I don't know if you noticed, but yesterday Total War: Rome 2 was announced, and we all got rather excited. Today we've got an announcement trailer for you. It's live action (unless Rome's engine is even better than we expected) but it should get you in the mood for murder, betrayal and politics, all of which seem to be one and the same for the Romans. "What would you do for Rome?" It asks. Personally I would pay slightly above average air fare, how about you?
The Creative Assembly
After a controversial launch, Empire has gone on to become one of the sleeper hits of the Total War series. A few weeks before the standalone Total War: Shogun 2 expansion, Fall of the Samurai was released, we asked Creative Assembly studio director, Mike Simpson about Empire's strange journey. "It’s weird isn’t it?" he said. "It does keep going – that’s one thing about Empire, it’s still selling now as much as it was a year ago and that just doesn’t stop."
Empire was to be The Creative Assembly's most sprawling, ambitious Total War yet, but its release in 2009 was overshadowed by AI bugs. Passive enemies and weak AI frustrated Total War players. Simpson admits that The Creative Assembly "did take on a little bit more than we were actually capable of delivering by the date."
The standalone expansion to Total War: Shogun 2, Fall of the Samurai, is out, and it's a very handsome game, as these launch screenshots demonstrate. Of course, most of the time you'll be floating high above the battlefield, surveying the landscape and dishing out orders to vast armies, but if you take a moment every now and then to zoom down to ground level, you'll get to see every cut and thrust. Thanks to the influx of guns, Fall of the Samurai's battles are much smokier, noisier places.
If you're wandering whether or not to pick up the expansion today, check out our Fall of the Samurai review. If you've already taken the plunge, have a look at our guide to taking Japan. If you want to see men with huge moustaches being rushed by a unit of samurai swordsmen, check out these screenshots.
An epic Shogun 2 patch has landed alongside the standalone expansion, Fall of the Samurai. If a dozen sumo wrestlers were to combine into a twelve foot tall Megazord of sumo wrestlers, the resulting horror would not be as large or fleshy as this update, which adds 40 vs. 40 units battles to multiplayer, 22 new land and sea maps to fight on, Steam cloud support, reduced battle load times, "greatly reduced" AI turn times and some 3000 words worth of balance shifts and bug fixes. Bikkuri shita!
The fixes listed in the patch notes below affect every aspect of the game, from the campaign map, to the real time battles and multiplayer. There's a bit of good news for anyone who bought the Blood Pack for Shogun 2, it'll apply the same effects to Fall of the Samurai's battles, too. Here's the full change list.
For every Total War game, there are dozens of ambitious mods. Some, like Europa Barbarorum for Rome, overhaul the game to reflect the period in which it's set with a scholarly degree of historical accuracy. Others, like the Darth mods, prettify everything with a bundle of graphical updates tweak enemy AI to make the games more challenging.
Despite modders' enthusiasm for the series, the Total War games have never been especially easy to meddle with. If anything, they're getting harder to tweak. Is this a deliberate move to help sell more DLC by reducing fan-made alternatives? We asked Creative Assembly studio director Mike Simpson that very question.
Fall of the Samurai's new steamboats explode as you might expect when you consider the racks of torpedoes stored within those mighty hulls. The new steam ships and sturdy ironclads of the era are just a few of the powerful new weapons that standalone Shogun 2 expansion Fall of the Samurai brings to Japan. It's set 300 years after the events of Shogun 2, at a time of rapid modernisation triggered by the arrival of boisterous Western traders from America, Britain and France. The rising number of foreign troops and advanced technology would grow to infuriate the traditionalist samurai classes leading to unrest and eventually, full-scale uprising.
As leader of a pro-imperial or pro-shogunate faction, you'll have to deal with these rebellions, ideally by using the devastating new gatling guns. Plonk one on a hill in front of a unit of swordsmen, halve the game speed and you'll get something akin to the final scenes of The Last Samurai. A fitting way to crush one's enemies. Fall of the Samurai is due to drop on March 23, check out our Fall of the Samurai preview for a detailed overview.
Total War's biggest expansion will also feature their most modern setting to date. That doesn't mean that we'll lose out on cavalry charges and mass infantry melee, though. Japan's traditionalist forces will put the art of war to the test against new threats like long-range artillery, gatling guns and well-drilled ranks of gunmen. Each of the six new factions will be fighting for or against the Shogunate. Your role as the leader of one of those factions will be to push Japan in one direction or the other, ideally by creating an army that consists entirely of horses and rampaging them from one end of the country to the other, trampling the enemy underhoof. Horses FTW.
Fall of the Samurai is a standalone expansion, so you won't need a copy of Shogun 2 to play it. The expansion is due out on March 23. Which side will you take?
Which are better, guns, or bows and arrows? Guns, of course, you might think, but then you have to consider the long reload times, their tendency to explode, their unreliability in wet conditions. These are some of the issues that Total War lead designer James Russell and the team at The Creative Assembly think about every day as they balance the clash of old and new weaponry in Fall of the Samurai.
Lead designer of Shogun 2, James Russell, knows just how much fans love Total War. The series typically produces enormous games capable of generating epic storylines across decades of war. Even then, it's surprising just how much time players spend building their empires. Russell says that "the average" Total War campaigner "plays for about a hundred hours." That is a lot of war.
The process of managing your empire from the strategic view and then fighting hour-long battles can eat up a lot of time, but "the real crux of it," according to Russell, is that "Total War has great replayability."
