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Old Fri, 23rd Mar '12, 5:45am   #1
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Default Total War Shogun 2: Fall of the Samurai Released

The standalone expansion to Total War Shogun 2 has been released as of 3/23/2012 (I'm actually downloading on the 22nd).

Here's a link:

http://www.totalwar.com/shogun2/fall-of-the-samurai/

It appears to be a brilliant edition to the series, with the most current technology ever included in a TotalWar game. Watch Japan evolve from a country steeped in tradition, that largely frowns upon western technology, to a technological powerhouse.

For the first time you can fully control up to 2 full stacks in battle! TOTALWar!
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Old Fri, 23rd Mar '12, 2:48pm   #2
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Have they finally returned to differentiating between the factions?
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Old Fri, 23rd Mar '12, 4:14pm   #3
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It's too early for me to really say yet Joa, but my sense is that due to the setting, factions aren't going to be dramatically different from one another, just as different clans in historical Japan did not employ radically different weapons and tactics from one another (I mean, it's a relatively small set of islands, so this makes sense to me).

I can say that there are reportedly 39 new combat units in the game so there seems to be a bit more variety than the original S2. It's a wide mix of traditional Japanese units, Samurai, and a large number of modern units. You can even forge trade alliances with France, England and the USA and import soldiers from those countries to fight alongside you.

There's quite a lot of variety here compared to the original S2 game. But again, if you want to go for a highly modernized faction, I imagine you'll be fielding more or less the same guns and warships as other factions.
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Old Tue, 27th Mar '12, 2:21am   #4
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Warning Ė long post ahead

Iím around 70 turns into my campaign, and can only say wow. This is perhaps the best Total War experience Iíve had to date. Fall of the Samurai is really Napoleon Total War meets Total War Shogun 2, but with a lot of new features that neither had (like naval bombardments, railroads, Gatling guns).

First off, the map has been largely reworked and expanded from the original Total War Shogun 2 Sengoku Jidai campaign. You now have access to Hokkaido and a number of the smaller islands that were previously unavailable. Also, the map has a much more industrial feel to it, and my hat is off to CA for how well they managed to capture this.

We are roughly 300 years into the future from the time of the original game. The Tokugawa Shogunate has reigned supreme in Japan for hundreds of years, but they are losing their grip as discontent surrounding growing western influences mounts, and the Emperor is all too ready to attempt to reclaim the true power of Japan. As you begin the campaign, you notice immediately that you are in an age of steam powered ships, factories, and lots and lots of gunpowder.

Alongside that are the Samurai and a large part of the populace that wants to remain true to Japanís rich culture and history. As a player, you will support either the Shogun or the Emperor (your faction begins with an allegiance to one or the other, but each Daimyo that rules your clan can switch allegiance once during his life. You also have to decide whether you will embrace modernization, embrace tradition, or perhaps try to straddle a line between both.

I am playing as Satsuma (aka Shimazu). I am supporting the Imperial cause, and while I am not shying away from modernization, I am also keeping the historical ways of Japan in view and keeping the Samurai tradition alive.

Armies
Compared to the Sengoku Jidai campaign, the unit roster in the Boshin War expansion campaign is far more numerous. There are numerous traditional units, including a full complement of Samurai (I believe there are 10 units that are considered traditional, including spear levies, garrison levies, katana, spear/yari, bow, matchlock, yari cavalry, bow cavalry, and a samurai hero that fights mounted with spear or bow, dismounted with katana or bow, and you can also train kisho ninja). Investing in traditional dojos actually reduces your clanís level of modernization, so doing this may slow you down from unlocking more advanced technologies.

On the other hand, there are a number of modern units, with a bit of variation on what you can train based on whether you support the Shogun, the Emperor, or if you decide to say to hell with both of them and create your own republic. In this category you can train line infantry, sharpshooter infantry, an elite infantry unit that varies by clan (e.g black bear infantry is what I can train as Satsuma), Imperial/Shogunate/Republican Guard, and a number of gun using cavalry (rifles and revolvers). If you decide to modernize, you can establish trade with the western powers (the UK, France and USA), and once you have done this you can choose to create a trading port with one, and only one, of these factions, which unlocks different units depending on which you pick. For each a single uber elite infantry unit is trainable from the trading port you set up. I chose to build a US trading port, and now I can train US Marines to assist in my campaign. I can also build up to 2 Roanoke class ironclad warships to strengthen my navy. In a way Iím sort of torn that I didnít go with the UK, as their HMS Warrior warship is a terrifying sight to behold as I understand it (and puts a serious bite into your pocketbook).

