army’s by either attempting to assassinate the commander of the army or tamper with the gate to the fort. An estimated chance of success is provided before any decision is made. Units can scale the walls and break through into forts so it’s not all plain sailing for the defending army. Heavy equipment is also available firing rocks into the infantry and buildings is great. Ships can be used to collect fish from the sea, block trading routes and form a trading route between allied territories.


If an army is garrisoned inside a fort and an army invades. The defending army will be protected by the forts walls whilst the invading army will need to attack the fort without any protection. Obviously the defending team will have the advantage to a degree but the attacking army has more room to manoeuvre so they are able to be more mobile. Fighting on open landscapes can be epic. Hiding and using the element of surprise is really satisfying. Battles can be skipped completely if you choose to allow the computer to automatically decide the outcome. For this to be successful you’ll need the odds to favour your side.


Implemented greatly. Playing alongside a friend in co-op is great. The game saves well and hardly has any slow down. You simply take it in turns to progress your army. As a battle is due to commence you can either invite your friend to join or they can simply watch as a spectator. There’s plenty to do with some great features.

Closing Comments

Shogun 2 is one of the very best strategy games to date. There’s not many games set in the medieval Japan era so it’s a breathe of fresh air. The game is epic and really is a joy to play. The graphics are of a really high standard and downloadable content has been very forthcoming with new units, missions and clans. Multiplayer is exceptional. If your looking for a great tactical strategy game then you wont find one better than this. There’s elements of turn based strategy with real time action battles.

Total War: Shogun 2

Total War: Shogun 2





      Story / Content



        • Fantastic Multiplayer
        • Great Campaign
        • Interesting Factions


        • Small Map
        Stephen Bradley-Waters
        Website creator and gaming geek! Huge fan of Zelda. During my early teens I loved playing Unreal Tournament & Age of Empires. I'm currently enjoying Euro Truck Simulator 2, American Truck Simulator and various other games from racing, strategy, rpg to action, fps and indie.