Incoming 2011 – Total War: Shogun 2

The Total War series is going back to its roots with this new installment, again portraying the constant battles between Japanese warlords that are aiming to gain the title of Shogun and rule the entire nation.

Shogun 2: Total War delivers a whole new game engine while still maintaining the same basic structure as other titles in the franchise, with turn based strategic development paired with real time tactical engagements.

Besides the usual better graphics and more varied units, Shogun 2 will also introduce a new set of agents for players to guide around the map, limiting the military capabilities of their rival clans, and new hero units on the battlefield, capable of changing the course of a battle but not able to take on single handedly an entire enemy army.

Naval battles are also making a return but with very different rules as they now simulate close range coastal engagements.

Total War: Shogun 2 will be launched exclusively on the PC on March 15.

Why it matters: Both Napoleon and Empire have been a bit of a disappointment and The Creative Assembly really needs to nail down Shogun 2 in order to keep its series relevant and interesting to gamers.

And Shogun 2 really seems to be pushing the multiplayer and persistence angle, with General avatars offered for multiplayer battles and with upgrades and retainers doled out to those who win their fights.

The cooperative angle is also getting reworked to make it more attractive to friends who are interested in sharing an empire and the responsibility for its rise or fall.

The return to Japan is also a chance for more focused innovation on the part of the developers and might encourage the Artificial Intelligence to put on a better show, with a lot of the statements from The Creative Assembly suggesting that Total War: Shogun 2 will be greeted as fondly as the original is remembered by fans.

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