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Old 03-15-2011, 01:50 PM
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Shogun 2: Total War, who's playing?


I didn't see a thread now that this game has come out. I figured I'd be the first to make it because I'm competitive like that. It's been like ten hours already. Who's playing?

I'm still waiting, because my shithole town doesn't have a Gamestop. This will be my first TW game and I'm a little worried. I hear the AI is kicking ass, and my ass is especially tender and virginal.
  #2  
Old 03-15-2011, 02:00 PM
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I'm waiting for this crummy work day to finish so I can start my first campaign game.


Heard good things about the multi-player this time around, so I'll probably give that a try later tonight as well.

And yeah, most reviews/reports from the trenches are that the AI IS improved. About the only complain I hear is that the DX11 renderer wasn't ready for prime time so we're stuck with DX 9 and no AA until the 1st patch.

Last edited by Kinthalis; 03-15-2011 at 02:00 PM.
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Old 03-15-2011, 02:41 PM
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My copy should come in the mail tomorrow. It was cheaper on Amazon.uk and it's steamworks anyway so best of both worlds.

I dunno though. I didn't really get into the last two games as much as I had in the past and I'm pretty burned out just having played through DA2. I was almost going to give this one a pass but the trailers really sold me on the style they were going for.

Here's hoping it recaptures the magic of moving my little pieces across a board. I still remember the little clicking sound they used to make in the first game.
  #4  
Old 03-15-2011, 08:23 PM
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Cool you can play the clan warfare mode with groups. I'm joining the SDMB Clan!
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Old 03-15-2011, 10:06 PM
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I'm downloading from Steam right now. I didn't pre-order and pre-load because they had the worst pre-order incentive ever; so bad that I actually avoided pre-ordering to not get it. I have tomorrow off, so I'll be able to put it through its paces. Based on the demo, I have high hopes for the game, but I'm going to make two predictions:
-The game will be buggy for a month or two. We all know that's just how games are these days.
-People will complain anyway.
  #6  
Old 03-16-2011, 12:34 AM
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I'm downloading from Steam right now. I didn't pre-order and pre-load because they had the worst pre-order incentive ever; so bad that I actually avoided pre-ordering to not get it.
Are you referring to the Team Fortress 2 equipment? I agree that it was pretty lame, but since I actually play TF2, that's what tipped the balance for me to pre-order.

The game itself is an evolution of Empire/Napoleon, with all the little niggling bits seemingly fixed. The interface is very clean, very sparse, although they haven't fixed the tiny fonts. The family tree from Rome and Medieval is back. You can now actually guide the leveling of your agents. For example, you can assign points to "Strategy" or "Warrior" for each general, with different bonuses depending on what you choose. You also have the choice of buying different retainers, like the boyhood friend who watches your back (-10% assassination) or a doctor to take care of you (-2% death from natural causes). Each agent (general, ninja, monk, geisha, etc.) has a different leveling tree.

I've started a single-player campaign as the Chosokabe clan and am well on my way to conquering the entire island of Shikoku. How does clan warfare work? I think I'd be open to joining an SDMB clan.
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Old 03-16-2011, 10:19 AM
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Are you referring to the Team Fortress 2 equipment? I agree that it was pretty lame, but since I actually play TF2, that's what tipped the balance for me to pre-order.
Since I don't play TF2, the bonus is worth less than nothing to me. I don't want it cluttering up any menus. Is it really too much to ask that a pre-order bonus be related to that game and not a game I don't even own?
  #8  
Old 03-16-2011, 11:29 AM
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I just got my ass stomped in the tutorial
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Old 03-16-2011, 01:38 PM
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You know, it's funny - I've played Napoleon steadily since it was released, but in the last two days I've had more old-timey fun with Shogun than all my time playing Napoleon put together.

It's not without bugs and balance issues, but it's still probably the best vanilla game Creative Assembly has ever released. Some things are bound to be fixed - archers are way overpowered, for instance, and the enemy leaves his towns emptied way too often - but overall, I'm very, very happy. And the movies and speeches are back! Yay!

