Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Samurai Madness!

Good Day to you all again,

Hope you guys enjoy the current surplus of awesome posts. There have been much discussion and I would like to add that the last article by Joshua on the Human and Robot dichotomy was really intriguing. It was great to see so many people putting great pointers and opinions on the topic.

As you have noticed recently, I have been putting up many figures from the Rurouni Kenshin and Samurai X anime as the release of the live-action film of Rurouni Kenshin is coming soon. Weirdly enough, my week has been centered around much of ancient Japanese culture. From passing my Aikido grading to doing all these Samurai blog post, it seems that the Bushido spirit has washed over me.

Today though, I shall be talking about an epic game that Josh and I have been playing that pretty much showcase the Bushido Spirit of the Samurai and the Traditional Japanese Culture of Feudal Japan. The game is none other than Shogun Total War 2

This game is a true example of the saying "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". Creative Assembly (Designers of the Game) decided this time round to go back to its roots and bring back Shogun Total War in this new sequel.

Taking everything the fans loved from the old Shogun Total war and implementing new modifications taken from the development of the Total War Franchise, Shogun Total War 2 was everything I imagined it to be. From the great graphics to the improve AI that enabled allies to act as allies rather than distrusting backstabbing enemies, this game was awesome. The last game from the Total War series that I played was Medieval Total War 2. I did pretty much skipped the entire Napoleanic era, including Empire total War, so for me, it was a great delight to discover that there is a Multiplayer Co-op Campaign feature in Shogun total War 2. While this was something that was already implemented in Empire Total War, it was something new and great to me. (If my late friend Qamarul were here, he would have been overjoyed at getting his hand on this game and join me and Josh in some awesome Samurai fun)

I must reiterate the part in which Creative Assembly had taken all the good stuff from the Old Shogun Total War and implemented it to the new one. Things like the Samurai Music and Soundtrack which gave me a nostalgic feeling of the old game, to the Ninja Cutscenes which are so iconic to the old STW.

All in all, the Total War gameplay mechanics is addictive and the result in endless fun replaying single or multiplayer campaign mode. PC Gamer mentioned that the average Shogun total War 2 players plays about 100 hours, which is relatively true. I am in my 80th hour soon and I don't see myself stopping anytime soon. And I can easily say the same for Joshua.

So far,

Josh and I had successfully impose our Mighty Rule in our first Multiplayer campaign using the "Easy" Difficulty level.

Together, our Takeda-Tokugawa Alliance was strong

Takeda-Tokugawa Alliance

Joshua's Daimyo, Takeda Shingen

Tokugawa Ieyasu, apparent heir in our game for the Tokugawa Clan

While this alliance was not meant to be of any historical significance, I could safely say that there were only a small handful of times where our growing influence and power was ever challenge. It was really awesome and ecstatic to see strong clans falling under our might which culminated in the showdown between our alliance and the Ashikaga shogunate.

Our second failed campaign involved us getting in over our heads and choosing "Hard" difficulty using the Date and Uesugi Clan. We were swiftly disposed off by neighbouring clans, ending off in a sad misery of defeat as the Massive Hatakeyama Army marches to eliminate the last of Joshua's provinces while I had to contend with a double assault from the Mogami and Honma Clan. Our folly was the result of getting in over our head and sending an attack force against our enemy that was too small. We should have slowly build up ourselves but we were underestimated and lost big time.

As of now, we are in the midst of a "Normal" Difficulty campaign in which we are doing pretty well. Josh taking the Shimazu Clan and I using the Chosokabe clan. Our dominance is note-worthy and it will be a matter of time before we come in contact with the Shogunate. Hopefully, we can do well to gear us to take on "Hard" difficulty again.

This brings me to the next part of this entry,

Shogun Total War must have definitely gotten a lot of its inspiration in terms of battle gameplay from old films like Ran and Kagemusha directed by the great Akira Kurosawa.

Kagemusha (Courtesy of Wikipedia)
Winner of Best Direction and Costume design for the BAFTA awards

For me personally, my first samurai battle film I had ever watch was Heaven and Earth by Haruki Kodakawa. An epic film that depicts battles between the Uesugi and Takeda clan. While not as critically acclaim as Akira's films, it was rated as Number one japanese film in the Japanese Domestic market in 1990.

Snippet of Heaven and Earth.

It would be the start of my fascination for Samurais and the Bushido way of thought. It was after this that I was introduced by my late buddy, Qamarul to Aikido and we also began sharing our interest and conquests in Shogun Total War.

And then the Last Samurai film came along, and it would be this iconic song that he and I would never fail to sing along the yelling part that really just brings me back good memories and gives a warm feeling in my heart even today.

So for those who are into the whole Samurai thingamajig, this game is guaranteed to be pretty darn awesome. The downloadable content are also pretty damn great. Furthermore, if you were a sucker for the Last Samurai movie, the latest expansion, Shogun Total War 2: Fall of the Samurai would be a fitting game to fulfill any imagination and fantasy construct you might want to play out in that expansion.

Aside from my review of STW2, i have also recently discovered an upcoming tabletop game called Bushido.

It is a 2 player tabletop 'skirmish' type wargame that is based on Oriental Fantasy storyline. Much of the game play is represented by 32mm figures in which players are to outwit and defeat each other to achieve their personal objectives. I for one, particularly like the Prefecture of Ryu starter set as seen above as it is very Samurai-orientated. While it is a new tabletop game, it will take awhile for it to establish itself, but if you are a fan of skirmish tabletop wargames like Warmachines and Hordes, this might be something you can embark on.

As of now, that is all from me. Hope you like the Rurouni Kenshin and Samurai extravaganza for the past few weeks. Will be coming back with the usual Model kits and Miniatures real soon!

Till then, Any Samurai or STW fans out there? Give me a holla on what do you think about the New STW 2 and its latest DLC, the Fall of the Samurai.


  1. Shogun Total War series is the best strategy game I have ever played. Great mention about it!

  2. Do like the last samurai Show very much. Even traditional Japanese culture is a great wonder and commands great respect in terms of their Bushido Spirit. Speaking of which, the Bushido game looks interesting enough to check it out and I must say, I do love the Last Samurai Theme Song that you put on here.

  3. I like shogun total war very much. And I must agree with you that much of what Shogun Total War is like is based on Akira Kurosawa's films and Heaven and Earth too.

    I really like Heaven and Earth a lot and it is one of the best Samurai Epic shows of all time.

  4. This game ROCKS. STW 2 is a great return to the old ways of Creative Assembly.

    Don't really like the new expansion.. but then again, didn't really like the Last Samurai.. =P oh wells

  5. EPic Gameplay!
    Bushido looks interesting too. Nice sculpted miniatures and I do like the oriental fantasy background about it.

  6. I just want to add on that Akira Kurosawa is a legend in terms of Samurai Films.. And Heaven and Earth looks like a great compare too!

  7. I simply love Akira Kurosawa films! They are technically awesome and tell stories really well. Rashomon continues to echo in me that human perspectives on the same event can vary so widely.