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Thread: My 2 cents on S2TW

  1. #1
    Ja mata, TosaInu Forum Administrator edyzmedieval's Avatar
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    Default My 2 cents on S2TW

    Posted it on TWC as well but I wanted to do it here as well to help those who are still undecided on this good game.


    To start my review off, I want to thank CA for coming up with a really good idea of remaking the original STW, a brilliant game which I've enjoyed from the launch date back in 1999. To this day I've played every single one of the TW games (including small expansions like RTW Alexander and DLC packs) and I've eagerly awaited to get my hands on the new installment.

    I ordered the super special Collectors Edition which gave me the bonus content in game and a splendid art book which I really like. The Takeda figure is cool and is now my trusty advisor when it comes to the battles

    Due to technical restraints, I've played two weeks on a different computer who had the Limited Edition installed, which enabled me to play on the maximum settings allowed by the game. This week I received my own Collectors copy so I installed it on my own computer and because of this I was able to enjoy both sides of the argument, both with ultra settings and low settings (my own computer).

    First impression? Intriguing. I started off a HARD Takeda campaign and minding the reports on TWC and other forums, I turtled and used careful diplomacy. Battles were really enjoyable (only on ultra, low settings got tedious) and I found the diplomacy quite interesting because it offered you trade agreements, military alliances and peace treaties. It was sensible, not dumb, and it added to my enjoyment.

    The campaign map has always been a strong point so no problems there, the tried and tested which has now been improved. Specialisation of castles is now a big plus and the food feature forces you to think rather than just mindlessly build. Very good point over there. Each move on the campaign map you have to think and plan ahead rather than just move your units around because your capital is susceptible to immediate attacks from all sides so if you're not careful, you can lose immediately.

    I had nothing so far of the AI cheating, despite playing on Hard both times. I did have one occasion where I found myself against two huge AI stacks that spawned out of nowhere, but it was only one time. Otherwise I found the AI to be engaging and provide a battle, occasionally, not all the time unfortunately. Diplomacy kicks in whenever you need it, and the necessary use of resources both for trade and for your own use makes the campaign even more engaging, so another thumbs up from my part. :thumbsup2

    So, here's more detailed points regarding my S2TW experience which amounts to around 50 hours in total until now.

    Pros

    - battles - on maximum graphical settings, every battle is enjoyable, I love the rock papers scissors style and the occasional challenge the AI puts up
    - each campaign is different - each move you make is directed against you or works in your favour. on the ultra end computer I went a bit more aggressive, managed my battles, on the low end I turtled and used diplomacy, every time I could see the implications MUCH BETTER than the previous games.
    - music - epic. Jeff Van Dyck is a genius.
    - specialisation - really good idea that I don't have every castle as a copy of the other
    - skill trees - probably my favourite addition. now I really feel that once I lose one of my best generals, I really lose a lot
    - atmosphere - no longer feels just like another TW game, it's really focused on the Japanese setting and provides very good immersion
    - multiplayer - on the high end computer I lost some hours (around 5, so not a lot unfortunately ) and I really loved the RPG-style addition despite me not being a fan of RPGs


    Neutral points

    - diplomacy - improved, it offers you alliances and peace treaties, it is much more sensible now, but still declares war on you randomly which is quite annoying (plus the HUGE difference in relations, +60 and next turn -200)
    - agents/family tree - Metsuke is really useful but the fact that with the Ninjas every time you kill a daimyo he gets an unlimited supply of heirs gets really annoying
    - Arts - It's a slight improvement but they didn't make any particular effort to improve it - Takeda Shingen for example was renowned for his farming improvements but faction specific technologies could improve the difference between the clans even more
    - sea battles - decent, but there's nothing too special about them unless you're really using light ships vs light ships (Bow Kobaya vs Bow Kobaya), when you play water chess, and that is really fun :D



    Cons

    - AI - it still acts dumb, generals suicide and flanking maneuvers are rare. Siege AI is useless. NEVERTHELESS, MUCH BETTER THAN BEFORE.
    - graphics - those units look PLASTIC. too much, way too much bloom applied on them and the horses are the exact same ones from NTW. I don't like to see rehashes of previous games
    - Campaign AI cheating - Mogami clan spawned in the north and the next turn I see two full 3 exp stacks rampaging into my province (what the ....?! - I saw the CA post about AI cheating, but they made the rebellions far too powerful since this was a rebel province
    - bugs - there's map bugs (I had a full fleet that got stuck in one of the small islands, I had to scupper it :thumbsdow ) and I got CTDs two times in 60 turns (in both campaigns, so that's four CTDs)
    - optimisation issues - despite playing on both ultra and low settings, ultra still had significant waste of power usage and on low settings it's even more evident that the game has been rushed and not optimised properly
    - Very Hard and Legendary are not necessarily that way - the AI uses the cheats and morale bonuses to win over you rather than do even the most basic maneouvers such as flanking, so this is more of a battle of "how to stop a dam from bursting with a cork"
    - Realm Divide - I find it hard to believe the whole peninsula would go on your backside because you're trying to be Shogun. You would have people supporting you at least.
    - Advisor - The most annoying feature in the game. I like the narrator of the videos very much, but not the advisors.


    OVERALL

    Mixed.

    I really don't know how to recommend it. It's much better than ETW and an improvement over NTW (which I like) but for the newcomers and casual gamers, I'd rather direct them to NTW and ETW 1.5 instead. It's for the hardened TW veteran because of the above issues, and playing on Very Hard and Legendary can get your backside kicked in less than ten turns.

    I personally like it very much. Third place on my personal scale of TW games (MTW is first by a long mile, STW just above S2TW, NTW behind S2TW by some distance). I will keep playing it for a long time, and the multiplayer aspect only adds to the depth and immersion.