Considering the great things the modders have accomplished with even Napoleon's hidebound development utilities, I fully anticipate great things even in Shogun 2's future. I'm also happy to see that CA have relaxed a bit with the DLC and rather put things into the vanilla game.
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Old 03-16-2011, 04:08 PM
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Five hours played, and the game runs much better than I expected from a new release. I'm playing as Chosokabe (the same clan from the tutorial), so the scenery is a bit familiar. I've conquered all of Shikoku (and Awaji) and snagged most of the trading posts (there's one way up north that's easy to miss on the radar map). The battle for the fourth city on Shikoku was a fierce one, and my clan leader died in the process. His widow is regent until Junior comes of age. I've built a Nanban trading port near Iyo to see what options that opens up, even though I don't plan to use firearms that much. I've noticed that bow samurai (at least the Chosokabe variety) aren't terrible in melee; like Medieval II's Genoese crossbowmen, perhaps? I think I'll turn my attention toward Kyushu next.
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Old 03-16-2011, 05:42 PM
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I have no interest whatsoever in Japanese history or culture, would this game still be fun for me?
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Old 03-16-2011, 05:44 PM
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Well, I too have little interest in Japanese history ro culture, and I'm loving the game. I think if you are interested in this type of gameplay (or total war games in general) you'll be safe.

I haven't this much fun with a total war game since Rome!
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Old 03-16-2011, 05:48 PM
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Well, I too have little interest in Japanese history ro culture, and I'm loving the game. I think if you are interested in this type of gameplay (or total war games in general) you'll be safe.

I haven't this much fun with a total war game since Rome!
Hmm. I hated Empire but loved Rome: Total Realism and MTWII.
  #14  
Old 03-16-2011, 06:15 PM
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Bought it and downloading it but it's so huge it's taking forever, so I won't get to play until tomorrow night

I am a big fan of Japanese history and culture so add this to my love of strategy and I think we're in for a winner. The reviews have been uniformly positive so I'm confident.
  #15  
Old 03-16-2011, 08:20 PM
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Hell, I think I might pick this game up. Are the speeches in Japanese?
  #16  
Old 03-16-2011, 09:14 PM
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Yep. And all the English dialog is done with a Japanese accent

The AI, I've noticed, is much improved. It's more antagonistic, better at handling diplomacy, and on the battle field, it's quick to take the high ground and uses it's units well... most of the time.

It still occasionally does silly things. I was outnumbered considerably (2,500 troops vs 500). The AI should have easily flanked me and routed my troops in seconds. In stead it takes me head on, AND charges it's single calvary unit at my wall of spears.

It took entirely too many casualties on what should have been an easy victory.

Of course the next turn it manages to kick me out of my own fortress with a pretty evenly matched force.
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Old 03-16-2011, 09:24 PM
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In the previous games if you shared a border with someone, no matter how much trade you're doing and how good the relationship was, you'll be at war in very short order. Is that still true?
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Old 03-16-2011, 10:31 PM
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I'm holding off on buying it until a) the first rounds of patches are out and b) I'm done with my urgent work. Else it's going to become a lot more urgent
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Old 03-16-2011, 10:47 PM
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I just got solidly trounced and humiliated by the AI. Here I was, marching a third of my army including all my archers and a fourth of my infantry, through the forest to come in on the flank.

Suddenly,

NINJAS!

At which I point I went "Huh! Damnit, didn't see them there!"

...

...

  #20  
Old 03-16-2011, 11:11 PM
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NINJAS!

At which I point I went "Huh! Damnit, didn't see them there!"

...

...

Well of course you didn't see them. Hell, there's a ninja out there right now trying very hard not to kill you.
  #21  
Old 03-16-2011, 11:48 PM
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Any word on game-breaking bugs?

I just know they have to be here. I've played every Total War game since release, so I know how this goes.

Where are the game-breaking bugs?
  #22  
Old 03-17-2011, 12:06 AM
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54 turns in and I've added the island of Kyushu to my holdings. The Shoni clan put up a valiant fight, but ultimately paid the price for attacking me. My new 14-year-old Daimyo had a trial by fire; Now at age 19 he's got four stars. His strike force was very busy but spread thin. The war ended promptly after I landed a second fresh strike force on the other side of the island.

