It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Sega’s Total War series and the last game in the series, Shogun 2, has been out since march of last year. Since then The Creative Assembly hasn’t been sitting still. They’ve released plenty of great DLC and even a full fledged expansion. Their last big overhaul, entitled Rise of the Samurai, was an expansion featuring the Onin war whereas the original game takes place during the Sengoku period.
Rise of the Samurai was a great expansion, in fact is was more of a total overhaul. I would even go as far as to say that this should really be used as an example for how game developers should do expansion DLC. The new content changed a few of the games core mechanics, but more importantly it changed the overall feel of the game. For example, lowering the Unit sizes really made the game feel like this was a war in smaller scale.
The new expansion DLC, Fall of the Samurai, covers decades after the Songoku period and will further revolutionize the game. Set in the Boshin war the player will take over one of the samurai clans and fight to either modernize or preserve feudal Japan. The game is being released later this week and so far they’ve released a torrent of new units, mechanics and features. It’s safe to say that I’m pretty stoked. The Boshin war is an area of Japanese history that represents a massive turning point for Japan. It was when a previously isolated country was catapulted into the modern age forcing the old ways to clash with the new.
Fall of the Samurai will be set in a time period that’s the closest the series has ever come to the modern era. This means there are a host of new technologies and weapons that will give the player tones of creativity in their strategy. Perhaps the most important for the campaign map is the introduction of railways. These will allow players to move their armies around the campaign map at blistering speed. New rifles, modern cannons and even Gatling guns will make an appearance on the battle field and make battles more intense and bloody then they’ve ever been.
A new agent, the Foreign Veteran, will be able to train your armies in the proper use of their new weapons and technology. They represent European empires trying to gain a foothold in this new world. The Veteran will also be able to call out a duel other agents and army leaders, something that Total War games have been sorely lacking in my opinion.
Probably what I’m most excited about are the new navy features. Ever since Rome I looked forward to the day when Total War included naval battles. The Creative Assembly’s first attempt with Empire was clunky, bug ridden and monumentally slow. Their next attempt with the original Shogun 2 seemed anticlimactic because although the pace was faster there were even less of the big explosions and bloodshed that we gamers love. Now it looks like they’ve changed it up again with some features that sound like they’ll make the game a lot more fast paced and fun. You can finally ram other ships for devastating damage and new torpedo and gun boats will bring new elements of combat at sea.
For the first time ever in a Total War game naval fleets will be able to re-enforce battles on land and will be able to lend massive bombardments to help their compatriots on land. There will also be a new “port siege” combat mode where players will actually have to besiege a port and do battle with on-shore artillery. Very unlike the last games where every port was assumed to be undefended.
All these new features are starting to make me think. With this gaming being the closest ever set to the modern day and having some of the most advanced technology ever I have to wonder what the next game in the series will be. Obviously they can’t make another expansion for Shogun 2 since they’ve pretty much covered all the good bits of Japanese history so the next game has to be a new setting. From here they could easily go back in time and make a new game set in the Three Kingdoms period or something but I think that with the kind of battles they’ve been crafting in recent games that the next game will be set even closer to modern day.