Navies
And while weíre talking about ships, gone are the tiny wooden traditional warships firing bows from the original campaign. All ships in this campaign are steam powered, and vary between a number of wooden corvettes, gunships and frigates and as you improve your technology you can also build copper plated warships and at last, ironclad warships. With the proper technology research you can also build torpedo boats! Naval battles are very rewarding, the best yet by far in a TW game. Your cannons are now highly accurate, long range killers. The ships are masterfully created, and the water effects are amazingly realistic. You will probably shout the first time you blow one of these mighty ships to smithereens. Or cry the first time you overheat one of your shipís engines to gain improved speedÖ and blow it up!

You can now use ships to bombard buildings or soldiers that are near the coast. Advanced ports now include gun emplacements to if your port gets attacked you can use these emplacements to aid your navy in its defense. Cool! Finally, you can now use your navies, if they are close enough to your armies to call in a couple of naval bombardments during a battle. The more ships and guns your navy has, the more bombs that will drop in the real time battle. This is a very powerful and very rewarding addition to the game. It can also be very dangerous if you donít plan your naval bombardments carefully.

Artillery
In terms of artillery, you start with some fairly archaic wooden cannons, but with some focus you can quickly advance to the impressive Parrot guns and the downright amazing Armstrong cannons. Eventually you have the opportunity to field Gatlin machine guns, which just shred anything that gets in their line of fire. I havenít trained any of these yet, but Iíve seen a few videos, and all I can say is wow.

The more you modernize your armies, the less use your katana samurai will be, as melees are not as prevalent when you are firing cannons that range halfway across the map, and calling in massive naval bombardments! Melees still happen, but major casualties are sustained at a range with highly modernized armies. Still, I find a unit of good old katana samurai to be awesome when you need to storm the walls of a castle.

Railways
On the main island, Honshu, and only the main island you can build a railway that stretches across the length of it as you progress in the game. This allows you to transport your soldiers and artillery amazing distances in a single turn, in addition to increasing your coffers.

Since Iím playing as Satsuma, my territories are primarily in Kyushu and Iím beginning to expand to Shikoku, so at the moment I have no access to railways even if I wanted it. Itís somewhat disappointing that I canít utilize rails from these islands, but I suppose Iíll be getting to the big island soon enough, as it is required to win the game.

Still, this looks to be a really fun innovation in the series.

Other
Iím generally happy with the way agents have been changed. Now they gain 3 experience per turn instead of 1 when you use them in more ďmundane tasksĒ like entertaining nobles or establishing spy networks, so I donít feel constantly compelled to assassinate targets just to level up my agents. I really like the new Foreign Agent, as among his many abilities is the ability to train soldiers, which gives a small amount of experience each turn to an army that he is imbedded with. Nice when an experienced unit lose soldiers to have a FV help them regain some of that experience.

I really like how the appearance of the campaign map changes over the course of a campaign, becoming much more industrial in appearance, with towns popping up throughout a province.

I havenít yet experienced (but am close to it) this gameís version of Realm Divide. From what I understand, when your faction becomes powerful enough, full scale war between the Emperor and the Shogun ensues. At this point clans local to the Shogun all band together, as do those who are loyal to the emperor. This is the point in the game where you can decide to blow off both, and form your own republic, which I imagine this means that everyone will hate you.

Overall, I have found this to be one of the most addictive and satisfying Total War experiences Iíve ever had, and this is coming from someone whoís played Rome, Medieval 2, Kingdoms, Empire, Napoleon, Shogun 2, Rise of the Samurai, and a number of fan made mods for several of these titles.

If you consider yourself a fan of the series (and even if you donít), this is a title that shouldnít be missed! It is completely standalone from the original game, so you donít need to own it. Itís particularly rewarding with the blood mod installed, which costs 1.49, and integrates with all S2 campaigns.