The most fun battle of that war was when I had 19-unit army defend a tiny fort (with ninja-sabotaged gates) from a horde of attackers. My 6 archer units were able line about 80% of the ramparts, but the enemy attacked from four different directions. My infantry and cavalry were just a huge overlapping mass in the middle ready to step in when attackers reached the ramparts. All of my archers ran out of arrows, so I actually had to send out a small cavalry sortie to take out that last enemy archer unit.

The campaign AI still has a fair bit of the Empire/Napoleon silliness. The Shoni navy definitely outclassed mine. They managed to keep my main port blockaded for over a year (totally crippling my economy), but they didn't attack any of my undefended trading posts in their back yard. They also had that tendency to send their forces around the countryside in groups of one to three.

I noticed that up north, Fukushima has been a major battleground. It changed hands four times in maybe two years. Eventually a new rebel clan arose to take control of it. I couldn't help but think, "Man, Fukushima just can't catch a break."
  #23  
Old 03-16-2011, 11:48 PM
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I'm playing but I need some serious help. My clan is constantly in a state of starvation and I have no idea why. I've researched every tech related to agriculture, I've built every upgrade to the fields and I'm at negative ten food with every province in a start of low grade rebellion. I have plenty of territories and lots of money coming in, trade agreements with like six other clans...but my folks are starving. WTF? Is there any way to buy food???

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

-XT
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Old 03-17-2011, 12:12 AM
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I'm playing but I need some serious help. My clan is constantly in a state of starvation and I have no idea why. I've researched every tech related to agriculture, I've built every upgrade to the fields and I'm at negative ten food with every province in a start of low grade rebellion. I have plenty of territories and lots of money coming in, trade agreements with like six other clans...but my folks are starving. WTF? Is there any way to buy food???

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

-XT
The only solution I can think of is "don't build too many buildings that consume food". I get the impression that we're not supposed to have a maxed-out castle and market in each town.

As for game-breaking bugs, there was this earlier today, but it's fixed now.

ETA: Oh, and armies and navies move choppily when they have agents in them, but it doesn't seem to lead to any instability.

Last edited by Max the Immortal; 03-17-2011 at 12:13 AM.
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Old 03-17-2011, 01:51 AM
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I'm playing but I need some serious help. My clan is constantly in a state of starvation and I have no idea why. I've researched every tech related to agriculture, I've built every upgrade to the fields and I'm at negative ten food with every province in a start of low grade rebellion. I have plenty of territories and lots of money coming in, trade agreements with like six other clans...but my folks are starving. WTF? Is there any way to buy food???

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

-XT
Exact same happened to me, and it kinda made me pissed. I think it was because I was castling up almost immediately. Now I wait till I have one or two provinces down and it works.
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Old 03-17-2011, 06:03 AM
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Exact same happened to me, and it kinda made me pissed. I think it was because I was castling up almost immediately. Now I wait till I have one or two provinces down and it works.
Do the castles drain food away from the peasants to create siege stockpiles ? That would be neat, but other than that I fail to see how castles could lead to mass starvation.
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Old 03-17-2011, 10:12 AM
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Exact same happened to me, and it kinda made me pissed. I think it was because I was castling up almost immediately. Now I wait till I have one or two provinces down and it works.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max the Immortal
The only solution I can think of is "don't build too many buildings that consume food". I get the impression that we're not supposed to have a maxed-out castle and market in each town.
I didn't even notice that buildings used food. I've maxed out all my castles and built every building I can build in each. The problems really started when I went to war and started expanding. When I captured 6 territories my food went negative, but I researched all of the agriculture technologies and I was able to get it back to 2. But as I added new territories after that it steadily went down (it's at negative 15 right now) and I have no idea how to fix it. I've had to station large garrisons because of the constant rebellions in the back field. But it's not a money thing, as I'm running at 4-5k per turn right now and have tons of money...it's just the constant attacks that are getting me down (you can't auto most of the sieges unless you have an overwhelming number of troops...but if you fight it out it seems to me that defending is even easier in this game than it was in other TW games).

I think that if it's the buildings doing this I'm going to have to restart, unless you can destroy buildings or castles.

