by Ingvi Snædal
previewed on PC
History is Written by the Victor
The Total War series has always emphasized historical accuracy and Total War: Shogun 2 is no exception. Despite having done a lot of research for the original title, even more was needed this time around in order to get every detail down to a tee. The character models will have 52 bones in them and each unit’s movement was captured through motion capture processes employing professional martial artists as source material. Weapon models and sounds were also made using actual weaponry used at the time. This will undoubtedly make the animations and visuals in the game that much smoother and sound more realistic.
The castles will also be quite unique, especially to those who may be more accustomed to European siege warfare where one side would barricade themselves inside the walls of a castle and the opposite side would hammer those walls until a hole formed for them to push the bulk of their manpower through. Japanese castles, on the other hand, were constructed in a way that most would describe as elaborate death mazes, and the barricaded side would often allow the attackers to gain footing in one of the castles courtyards for the sole purpose of luring them into a trap in the next. The Creative Assembly has also confirmed that battle maps will contain certain structures that, if controlled, will give a morale boost. Structures controlled by the opposite side can also be burned to the ground.
Will you be the next Shogun?
Where the game's new features will certainly shine the brightest in the new online multiplayer features. The developers wanted players to feel like every battle was significant, so they decided to link every battle to the player's online avatar. Through this avatar, the player will gain rank and veterancy for his soldiers as well as communicate with the other members of his clan. The highest ranking player in the world will earn the right to bear the name of Shogun, which will be sure to give the players a few points down the line something to strive for and have them constantly clawing at the leaders heals.
There have been some concerns about the balance of power during online matches, mainly in regards to the structures available on the maps. The structures, as stated before, have the power to improve their holder’s chances of victory significantly and if a certain player knows exactly where each and every structure is on a certain map, he could easily rush in and snatch most of them up, giving him an undeniable advantage in the ensuing battle. The balance of power has, however, been well preserved in previous installments of the series so it will be interesting to see how the developers plan on preventing problems such as these.
The Total War series began with a Shogun title eleven years ago and impressed critics and consumers alike with stunning visuals and highly entertaining and addictive gameplay. Its mix of turn-based strategy and real-time tactics has kept players glued to their mice since its inception, and has undoubtedly caused a significant increase in the sales of orthopedic wristbands in the last decade. This latest addition to the series is looking absolutely superb, and one can't help but wonder if this will be the title to push the series that much closer to its ultimate goal: mainstream popularity.