I bought FotS from Green Man Gaming at a 34% discount too! Last I heard that discount is still being honored. I paid roughly $20 instead of $30. Itís definitely worth a look (or several)!
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Old Thu, 29th Mar '12, 10:05am   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joacqin View Post
Have they finally returned to differentiating between the factions?
Joa, to better answer your question, here's a list of the *unique* units each playable faction has:

Aizu:
-Azure Dragon Force
-Black Tortoise Force
-Vermilion Bird Force
-White Tiger Force
-Shinsengumi
-Kyoto Police
-Shigotai
(Cannot recruit):
-Line Sharpshooters
-Line Infantry
-Levy Infantry

Choshu:
-Elite Kihetai
-White Bear Infantry

Jozai:
-Light Yugekitai
-Shinsengumi
-Kyoto Police
-Shogitai

Nagaoka:
-Shinsengumi
-Kyoto Police
-Shogitai

Obama:
-Shinsengumi
-Kyoto Police
-Shogitai

Satsuma:
-Black Bear Infantry

Tosa:
-Tosa Riflemen
-Red Bear Infantry

Sendai (not available, yet..):
-Shinsengumi
-Kyoto Police
-Shogitai

You can determine if this represents "differentiated" factions. It's more differentiated than the original S2, and seems like a reasonably good list given that the game deals with a single country's civil war.

There are also different units depending on whether you support the Shogun, Emperor, or are an independant republic. And as I mentioned previously, there are some different units depending on whether you decide to build an American, British or French Trade District in your clan.
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Old Thu, 29th Mar '12, 10:47am   #6
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Ok, my biggest beef with the Total War games since Medieval II was that all factions just seemed to play the same. I loved Rome and MII for the replayability value. Both Empire and Shogun I enjoyed but only once.
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Old Fri, 6th Apr '12, 5:45pm   #7
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I have FotS and have tried my hand at it as Aizu (probably the most pro-shogun clan). It didn't really go well. In fact, modernisation is one thing but development is another. You can end up having neither the modern units nor a developed chain of traditional units, in which case you're stuck with basic levies. This is harder to get away with than in S2.

Biggest problem, however, is the over the to inside-faction bickering. There seems to be more in-fighting than in basic S2, even though clans should be united for the shogunate or imperial cause. Here they just infight, change allegiance, attack neighbours. Not very realistic. There should be some of it, just not so much. And the travelling distances from province to province in the north of Japan really complicate life. You need like 3 stacks to defend 5 immediately neighbouring provinces. From the city to the port in the same province it may take 3 turns.
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Old Mon, 9th Apr '12, 8:06pm   #8
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Aizu supposedly has one of the most difficult starting situations. The infighting can be a bit excessive, though in my experience there tends to be a number of strong pro-shogunate allegiances and a number of pro-imperial allegiances in the early parts of the game... with plenty of land grabbers thrown in. It isn't until realm divide that the shogun/emperor division becomes a very solid construct in the game. It's at that point that the tensions between the two sides come to a head, and all factions get serious about supporting their allegiance.

I completed Satsuma, which was an incredible campaign, and am now playing for the Shogun as Jozai. It has been much harder to get my feet in this part of the country, similar to playing as Aizu I suspect. My only saving grace has been to ally with surrounding Shogun forces, such as Edo (recently destroyed by Aizu), Aizu and Nagaota. I've been trying to "blend in" whilst developing my economy, but was called into a war with Saga when they attacked Aizu, and now Aizu has ended their alliance with me.:/

I have maybe 1.3 stacks of (mostly levy) soldiers total across 5 provinces that I'm defending, and only 1 decent naval ship, and cash is tight! Now Saga is in sight of my shores with a full stack of I can only imagine what... led by an uber powerful 9 ship navy that is comprised of Corvette class ships. I hope they are heading for my former ally, and not me! Either way, I'm scared!
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Old Sun, 4th Nov '12, 2:24am   #9
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I ended up no more playing FotS, you know. I had a lot of fun with the basic campaign and RotS wasn't bad but it did feel like playing an expansion campaign. Overall a bland experience, although at the same time there was some immersion in S2. Perhaps I'd have found more in RotS if I'd played differently or maybe it was something with the time-period. Generally hard to say. FotS was supposed to be a big thing to me but it sort of let me down, although not through the fault of the designers. Maybe I'm at fault here for being the guy who takes risks but hates losing and regaining land. With the travelling distances between cities, this makes Aizu very hard. That and I finally had enough of the in-faction bickering as I said.

So, how exactly did your campaign go, like from the beginning to the end? What do you remember from it? What were some anchors, milestones?
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