-XT
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Old 03-17-2011, 02:08 PM
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I've installed it but haven't had a real chance to play it yet. What's the best clan to start with? The Chosuwhatevers from the tutorial? Having no understanding of Japanese history is holding me back a bit, the only clans I'd heard of were the Tokugawa and Oda clans.
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Old 03-17-2011, 11:08 PM
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Ninja movies? Are they any good?
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Old 03-18-2011, 12:11 AM
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Ninja movies? Are they any good?
See for yourself. Success vs. failure.
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Old 03-18-2011, 01:24 PM
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I got it, too. Sorry, but playing the Shimazu can be a mutha!

First I got going, made some newb mistakes but still got rolling, when I was attacked by a former friendly who got nervous.

And hit me when my forces were depleted by terrible battles.

With an army at least as big as all my forces.

OK, so I did some decent damage. I still was going to get stomped, because while my troops were reinforcing it was just taking too long, and they had knee-capped by second army.

So I restarted.

This time I made them my ally and cooperated via marriage, making them a much more reliable friend. While I'm unsure of how far I can allow them to exapnd, I think I'll be able to move fast enough. I almost feel like I'm playing Europa Universalis, with its complex diplomatic balancing acts.

My current enemy's campaign AI isn't giving me any help, however - they're tricky and keep their armies mobile and large. Sometimes they will send a force too small, and that's when you pounce and then strike back. But they've been surprisingly strong, and unfortunately I simply haven't had time to stand back and build my forces. So far I'm about 20 turns in and have a large army trying to cripple the north end of the island's defences. If this works (and I have their whole army beseiged, I'll be able to roll up their other settlements quickly. Down the line my lord's son will probably turn on his current allies, but that's for another day. Further, they hunted down and killed off three of my four trading ships, though I'm building a fleet to make sure that doesn't happen again. Still have money, though. Markets are very useful, even if you don't build them up further. Roads are no longer the best thing you can build, and there's some real choice about what you want to build.

I will probably go Christian, for the guns. I'm just not happy with the way masses of archers tend to work out. In fact, I've been (ahistorically) positioning archers behind the melee and then rushing them into the thick of it to break the enemy lines once all forces are engaged. The AI tends not to handle this well - it can unit-match, but it doesn't know what to do if you flank that effectively.

I also like that happiness management is easier. In previous games, I often would crank up my taxes and then fill the cities with huge hordes of old units and peasants, partly because a heavily-damaged unit was useless and if retrained lost all its bonuses. Now I want to keep my good units, and if they have to rest for a while it's no problem. - they'll be back in action in a year or so. Once I own all of Shikoko I will probably turn my baleful gaze on the Chokosabe, and then begin rolling up the southern end of Japan (or on the in-game map, the western end of the main island of Honshu)
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Old 03-18-2011, 02:02 PM
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Are you guys going pretty heavily down the line with bushido or way of chi, or are you kind of mixing it up?
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Old 03-18-2011, 03:38 PM
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Are you guys going pretty heavily down the line with bushido or way of chi, or are you kind of mixing it up?
Not very far into it, but I'm going first into Bushido according to any missions I have (unlocking better units) and then far enough into Chi to manage my economy a bit more effectively. Post Roads and a little discounting and tax bonus can go a long way.
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Old 03-18-2011, 06:49 PM
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Okay, I'm going to have to backtrack a couple of turns in my campaign. I got a little bored of peaceful building and decided to attack another clan. That quickly filled up that fame gauge on the clan screen. Turns out that's kind of a big deal. The current shogun decided I was getting a little too big for my britches, and denounced me. All of the other clans promptly declared war on me. I want to finish exploring the masteries before diving into my first campaign's endgame.

Plus, I have more than enough income to support several more strike forces. I want to see how warrior monk archers compare to samurai archers. A 16.7% longer range probably isn't a huge deal in field battles, but it could be huge for castle assaults.


