Shogun: Total War - Warlord Edition

a game by Electronic Arts
Platform: PC
Editor Rating: 6/10, based on 1 review
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Overview

This special edition of Shogun: Total War once more returns the player to the lands of feudal Japan. The turn-based overview maps and real-time strategy melees are back, but with the addition of a new race, new campaigns and some new units. The original release of Shogun was well received, but how well has the product aged?

Gameplay, Controls, Interface

Combining the feel of Sierra's Lord games and its combination of turn-based and real-time strategy elements with the 3D unit battles of a game like Myth, Shogun has cut a niche for itself in a populated (some might say overly populated) strategy game field. The style of Shogun is heavily authentic, both in presentation and strategic elements, which will have both its attractors and detractors. If you feel more comfortable playing with magician units and ogre troops, look elsewhere. Shogun's units stick to traditional roles, with samurai, cavalry and the occasional emissary.

The main change you will see in the Warlord Edition of Shogun is the ability to play as the Mongols. New units for this special edition include Mongol versions of the cavalry and spearman, as well as a unique thunder-bomber unit. When you play as the Mongol units in the campaign, it adds very little depth to the game, as the Mongols (authentically) are not creating castles and buildings, nor are they training new troops. The troops you receive as a Mongol general come from over the sea, so the campaign is all about real-time strategy battles. Since this is probably the best part of the game for most players, it is not necessarily a complaint to note that the battles are the focus. Still, the Mongol units and campaign add very little change to the base game and thus makes the advantage to purchasing this newer version, if you already have the original, negligible.

If you have never played Shogun before, and want to start, this is obviously the version to get. Aside from the Mongol addition, there are also new campaigns, new historical battles, a map editor and some gameplay tweaks. There are also new weather effects that have a direct impact on how your troops behave. Those looking for an authentic RTS will find a lot to like here, provided they can look past the graphics.

Multiplayer Support

There are a nice selection of multiplayer modes including King of the Hill, Siege, and Capture the Honjin. The software for connection to a multiplayer game (with up to six other players) seems easy to operate, and yet is fully customizable (time limit, win conditions, starting money). If you play long enough to get good at Shogun, you'll doubtless want to try out your skills with others online.

Graphics

The overall game is presented well, with lively menus and nice cinemas. The battle graphics, while being able to handle a lot of troops at any given time, look very dated. The weather effects like rain and snow are decent, but the troops are grainy and simply designed. Supposedly there has been a slight graphical upgrade to this new version, but I don't know where it is. There are actually older strategy games that look better, and the ones coming out now simply blow it away. I wouldn't buy Shogun simply for the visual appeal.

Audio

The sound, like the graphics, is done efficiently but without any kind of pizzazz. The voice acting is good and the sound effects do their job, but there's nothing to get very excited about.

System Requirements

200 MHz Pentium, 32 MB RAM, Windows 95/98, 500 MB hard disk space, 4X CD-ROM drive, 3D accelerator card (optional), additional space for Windows swap file and DirectX7 installation

Bottom Line

Graphics don't make a game, but when they are outdated enough to cause a distraction, you know it is a time for an upgrade. If you have never played Shogun and you like the style of game described above, you will probably enjoy this game for the full extent of the campaign (as well as a few multiplayer matches). However, if you already have the previous version or other interests, there is nothing in this product to stir you to action.

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