Shogun : Total War
by Electronic Arts
Shogun Total War is a unique type of strategy game. It cannot be classed as solely turn based or real time because it contains elements of both. The game is set in sixteenth century Japan and casts you in the role of Daimyo (a feudal landowner). Your aim is to conquer the six rival Daimyo and also the leaderless rebels known as Ronin in order to unite Japan under your rule.
The main part of the game is the strategic map with pieces moved around in a turn based board game fashion. Your income is in the form of koku (the amount of rice for one man for one year) and this is used to improve the farmland, train units and build facilities. When the need for battle arises the game goes into real time mode. There is the option to just play battles and avoid the whole turn based side of the game. The battles can be huge with several thousand men on screen at any one time. The terrain graphics are outstanding, although the graphics of the men have been kept to a minimum quality to allow you have vast armies without performance being sacrificed. Battles need a lot of tactical skill and a lack of skill can undo all your good work on the strategic map. Thankfully the battle tutorials will give you a basic grounding in the way of the warrior.
There are a few niggles with the game though. Firstly when the need battle arises you have the option of letting the computer resolve the matter but you usually lose even if the odds are heavily in your favour. The turn based strategic map is a great game in its own right and it’s a pity that you can’t stick to this side of the game if you so desire. Secondly the strategic map should have contained more visual information as to what is being built, what soldiers are being trained etc. Your armies are represented by a single unit that does not differ if it is cavalry or samurai, only the strategic pieces such as Geisha, Shinobi, Ninja and Emissary are represented with the correct pieces.
The game is suitable for the deaf gamer as every piece of information is displayed textually and the subtitles are the default option for the game. There isn't an option to slow down the speed of the text but as you only have one sentence on the screen at a time, it is comfortable to read. Tool tips (information pop-ups when the mouse pointer is left over icons units etc.) are very useful to the beginner on the strategic map and on the battle screen you can pause the game and make tactical decisions. The manual is good and covers most aspects of the game very well.
Overall Game Rating: 8.5 A very good strategy game that does not exclude deaf gamers.
of text: 9/10 Very good info provided by text.