The celebrated strategy series heads way back East
Total War: Shogun 2 returns the acclaimed Total War franchise to its roots, revisiting the feudal-era Japanese setting of the first game in the series.
As with previous releases, this follow-up fuses real-time combat with turn-based strategy and management. You take on the role of a 16th century clan leader, building up your power and influence across the kingdom with the ultimate aim of becoming the new Shogun.
As well as epic battles you will need to research various disciplines and technologies, build up your resources and even plot ninja assassinations. The single-player campaign is bolstered by a multiplayer mode where you can take on fellow strategists head-to-head online or play a co-operative campaign with a real-life ally at your side.
The setting works well for this type of game, with Japanese warlords jostling for power. Unlike other recent Total War titles, however, the action in Shogun 2 is restricted to a single country, which means that there is a something of a limit to the variety of the environments you will encounter.
That's not to say that Shogun 2 looks boring. In fact, graphically, the game is a major leap up from the look of the first Shogun game. The Japanese countryside is rendered beautifully and there is an amazing level of detail. The interface has been well thought out too and it didn't take us long to master.
Shogun 2 is a deep, enthralling experience and a must for strategy fans. Bear in mind that for the best performance you will need a relatively powerful computer. It used to be the case that first-person shooter titles were the most demanding, but other games are starting to become more power-hungry.
It's certainly possible to play the game on an older, less powerful PC – the minimum requirements are fairly low – but to get the full benefit of the sparkling visuals you will need a more powerful PC (click here for a list of requirements).
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Shogun 2 is a deep, enthralling experience and a must for strategy fans
Beautiful graphics; engrossing campaign; co-op and versus multiplayer modes
Powerful PC needed to appreciate visuals
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