Okay for the last week I've been playing Shogun 2 Total War and I think now may be a good time to share my experiences. First off let me say this isn't a review. I've been playing the Total War series for a long time and the only way I wouldn't like it is if the game didn't work. It does. I love it. Let's move on.
What is Total War
Total war is a series of real-time and turn based strategy games. Yep they're both and that's what makes them fun. The games start you out on a campaign map and allows you to move tropes on that campaign map civilization style (or for board game guys risk style) but once a battle begins you get transported to a smaller battle map that's probably as realistic as you could get in a game. Weather, slope, your general's competence and the terrain are all factors in whether you win or lose. Unlike a lot of other real-time strategy games Total War lets you get in real close to the combat and see what's going down. The graphics are so good they've been used in multiple documentaries. Not only that but these guys do their homework. Weapons and factions are based off of history.
In short these games let me be Alexander, Napoleon, William the Conqueror, Augustus, Horatio Gates and Charlemagne. I will rule you all with an iron fist. I will spit on my enemies, cut them down then drag their bloodied remains through streets and around the gates Achilles style. Then I will bury them wrong, just to make my victory absolute. Mwhahahahahahahahahaha. I've been listening too many dictators Napoleon and Augustus were both kind of assholes, and for that matter so was Alexander. William's nickname was the bastard.
Back to the Beginning
I actually started playing the Total war series a while after the second game came out. The first was Shogun. In a lot of ways I'm glad I get to play it, or at least an updated version of it.
I'm more familiar with European history and geography than Asian and since we are talking about one country here the details matter more. When I was playing Rome, Medieval 2, and Empire, I kind of knew who the major players were and who wasn't going to be around anymore. I also had a feel for where factions should be and could kind of based on that guess on the diplomatic affairs of the world. Okay the Spanish should not be bordering the English Channel I need to get on that before they start eying my little island.
I know only a handful of the clans involved in the unification of Japan, and I know next to nothing on how they fought. I am ashamed to say that a crap ton of my strategy in those other games was based on picking the English and kicking everyone's ass into submission because historically ... well yeah.
I can't do that here.
Trapped on an Island
I chose the Chosokabe because they were the first faction on the list. Geographically I found myself in a similar situation as the English in being trapped on an Island. The problem is that it is really hard to escape that island and make an entrance onto Honshu, the largest island. By the time I have the funds to create an army and navy large enough to create a beachhead the other clans have more or less consolidated half of the big island. Every time I create an army large enough to push them back it bankrupts me.
Yeah it seems like more so than in the other games food matters. In the other games a lack of agriculture just caused my population to stagnate and made it so I got less tax money. Food= population = money= Kick ass huge professional hard core army. Here the peasants aren't afraid to take up arms if they're starving. For a while I ended up in a cycle of creating an invasion force and then having said invasion force whittled down by subsequent peasant and clan rebellions. Putting down one or two is fine but it seemed like there would be one every turn and on some two. I am your lord and you shall obey me. Obey me damn it!
The problem with turn based games is that the multiplayer was always wonkey. A campaign can take weeks. And it can get kind of annoying waiting around for people to do all the stuff in their turns. I like how the game handles it. Especially with drop in and avatar battles.