Review by Randomer

"Prepare for Total War"

Introduction
Shogun Total War-Warlord Edition is set in Feudal Japan. During the Mongol Invasion and the wars in the 15th century. You can choose which armies to play as in the battles and your ultimate goal is to lead your army to victory. It is called Warlord-Edition because It included the Mongol Invasion scenarios

Game play
The tutorial is very simple and it teaches you the basics of battlefield training. However the tutorial battles I found to be very difficult. The main game is split into two modes. The map mode which is risk style planning and the in battle mode. On the map mode, you move your units, build cities, make and break alliances and even decide which religion your country shall convert to. The map mode has no tutorial and at first glance looks very complex. But after 30mins it all seems very simple.
Battle mode is very good fun. It starts off with information about the location and weather you will be fighting in. Then you choose where to place your men and in what formation. Then the battle begins. Now you can issue even more commands and fight the enemy. Battles are great fun to plan but even more fun to watch. Victory and defeat rely on 3 main elements, terrain (high ground for archers), number of troops, and quality, (1000 heavy cavalry would decimate 2000 basic spearmen). However battles can be skipped with the auto battle generator. It takes all these things into account to decide the battle. Sometimes when you are in a losing position the generator can create victory. But some times I lost battles in which I far more troops than the enemy.

Story
I don’t know much about the real wars nor who won them. But the main game is set in 15th century Japan. You can choose the victory conditions that suit the type of game you want to play. The Mongol invasion is set a few hundred years before. You can choose your army each with their own advantages and disadvantages. In the Mongol Invasion you either have to defend the whole of Japan from Mongols landing on the coasts. If you play as the Mongols you have to take every single province.

Graphics/sound
This game is getting on a bit now but it is still rather good looking for its age. The detail on the people are not very good but the battle animations are. I once saw to leaders duelling which in all the fray is rather hard to spot. If you just meet the minimum system requirement then be prepared for slowdown even at the minimum graphics. I have a 3GHz computer with 512mb of RAM. When I started up a big battle with over 10,000 people fighting on the near top graphics and I experienced some major slowdown! So avoid high graphics on slow PC’s.
The games sound is traditional Japanese music during the start of battle, But when the fighting starts really power full drum beats kick in and the music gets heavier. It gets heavier when you are at the brink of defeat and your army is fleeing. Victory has cheerful flute like music where as defeat is greeted by very low and mellow music.

Lifespan
The main game took me a few days, and the Mongol campaign I am still going at. But if you like the battles then you will want to keep at it. You won’t really want to do the campaigns again as a different force but the map editor and battles will keep you coming back for more.

Overall
I have decided to give this game 8/10. It is a really good strategy game and there aren’t many that cover that period in history. It is very cheap now I picked up my copy for £10. But you probably will never buy this as for a little more there are far more recent games like this on offer on the shelf next to it. If however you do buy it should be a nice gap filler until Rome Total War, this games cousin comes out next year.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 09/06/03


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