Shogun 2: Total War’s standalone expansion will let you play online with existing Shogun 2 players, even if they haven't bought it. Whether you’ve discovered Fall of the Samurai’s trains, gatling guns and cannons or not, you’ll still be able to compete online with swords and muskets.
“One of the things that we made sure of with Fall of the Samurai is that we didn't split the online community”, says James Russell, Lead Designer on the series. Players without Fall of the Samurai can play against people with the expansion. That's really important to us. We want to make sure that people who buy the new game can play against the guys playing Shogun 2.
The Samurai are doomed. That's according to the latest batch of Total War: Shogun 2 screenshots, which show off lots of new imperial weaponry. Cannons, gatling guns and muskets will make defending the Shogunate a very tough task. Fall of the Samurai's new weaponry has to be dramatic, mind, "mild decline of the Samurai" doesn't have quite the same ring to it. We'll get to fight with the expansion's new land and naval units on March 23.
You'll find plenty more in our big preview in the latest issue of PC Gamer UK. Meanwhile, see samurai being blown apart and roasted in the new grabs below, which also feature some of Fall of the Samurai's new Agents.
March 23 is the release date for Total War: Shogun 2 - Fall of the Samurai, the enticing standalone expansion to Shogun 2.
Fall of the Samurai introduces six new factions to do battle for an expanded campaign map portraying ancient Japan on the verge of an age of transition. Western weaponry is being imported in greater numbers, and factions within Japan are seeking to use them to overthrow the ancient Shogunate using the muskets and massive cannons provided by imperial forces.
The expansion will add new tech trees, ground units, naval units and agents as well. You can find out more in our great big preview in the latest issue of PC Gamer UK, which you can order now online, or get digitally through Zinio or Apple Newsstand.
Fall of the Samurai is a great big standalone expansion for Total War: Shogun 2 that will pit the samurai classes against imperial forces that threaten the power of the Shogunate. The influx of colonial forces and new technology leads to an internal struggle between pro-imperial forces and traditionalists. The result? WAR! Katanas will meet muskets on the battlefields of Japan.
There will be six new factions to play with, 39 new land units, 10 new naval units, an expanded campaign map, three new agents, port sieges and new technology, including railways. It's available to pre-order now on Steam and the SEGA store for £24.99 / $29.99
We didn’t see this coming. Stupid, I know. But when we got our hands on an early build of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, I was certain it would be the game of 2011. Skyrim would be great, but it would just be Oblivion with a bit more snow. So now that it’s here, why does it feel like so much more than that?
We elevate the Total War games beyond simply being good strategy games because we believe they’re story-engines: that not only do they offer deep and difficult decisions about how to paint the map your colour, but they also entertain you with your own genius.
It's a well known fact that samurai warriors contained five times as much blood as ordinary humans. This would allow them to gush pints and pints of gore at the slightest nick of a samurai sword, therefore allowing them to die in the most spectacular fashion. The latest Blood Pack Total War DLC will give Shogun 2 a sticky coating of extra historical accuracy with the addition of decapitation, limb severing, blood spatters and a range of gory new sound effects. It's available now on Steam at the price of 99p / $1.59.
The Creative Assembly have just announced that they'll be releasing a huge standalone expansion for Total War: Shogun 2 called Fall of the Samurai. It will be set in the period leading up to the Boshin War, in which European and American forces introduce a new wave of military technology that threatens to wipe out the Samurai.
Fall of the Samurai will add six new factions. Some, like the Nagaoka, sill support the might of the Shogun. Others, like the Satsuma clan, want to embrace Imperial power. Externally, British, French and American forces are vying for influence in the Land of the Rising Sun. Over the course of the campaign, you'll get to decide Japan's fate.
Should a Total War: Shogun 2 supplement centred on the Genpei War of 1180-1185 feature a comprehensive selection of period units? Before you answer with an eager ‘Hai!’ bear in mind that the Minamoto clan won the pivotal Battle of Kurikara with the aid of stampeding oxen.
There are no war cows in Rise of the Samurai, in fact this expansion is free of gimmicky bullocks/bollocks of all kinds. What you get for your very reasonable six quid is a cartload of new content that leaves Shogun 2 feeling sushi-fresh.
The Rise of the Samurai DLC is out for Total War: Shogun 2 later this very month. Sega have released a video, a few new screens and revealed a tiny bit more about the pack on the Sega blog, spotted by Blue's News.
They go over a few facts that were revealed back when the Rise of the Samurai DLC was announced (six new factions belonging to the three legendary clans of the Taira, Minamoto and Fujiwara families, 16 new land units, four new Hero units, 10 new naval units and four new agents), but also mention some new naval special abilities, including “Banzai!”, “Whistling Arrows” and “Rally.” All that for a humble $9.99 / £5.99 on Steam.
The three new screenshots below show some lovely landscapes, and the new Shirabyoshi agent, who can woo enemy characters. Watch her wooing in the screenshots below.
Ten new screenshots have arrived for the Rise of the Samurai DLC that was announced yesterday for Total War: Shogun 2. The pack is also available to pre-order now on Steam for £5.99 / $9.99. The DLC adds a new campaign set 400 years before the standard Shogun 2 single player mode, and features six new factions, dozens of new units, four new agents, and lots more. See the new screenshots below. Rise of the Samurai is due out next month.