    If you're a TW veteran, buy it and enjoy it.
    Last edited by edyzmedieval; 04-01-2011 at 22:52.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Senior Member econ21's Avatar
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    Default Re: My 2 cents on S2TW

    Very nice review, Edy. I haven't played it much but a lot of what you say echoes what I am finding.

    I think we have to be realistic about the AI - computers vs people is still going to be an uneven match for a competition as open-form as a TW battlefield (especially if players use "gamey" tactics of luring the AI). The battlefield AI is not too shabby in STW2, imo. Even on the defence, it can take advantage of the player's forces being dispersed and it can also do interesting things with its cavalry (e.g. put them on the flank to your rear and charge opportunistically if an opening presents). But I agree sieges could use some more work.

    The best thing about STW2 to me so far is that the campaign AI seems finally to have caught up with the open-form RTW+ style campaign map. With the Risk style map and some cheats, the AI in STW could give the player a real challenge. Weak campaign AI was the biggest failing of RTW and, to a lesser extent, M2TW, imo. In STW2, it seems to be much better at concentrating its forces and being aggressive but not suicidal (again, sieges may be an exception).

    These improvements in the AI, even if nothing else changed, would justify a RTW2.

  3. #3

    Default Re: My 2 cents on S2TW

    Excellent review/overview :)

    I really think Suicide Generals is a (TM) feature of Total War; right now I won't complain...it has saved my butt a cpl times

    I disagree that the game is for TW vets. The game is back to what got me hooked in the first place
    Ja-mata TosaInu

  4. #4
    The Abominable Senior Member Hexxagon Champion Monk's Avatar
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    Default Re: My 2 cents on S2TW

    Quote Originally Posted by HopAlongBunny View Post
    I disagree that the game is for TW vets. The game is back to what got me hooked in the first place
    I agree. Why do you need to be a TW vet to enjoy Shogun 2? If it's because the AI is cut-throat on the higher difficulties... well, there's an easy setting too. If anything I think it's the best game for anyone new to the Total War series to jump into. You want to lead with your best foot forward, and shogun 2 is certainly the best entry into the series since we moved into the 3d era.

    I'd say if you were to buy any of the total war games from the last 8 years: make it this one.

    Overall though, good break-down.
    Last edited by Monk; 04-02-2011 at 14:34.

  5. #5
    Member Member Zarky's Avatar
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    Default Re: My 2 cents on S2TW

    I could give a few comments of my own:
    Diplomacy: It seems to work, there are no random DoWs so far (as to my knowledge), but when ever I'm trying to hammer out a deal AI refuses anything considered moderate, at best gives a counter-offer if I have a plenty of money to go around. Even if you drop a 100 koku from a single payment that turns chances of success from high to moderate, AI won't take it. And I don't want to use threaten option too much because of the honor penalty.

    Generals: I haven't seen actual "suicide generals" on battle map, though AI is sometimes carelessly moving single generals units around on campaign map. What seems to happen is that AI charges the general in to assist a unit that is already in combat, even if he'd be facing yari units. Other thing is that AI doesn't retreat its general if it's attacked by superior numbers/unfavorable opponent (yari). Often times if AI has more than 1 general in battle, it keeps the commander of the troops behind until at least the lower-ranking generals have died/routed.

    I believe all these things can and will be fixed as more and more user feedback is presented.
    Homo Sapiens non Urinat in Ventum - the wise man does not piss against the wind.

  6. #6
    Ja mata, TosaInu Forum Administrator edyzmedieval's Avatar
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    Default Re: My 2 cents on S2TW

    Quote Originally Posted by Monk View Post
    I agree. Why do you need to be a TW vet to enjoy Shogun 2? If it's because the AI is cut-throat on the higher difficulties... well, there's an easy setting too. If anything I think it's the best game for anyone new to the Total War series to jump into. You want to lead with your best foot forward, and shogun 2 is certainly the best entry into the series since we moved into the 3d era.

    I'd say if you were to buy any of the total war games from the last 8 years: make it this one.

    Overall though, good break-down.
    Even on normal you have a serious challenge (the guy who had the ultra computer was a complete newbie so he had to switch to Easy). Hard is probably the best setting of all since stupidities don't abound and it poses a good, healthy challenge for you to enjoy.

    Nevertheless, it's a really enjoyable game, albeit a bit plastic (my eyees!!!).
    Ja mata, TosaInu. You will forever be remembered.

    Proud

    Been to:

    Swords Made of Letters - 1938. The war is looming in France - and Alexandre Reythier does not have much time left to protect his country. A novel set before the war.

    A Painted Shield of Honour - 1313. Templar Knights in France are in grave danger. Can they be saved?

  7. #7
    The Abominable Senior Member Hexxagon Champion Monk's Avatar
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    Default Re: My 2 cents on S2TW

    Quote Originally Posted by edyzmedieval View Post
    Even on normal you have a serious challenge (the guy who had the ultra computer was a complete newbie so he had to switch to Easy). Hard is probably the best setting of all since stupidities don't abound and it poses a good, healthy challenge for you to enjoy.

    Nevertheless, it's a really enjoyable game, albeit a bit plastic (my eyees!!!).


    I agree, Hard is a ton of fun. I was surprised in that this TW game actually had a learning curve who would have thought?!

  8. #8

    Default Re: My 2 cents on S2TW

    Quote Originally Posted by edyzmedieval View Post
    Nevertheless, it's a really enjoyable game, albeit a bit plastic (my eyees!!!).

    There's a mod to take the shine off units:

    http://www.twcenter.net/forums/showthread.php?t=435558

    Haven't tried it, but looks good from the screenshots.

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