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7  |  Shogun: Total War: Warlord Edition - A buggy, but good game.
DaFuZzMaStA , 12/7/2003 7:53:59 PM

Let me be the last to say that Shogun: Total War: Warlord Edition (STWWE) is one of the more satisfying yet frustrating strategy games out there. If you are a fan of Akira Kurosawa movies, such as Ran, and you enjoy strategy games that involve hundreds of Japanese soldiers, than try it out. Otherwise, don’t bother.

Let me explain. STWWE is a strategy game that involves controlling your army against others on a realistic, and very pretty, battlefield that ranges from fields, mountains, and coasts, and in various weather such as rain and snow. All this takes place during the age of war in Japan, also known as sengoku jidai hundreds of years ago. Japan had many warlords who vied for the position of Shogun, or number one head honcho, and it was also the time where the Mongols invaded the land of the rising sun. You get to experience this era and all of its bloody glory. A multiplayer option is also available if you are tired of playing the single player battles.

The player can choose to fight historical battles, which the real Shoguns fought in history, including that of Oda Nobunaga and Tokugawa Iyasu. Historical idols in Japan, these Shogun truly symbolize this time period of great conflict. Nobunaga was particularly brutal in his methods, with Iyasu responsible for ending the age of war and bringing in peace. In campaign mode, the player is involved in battles that take place across Japan, with the goal of conquering Japan through sheer brute strength or wise diplomacy with the other clans. Resources in this mode must be used wisely, which includes raising or lowering taxes and creating the necessary training facilities to create your soldiers.

Game play on the battlefield involves the traditional rock-paper-scissor units that we are familiar with. For example, the spearmen kills the mounted units, the mounted units kill the infantry men, and the infantry men and archers kill the spearmen. Other units include musket men, ninjas, and warrior monks. You can change the realism settings with fog of war, morale, ammunition limits, or fatigue.

The battles in the game are cool to look at, especially when you see your units charging against the other army, and zooming in on the action. It’s particularly satisfying when your army virtually wipes out the other despite overwhelming numbers and tactical advantage, or the opposing army decides to flee and your army chases after them. That being said, the game can be challenging, especially when playing in campaign mode and trying to manage your resources and avoid a backstabbing alley or rebellious province.

The sound is sufficient, with Japanese music ranging from the shakuhachi or Japanese flute drifting in before the battle, with the taiko drums banging when the bloodshed begins.

That being said, there are a number of issues with the game which I found extremely frustrating. The first thing was that if I chose the wrong graphics option (picking the hardware accelerator option which I am able to do traditionally in other games) causes your game to go black with sound. That would be fine and all if there was away to reverse this unjustified mistake. But unfortunately, once the screen goes black, it remains black even after you find a way to exit the program and re-enter it. So the user often ends up pressing escape blindly, pressing the down button and hopes that when he/she presses the Enter button, the game escapes. Alt-Ctrl-Delete is another option, but if you want to correct the video settings, you have to reinstall the game again to correct it.

Another frustrating aspect that the game crashes when playing particular historical battles. Other bugs include exiting the game and attempting to enter the game too quickly, causing it to not load.

These bugs may appear to be minor to the reader, but after finishing the game in campaign mode and single battle mode, one would like to complete the game in historical battle mode and see what it would have been like to fight the battles Nobunaga did hundreds of years ago. Unfortunately, that could not have been done with my computer.

Overall, I would only recommend this game for the player who would like to see what it would have been like to fight in feudal Japan, and put up with the many bugs that are in this otherwise enjoyable game. The battles are fun to watch, the sound is realistic and the history behind this game is very interesting.

I would therefore give this game an 8 out of 10, only because the bugs make this game a nightmare for the impatient player or dedicated historical enthusiast.

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