Quote:
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Are you guys going pretty heavily down the line with bushido or way of chi, or are you kind of mixing it up?
I went bushido far enough to get a bow mastery for a Chosokabe mission first, then went chi mastery for a while. After gaining the ability to build the best farms (and getting monasteries along the way), I switched back to bushido; by then I could afford to build big castles in my territory for a hefty bushido mastery bonus.
  #35  
Old 03-17-2011, 11:42 PM
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I caved and bought it.
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Old 03-18-2011, 02:28 PM
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Just had a proper hands on through the tutorial. First impressions are pretty good, it doesn't have the 'unfinished beta' feel of Empire or the 'glorified expansion pack' feel of Napoleon. One thing I hated there, probably due to the time period, is how battles were so damn boring. They all looked the same, line up your things that go boom and wait until the enemy falls over. For one thing, load times are far better - Empire took ages. They've obviously done some work in optimising the engine.

I'm glad gunpowder here is treated more like it was in Medieval II, exotic and rare. Melee clashes look great, the physics really make things entertaining - spear cav charges send men flying, as does artillery impacts. Gives the whole thing weight. Troops also seem less stupid, on both sides; mopping up after a battle is more how is should have been - Empire ruined it. Try and mop up an enemy in Empire and your stupid cav meander around from one fleeing man to another. Here, the Japanese cav goes straight for the bulk, allowing good old Total War style battles of annihilation.

The campaign map looks beautiful, and the fully rotatable thing works well. Unlike the samey battlefields of 18th century Europe (seen one rural field with a fort in the background, seen 'em all) where you fight actually matters. Also love the seasons. I was worried that it'd be a bit small, just the islands of Japan (minus Hokkaido) compared to the whole of Europe and parts of Asia and North Africa? Fortunately my fears were dashed, the map size is suitably epic.

This may have seemed like one big dig against Empire, but I think Empire did one thing better - naval battles. I've only fought a few in Shogun, but they lack...impact. Kind of the inverse of the land situation. Peppering with arrows lacks the same feel as blowing chunks of ships hulls off with cannon fire, splintering the wood and toppling masts. I do like way that land is included, though.

The little details are also great, like the way men lie writhing on the ground after a clash, the glinting katanas and spears and the ambassador's reactions in diplomacy. Siege battles are also a million times better than in Empire. Ninja movies - also great. Not sure about all the agents though, think they should have stuck to the assassin/spy dynamic from the earlier games - how exactly do geishas differ from ninjas? I'm sure this sort of stuff will come to me in time, but for the moment it's a bit confusing.
  #37  
Old 03-18-2011, 10:42 PM
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Lost my first campaign. I ended up taking Kyoto, but I only had 36 provinces in the end. About the time I had half of the main island everyone decided to declare war on me at the same time. My allies, neutrals, everyone. So, I went from about 7k per turn to negative 2k instantly. Luckily I had over a 100k reserves, but with allies attacking forts I thought were behind the lines, and with the damn AI using deep strike landings in my rear area, it took me too long to re-establish the front and grind forward again. I just ran out of time (you only have until the end of 1600 to capture a list of provinces, including Kyoto which you have to hold for a year and 40 total territories).

It was pretty fun though. I have to say that with a tier two fortress, 4-6 archers, 2-4 spearmen and whatever garrison troops you get I was able to hold just about every defensive attack the computer could throw at me. It just doesn't seem to understand how to spread the defense and simultaneously attack from multiple directions. It does pretty good if you only have the tier 1 fort, but anything higher than that and it can take the outer works, but then sort of flails around getting shot up and eventually destroyed.

-XT
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Old 03-19-2011, 07:01 AM
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I have to admit I was becoming disenchanted with the Total War series. The games were fine but it felt like I'd played them to death before I even picked them up (I have the same problem with the X2: The Threat series of games).

I'm having a blast with Shogun though. I don't know if is the art style or if they've just fixed a lot of the annoying crap they had added in some of the games but I'm enjoying this as much as the original Medieval Total War.

Just completed my Legendary playthrough. That was brutal I think I'm going to bump it down to normal from now on.
  #39  
Old 03-19-2011, 11:54 AM
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I started a second game after I did a great job in the first getting my initial army slaughtered to the last man.

I'm loving it so far, although I can't figure out how to get my income up.
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Old 03-19-2011, 12:05 PM
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Research the stuff in the tech line on the far right...it will also help with your food. Build a harbor immediately and then build a bunch of trade ships. Send one off to each of the trade spots and if no one is there take it. Once you have trade ships there, build more and stack...each additional ship brings in like 50-100 gold. It adds up. (once you have some real money, build some sort of warship and send them to your trade stacks or someone will eventually come along and destroy them). Use diplomacy to trade with other clans, even if you have to pay initially to get it set up. Build everything that increases your income (while watching your food situation...some buildings, especially forts require food).

