So, you're into strategic Japanese feudal warfare and you fancy a change from Shogun: Total War right? Well, whatever you do avoid Takeda because this docu-game of the life of the ancient Japanese warlord Takeda Shingen is about as entertaining as eating a puffer fish's liver.
Unlike Shogun there is no resource management, and you never get the option to choose which territory to conquer next. Instead you simply fight your way through a campaign of more than 40 battles pulled from a set overhead map of Japan. Occasionally you get to answer 'yes' or 'no' to political questions relating to marriages and alliances with other Lords - but even this has little impact on the outcome. In fact I reloaded certain parts of the game and tried different answers to these yes/no dilemmas and as expected the story never changed.
When you get down to the dirty business of spilling blood there are some enjoyable moments -although these are rare and only occur when a battle is being won.
Losing battles is usually the way things go here. A typical skirmish consists of watching your soldiers get utterly annihilated.
However, complete player humiliation is the only true goal of Takeda. After losing a battle you have to attempt exactly the same scenario again, but with half the soldiers you had before. If there's little chance of winning the first battle, you don't stand a chance in hell the second time around.
The battles really are a huge disappointment. Hundreds of tiny indistinguishable units (can you believe the minimum resolution is 1024x768?) run around on a battlefield of green baize amid thick banks of fog. It would be nice to think this 'fog of war' increased Takeda's atmosphere. Indeed, we'd love to paint a mental picture for you filled with images of samurais whirling through the mist beheading all and sundry to the soundtrack of Carmina Burana. Alas, if only the game was that atmospheric. In this case the fog simply reduces both visibility and gameplay to virtually zero.
Takeda will claim that its real strength lies in its multitude of battle formations. The reality is it doesn't really matter whether you're employing a Dragon, Tiger, Fish or Serpent manoeuvre on your foe. Basically, if you're going down, you're going down and it's usually due to a combination of superior enemy numbers and a dodgy interface rather than any sort of tactical ineptitude on your part.
In short, continue your life as if you'd never heard of Takeda Shingen. You've managed this far without him, and your reputation will remain honourable and glorious if you stick to Shogun.
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP