Shogun is not only a challenging and engrossing 3D real-time tactical combat game, but it also features a great turn-based strategy component that complements the combat wonderfully. The goal of Shogun is for you to unify a fractured Japan. In the Sengoku Jidai, or warring-states period of the 16th century, Japan is nominally under the rulership of an emperor who commands the entire Japanese nation. The main component of Shogun: Total War is the campaign mode, which simulates the course of the Sengoku Jidai period. There is also a historical battle mode, which lets you replay five historical battles from the 16th century; as well as a custom battle mode. Shogun's technology tree is fairly simple. You need to build a castle to operate the basic military structures. Upgrading your castle opens up options for better military buildings, such as the famous archery dojo and Buddhist temple. The combat is highly realistic. High ground is vitally important, as it confers addition range for your ranged weapons, as well as sight and attack bonuses. Morale and fatigue are also key considerations in combat. The game engine can handle up to 5,000 individual troops per side, which can make for some truly massive battles. In general, the production values for the game are excellent. The cutscenes are high quality, and the sound and music are great and well suited. The random events, as well as the 2D strategic map itself, are well drawn. Shogun has a great subject, and a perfect melding of strategic and tactical gameplay. The strategy portion is simple but very engrossing, while the tactical battles are very realistic, challenging, and entertaining exercises in military tactics. Shogun does have a smattering of problems, but it easily makes up for its shortcomings with its great design and engrossing gameplay.
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