That's about it. I haven't had much issue with gold (until literally everyone turned on me at once). Food was a bigger problem. Sometimes when I was capturing enemy territories that had larger forts in them (and only the first tier agriculture...the computer so cheats in this game ) I would drop to 5 or 6 food, which is dangerously low to me (after my first disastrous game where I was always in the negative).

-XT

Last edited by XT; 03-19-2011 at 12:05 PM.
  #41  
Old 03-20-2011, 02:43 AM
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I caved, played most of yesterday and.. man, it's hard ! I've been playing TW games since day one, and I'm getting my ass handed to me on a regular basis on the strat map. They really managed to capture how the first one played: move units one way, your other neighbour stabs you in the back. Keep home and consolidate, someone overtakes you. Playing any clan besides Shimazu, Date or Chosokabe and you're really just trying to hang in there by the skin of your teeth.

As for battles, I get way more losses than I'm used to... and more than the autoresolve which is a little vexing . Still getting used to just how fast units zip around, and how fast the kill rates are. My usual wall of archers doesn't work when they only have the time to fire 3 or 4 volleys before they're cut to ribbons in 3 seconds.
I gotta say though, I'm really not a fan of the Warcraft3 style special abilities. Lot more micro than is needed, which is compounded by how fast the action is.

Is there a way to get more scouting going on, barring agents ? I'm really missing my watch tower network. I have no idea how my neighbours are doing, so it's always a surprise when they send a full stack my way. See above re: getting my ass handed to me

Last edited by Kobal2; 03-20-2011 at 02:44 AM.
  #42  
Old 03-20-2011, 03:41 AM
Gukumatz is offline
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Location: Oslo, Norway
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Originally Posted by Kobal2 View Post
Is there a way to get more scouting going on, barring agents ? I'm really missing my watch tower network. I have no idea how my neighbours are doing, so it's always a surprise when they send a full stack my way. See above re: getting my ass handed to me
Ninjas are really the answer here. When I hit 5 or 6 territories, I usually have at least 2 Sake Dens pumping out ninjas to be used to scout. I'm experimenting with monks and metsuke, but right now, ninjas are working out the best for me. If you have one to spare, keep it near your enemy's field stack. Being able to at least attempt sabotaging their army has let me ambush more armies than you could shake a dead cat at.
  #43  
Old 03-20-2011, 06:03 AM
Martini Enfield is offline
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Is the arrival of the Europeans a Big Deal the way it was in the original, and (just as importantly) are there gunpowder units in the game?
  #44  
Old 03-20-2011, 10:47 AM
Walmarticus is offline
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I've been alternating my tax levels: high for one turn, normal for the next. Because it takes two turns for a rebel army to form, I can rake in a bit more dough with no insurrection.
  #45  
Old 03-20-2011, 11:28 AM
Least Original User Name Ever is offline
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I've been alternating my tax levels: high for one turn, normal for the next. Because it takes two turns for a rebel army to form, I can rake in a bit more dough with no insurrection.

Man, I remember the Koei games on the Nintendo Enterteinment System, where, you could jack up the taxes, take the hit on the happiness for that turn, then decreases the taxes by one point, garner some happiness, give a couple hundred units of rice, and rake in the cash.
  #46  
Old 03-20-2011, 11:33 AM
smiling bandit is offline
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Originally Posted by Martini Enfield View Post
Is the arrival of the Europeans a Big Deal the way it was in the original, and (just as importantly) are there gunpowder units in the game?
They don't just "show up" as I've seen. You can build Nanban (European trade) ports and get gunpwder from there - but it takes some time and is expensive. Later on, you can develop your own gunpowder infrastructure, which is better but takes a lot of high-level buildings. You can get your units faster from Nanban ports by.

