The Thrill of Tactical Warfare in Total War: Shogun 2

If your ears feel unfamiliar with a game called Total War, then you are not a true war game fan. This game series that defines total and all-out war is a mandatory “subject” for hardcore strategy fans. Everything about this game is taken seriously, from regional regulation, government, rebellion, politics, technology, to battle in the field where the number of troops can approach thousands of people! Shogun 2 continues the tradition that this game series holds with some improvements that we think make the Total War series perfect.


Shogun and Bushido

Shogun 2 narrows its perspective to a battle between landlords called Daimyo in medieval Japan. In fact, in the previous Total War (Empire and Napoleon), the number of countries and cultures involved was quite large so that the combat units in the field also varied in form and function. In this game, the combat units are mostly the same. The difference is, each Daimyo has a special unit according to their regional expertise. Usually, the unit is a better version than the regular unit with the same function. Since each combat unit in this game has statistics that affect its combat power, special units with better abilities will definitely be very useful on the battlefield. Of course, with a note that you can use it with the right strategy.

The main objective in this game is to turn the Daimyo you control into the Shogun. The Shogun’s position as leader of all the Japanese imperial fighting forces was something all Daimyo dreamed about. When compared, it is probably almost the same as being president or chairman of the MPR. Because the higher position of the Shogun is the emperor of Japan and the place can be likened to a god. Therefore, the Shogun was the highest position for humans in Japan at that time. It is also what makes the Shogun’s position always in danger of fighting and killing.

As we explained earlier, a Daimyo has special abilities that differentiate him from other Daimyo. For example, you can find Daimyo who have seasoned archers and are able to manage rice fields well. There are also those who are more skilled at arranging Ninja to attack enemies through behind-the-scenes battles. All these abilities will shape your playing style during playing this game. Whether in battle, politics, economy, and buildings in your province.

Another characteristic of Japan that is brought in this game is Bushido and honor (Honor). The use of culture that highly upholds the spirit of war and honor makes Shogun 2 have an Honor system that must be considered well. A Daimyo can lose face if the troops he leads immediately lose the battle, do not help other areas that are his friends when needed, loot enemy palaces that he defeated, convert to Christianity, and leave generals whose honor has been tarnished (for example, often losing wars) not. committed suicide (Seppuku). The Daimyo whose Honor has fallen will face a popular uprising and generals who try to kill him to take the Daimyo position. This dangerous impact makes the Honor system not to be taken lightly!


Strong Areas Produce Strong Soldiers

Each Daimyo has a territory called a province. It will surely be neighbors with other provinces that are trying to devour your wealth and land of power! Therefore, it is the main task of a Daimyo to defend his territory from enemy attacks, develop his natural potential, regulate the people, build facilities that strengthen his economy, regulate trade, and politics. There are so many tasks! Well, that’s the risk of becoming a leader in the bloodiest era in Japanese history!

The gameplay in provincial setting mode bears a high resemblance to the Civilization game. You can freely control (indefinitely) all matters relating to the province. This can happen because at this time the game uses a Turn Based Strategy. So, all the players who took part took turns. Each turn (turn) is equivalent to a season in Japan. This will affect the position of your soldiers when the turn ends. If your troops are in enemy territory when winter ends, they will take Attrition Damage. This damage will injure troops, even though they are not fighting! This could be likened to a bout of sickness and moral decline from a cold in an area far from home. Watch the season before you start the battle!

A city that represents the reins of a province’s government has several quite complex arrangements. First, you can manage existing buildings in the city. The number of existing buildings is limited by building slots. So, you should not carelessly build something that doesn’t match the unique abilities of the Daimyo at play! This arrangement requires an in-depth strategy regarding the economy and urban development. You can also upgrade existing buildings to generate even more resources. However, you have to remember one thing. The building is not in your fortress! They are scattered in the province which is huge in size! So, enemies can attack these buildings to weaken your economy if they are not properly guarded!

Apart from increasing the economy, the buildings you have can also be used to build better combat units. Usually, buildings with higher functions require a lot of money and the technology to support them. The technology tree called Mastery of The Arts is divided into two types. First, you can find Bushido; technology that develops the combat power of troops by strengthening various aspects of a unit’s statistics and unlocking new unit types. Second, you can select technologies that are useful for regional growth needs and the behind-the-scenes assault called the Way of Chi. This technology lets you create better rice fields, open secret villages to train ninjas, and secret police to keep the area in order. Technology and building upgrades take time (turn) to create. So, good use of time also affects your dominance over the enemy.

The economy and status of all the important people in your province are also governed in this phase of the game. You have to pay close attention to tax arrangements and the creation of combat troops so that you don’t make your area poor. If you set taxes too high, blame no one if your people revolt! However, if taxes are too low, be prepared for a shortage of money for troop building and recruiting. Fortunately, these tax settings are determined via a slider that is easy to operate. You can even use automatic tax settings!

Then, you have to be careful when recruiting troops. Total War is different from other strategy games in that you only need to think about the type of units you build and the money to build them. In this game, you also have to think about the cost of maintaining all the units built! Soldiers are also humans who need salary, food, maintenance of combat equipment! Before building an army, make sure you calculate the maintenance costs and compare it with the income you get at each turn. You don’t want to win the battle but can’t build a province because the money is spent on the salaries of the troops.

The status of the family and generals involved in your government should also receive more attention. Even the greatest daimyo has a family that must be able to continue in power one day. Therefore, you must have a strong son as the heir to your power. In addition, you can also marry girls to generals who are considered worthy of guarding the kingdom you are building. In this section, you can also assign government positions to generals that are deemed appropriate. Each of these positions will have a significant effect in the battles they are in. Apart from that, this action can also increase his loyalty to you.