Reviews by PharaohsVizier
Brings about some much needed diversity!PharaohsVizier | July 31, 2011 | Review of Total War: Shogun 2 - Sengoku Jidai Unit Pack
One of the major problems plaguing Shogun 2 Total War is the lack of unit diversity. Each clan has pretty much the same set of units (not surprising since it is a civil war). Differences more or less came from bonuses to certain units, stronger morale, faster build times, etc. This DLC differentiates the clans a lot better, the units overall feel pretty cool. Between the two DLC's for Shogun 2, I'd definitely recommend this one over Ikko Ikki.
Disappointing amount of contentPharaohsVizier | May 27, 2011 | Review of Total War: Shogun 2 - Ikko Ikki Clan DLC
While DLC's are meant to be cheap and minor additions to the game, this $5 DLC is definitely on the cheap side of content and on the heftier side on price. Though $5 is not a lot of money to cry about, I'd say save the money and grab an older Total War title when they go on sale.
Essentially you are getting a few reskinned characters with minor tweaks in the stats. The clans in the original game already played very similar to one another, so the additional of an Ikko Ikki clan didn't make a huge difference. Similarly, the rest of the content are negligible little bonuses that you wouldn't notice unless you play the game to death. For hardcore fans, it IS additional content, some of which may add a few hours of delight, especially since the Ikko Ikki has a difference nuance historically.
It's not entirely a waste of money, but when you see Napoleon Total War or Empire Total War going for $7 from time to time on this site, you have to wonder if your money is better spent elsewhere.
Oddly unsatisfyingPharaohsVizier | April 6, 2011 | Review of Zombie Driver
I bought this game thinking I'd get some grim satisfaction from slamming into Zombies. I didn't expect any depth to the game, I just wanted to hear some bloody screams. And somehow I was disappointed.
This game just didn't feel good. There was no feedback when you mowed into zombies. No screams, no shaking, no blood, it just felt like your car slowed down and that was it. I just can't recommend this game at all.
The best TW game to date!PharaohsVizier | April 6, 2011 | Review of Medieval II: Total War Gold Edition
Medieval 2 Total War was the last TW game before they swapped to the warscape engine. I'm a fan of the Warscape engine used in Napoleon, Empire and Shogun 2, but there are obvious deficiencies. Medieval 2 Total War has aged relatively well because the graphics still look fantastic by today's standards.
The beauty of Medieval 2 Total War is the mod-friendliness of the game, which is absent in the newer TW games. There are still many in development and the ones released are excellent. Total conversion mods have brought just about everything into the game, from Japanese samurai to the Uruk-hai of Lord of the Rings, this game just has infinite possibilities.
Classic, but buggyPharaohsVizier | April 6, 2011 | Review of Crazy Taxi DNS
I had fond memories playing Crazy Taxi on my Dreamcast years and years ago. The moment I saw that the games was being ported over to the PC, I immediately purchased it. Though it was faithful, and pretty much a straight port, the game froze pretty frequently between load screens.
The game itself is fantastic, just like I remembered it. Some of the gameplay is a little archaic by today's standards, for example the reverse and acceleration swap was sort of annoying, but again this is exactly as it was years ago.
For a couple of bucks this game would have been worth it had it been bug free, but I honestly cannot recommend it because of the troubles it caused me.
Very similar to its predecessorsPharaohsVizier | April 5, 2011 | Review of Total War: Shogun 2
The similarities between Shogun 2 Total War and the previous two installments in the Total War series are undeniable. However along with a new era, slightly reworked systems and a whole new design direction, there are much needed fixes all around.
First off, Shogun 2 Total War is a mix of real time strategy and turn based strategy. You organize your troops and diplomatic relations on a large scale map and you can choose to fight out all the battles in real time. The turn based strategy appears to be rather simple but in reality it is quite complex. Though perhaps not as robust as Civilization, it has its own style and can be rather deep. It easily holds its own against franchises that specialize in just turn based strategy. The real time battles are far different from games such as Starcraft or Age of Empires in which there is a building aspect. Since you manage your armies on the large scale maps, you enter a battlefield with a preset army. Odds may be against you and there may be zero balance in a battle, but you can use wit and cunning to gain advantages. Unlike the ever popular Starcraft 2 in which the focus in micromanagement, the units come in groups, so your focus in much more on positioning rather than making sure that that one guy on the battlefield is doing the right thing. The real time battles are arguably a lot deeper than competitors as well. Since the base building aspect found in almost all RTS games is wiped out, Total War makes up for it by making the battles themselves much more complex. You have to worry about morale, fatigue, routing units, positioning, weather, terrain. Just about anything you can imagine on a real battlefield is here in this game in some form or another.
The graphics for this game is quite beautiful, though it isn't a huge jump from Napoleon Total War or Empire. In fact because it is using the same engine, it feels much the same. The animations are tweaked, and it is still one of the most demanding games I've touched. You best check the system requirements before purchasing.
As awesome as this game sounds right now, there are a few issues that people often bring up, and I'd like to address some of them. The first is how Total War remains much the same game as before. It is unfortunately completely true. There seems to be a real lack of innovation in Shogun 2 Total War, it it obvious that they are afraid of alienating their customers and took a safe path out. However the one major addition to Shogun 2 that does make a significant difference is the enhancements to multiplayer.
The previous Total War entries more or less had some form of multiplayer attached, but it was such a piece of junk it was useless. It wasn't organized, it lagged so bad the games never actually complete and basically no one was online. This was true right up to and including Napoleon Total War. I can't understand how they managed to fix it with Shogun 2 Total War, but somehow all the lag was gone, which makes me wonder why didn't they do this earlier. Multiplayer is a LOT of fun on Shogun 2 because not only did they fix the lag, they added so much to it that it feels like "enhancing" is the wrong word to use. We have achievements, clans, lobbies, battles, competitions, avatars, levels, etc. The most important part is that people are actually playing online, which will add a ton to the replay value of the game.
Moving along to the other main complaint, the AI. The AI gets bashed by every review and I personally can't understand it. With a game this complex, it is inevitable to have the AI do one or two stupid moves somewhere throughout the game. I mean even I do stupid stuff when I completely forget about morale or something. The AI is good enough, it will trounce any average player and give a tough time to most. It's unfortunate that the most vocal about this issue are the die hard fans that have been honing their skills since Shogun 1, and reviewers that just like to echo what they hear on the forums.
In all Shogun 2 Total War is a fantastic game that is well worth the price. There are a few shortcomings, and I felt they could have been more ambitious with this project, being the third game in the series to run the Warscape engine, but it is still perfectly respectable. I definitely appreciate their work on multiplayer though, which in my eyes more than makes up for everything else.