This game has ninjas and samurais, I wish I could say more good things about it, but that would be hypocritical.
Now I am something of a blind optimist. I expect all things to be good and like most people like me go through, I am also usually sorely disappointed. Now for a change when this game came out I was careful not to get too excited and I approached this game slowly like you approach a sleeping lion who has been hungry for 3 days straight and has a strange obsession with human scalps (I am sure most of you have already gone through that, right?). My first impressions of the game were, meh!, so what they changed the art style its still the same game, which basically Napoleon Total War was.
But as usual I was slightly off target, for starters the technology tree has been vastly improved. Not to mention your opponents are a real threat on harder difficulties, but I wimped out and stuck with “easy”, mostly because I wanted to see that 20 second victory clip. Now let me break down the game, lets start with the story. You are a shogun of a small unknown clan and you have some small easily conquerable enemies in your neighborhood (which you can take out within a few turns with your eyes closed), after kicking them aside, you gain a foothold in your area and you then start to fight off bigger fish, until you piss off the shogun who then suddenly manages to unite all of japan against you, then its basically a death match, either you live or the rest of Japan. And to win you need to capture Kyoto. Does this remind you of Rome Total War?, when you have to capture Rome and fight off the other two major factions, yeah, this is almost the same thing. Talk about unoriginal.
But there is one cool thing, your generals now have loyalty, and your Clan Leader has ‘honor’, and you now have to make sure that your leader always is honorable (it just increases by sending him into battles), and to be sure that your generals are loyal, which is a pain in the ass later on in the game when you have like 20+ generals. You can now choose and heir and can adopt generals into your family. Ok enough with the story the gameplay is the same from Napoleon Total War, but here instead of guns you fight with swords. You still conquer stuff, etc nothing new, but the formula is slightly more solid now. Music is wonderful, it sets the mood perfectly and is the best in the series. Sound effects are again extremely good. And no, there is no blood in the game, I know its disappointing.
Now I know you will say, “Dude, you forgot that the game has online multiplayer!”, shut up!, I believe games should stand on single player alone. Ok now for the last part of review (yay!), the negative bits of the game (just in case you didn’t get me for the last three paragraphs). The game quickly gets repetitive, the beseiging and the land battles get old fast. There is almost no naval warfare (which is a good thing since its excruciatingly slow). The clans look like they have a wide variety between them, but after playing them all you realize how little the difference is between them, one has better farming income while another can build slightly faster, this is not a difference Creative Assembly!, we want variety not some slightly reskinned samurais with a slight change in thier earning/building rates. Another boring bit is the micro management, you will need to make sure that all your generals are completely loyal to you, at all times, it sounds good on paper, but when you have a sprawling empire this little feature turns into a chore and something that keeps you always worked up. I am going to give this game a low rating, you have disappointed me Creative Assembly, now I know you are screaming, “You damn, nonconformist moron!, everybody loves the game, why do you have to spoil it?”, I spoil it because I value your time, capturing Kyoto in the end, isnt as much fun as you expect it to be. Want a good Total War game?, try Napoleon (same thing, more stuff to conquer).