Nanban ports is the way you get to Christianity, I think. It starts getting Christian people and you can then convert. This can be useful, but if you do so make sure you've got a couple archer units in every castle, and try to have a free slot in as many as possible to build up Chapels for conversion. It won't take too long to settle things down ocne you get rolling, and that gives you much faster Chi teching, as well as other bonuses.
  #47  
Old 03-20-2011, 01:43 PM
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Yeah, but if you build your own you can get Samurai Musketmen, which like the Samurai Archers are better able to fight if it comes to melee (they also get a few additional abilities like a rapid fire by ranks option which is nice). They are great defensive units. I wish they had something like the stakes available to certain archer units in TW:M2 though, since they are still really susceptible to cavalry.

-XT
  #48  
Old 03-20-2011, 07:57 PM
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Been playing a Date campaign. A little slow moving at the moment, I put down the rebellion then confidentially strode into the neighbouring Mas...something clan territory, swatting aside a few minor armies and hoping to starve the defenders of their castle into submission, Medieval 2 style - only to find that entire garrison of the castle had marched out to meet us! I held on by the skin of my teeth only to find myself in the middle of enemy territory in winter.

An advisor then popped up to inform me that an ominous skull shape over my army was a sign of attrition - I thought I'd caught plague from somewhere. First thought - awesome! Campaign seasons! Second though - shit! I gotta get out of here! Like Napoleon in 1812 I limped out of the snowy lands for resupply, with enemies hot on our trail.

A few things I don't like;
- Chasing enemy armies around the campaign map like Benny Hill. Stand and fight, you cowards! Ties up way too much time chasing the enemy around Date hinterlands.
- Restocking. Should be an option to do it all at once like prior games; it's too slow - especially general's bodyguard units. After taking a beating it breaks flow to have to sit on your arse for a few turns whilst your army has a breather.

Other than that, no complaints. How have you guys been developing generals? I've put points into Strategist and Poet (early tech upgrades seem a good idea). However, my general is my only cav unit so I'm thinking perhaps I should have put more points into the warrior side of things.
  #49  
Old 03-21-2011, 12:16 AM
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If you have multiple depleted units of the same type, you can drag and drop to merge them together into a single unit, preserving their experience level. Better than just disbanding if you've got the option.
  #50  
Old 03-23-2011, 12:10 AM
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Finished my legendary Chosokabe campaign. I have to amend my earlier statement about the tactical AI being competent at siege battles. It does fairly well on the first tier of forts, but once castles expand into multi-level, the AI really begins to fall apart. It's also crippled on siege defense by a complete refusal to ever leave the castle for any reason - even if it's got cavalry units bottled up and the attacking force is nothing but archers. It skews the siege play far in the player's advantage by the late game. If the campaign AI was more willing to starve out castles rather than assaulting with an insufficient force advantage, it'd be a lot more effective, because the tactical AI is surprisingly solid in open field combat.

The Realm Divided event also came as a surprise in its potency. Most strategy games like this tend to wind down in the late game into just being a series of well-controlled mopping up. In this one, once you've gained enough fame to have the country's attention, an event fires off that steadily degrades your relations with everyone. Unless you invest heavily into diplomacy, even your staunchest allies eventually start to see their clan ending as your vassal. I really like the aura of paranoia it creates, as the question becomes when, not if, they'll try to stab you in the back.

Unit balance seems pretty good. With the possible exception of the no-dachi samurai, each infantry unit has a time and place to uniquely excel, cavalry balances extreme power with extreme fragility, and the right ratio of ranged to melee power varies wildly depending on the terrain and unit mixes. Even the peasant fighters, generally useless in the Total War games, can present serious battlefield power in the right situations, and have high strategic utility due to their low cost, ready availability, and the immense upkeep costs on samurai forces. The special agents are all very powerful and are a core part of the campaign play rather than just an irrelevant sidegame as they often are.

So overall, I'd say that while Shogun 2 is, yet again, just another iteration of the same unchanging Total War formula, it's the most polished of the bunch. Unlike the rest of the series, it's also, thankfully, fairly clean of game-stopping bugs on release and the AI doesn't pull nearly as many pants-on-head idiot maneuvers as it used to. It's still only about 3/4ths of a strategic game squashed together with 3/4ths of a tactical game, but they've spruced up the weaker points of each enough that the overall effect is pretty engaging.
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