Generally favorable reviews- based on 44 Ratings
Positive: 2 out of 2
Mixed: 0 out of 2
Negative: 0 out of 2
May 12, 2012Total War: Shogun 2 - Rise of the Samurai basically gives you another campaign similar to the original for the game. It's set centuries before the Shogun 2 campaign and as the name suggests it is focused on the Samurais' rise to power. While the cities and resources are in the same places this is where the similarities stop. The game operates with different playable factions (in this case the player can pick from six different ones, organized into three clans of two), it has new units (Samurais in particular are different - in stead of the specialized troops of Shogun 2 they are all-around units capable of shooting bows or killing stuff in close combat), new game mechanics (how influence spreads when the three clans battle for dominance), new agents who work in new ways (not just a simple re-skin of the Shogun 2 agents). In short, it nearly doubles the game play of Shogun 2 for very little money - if you found single player in Shogun 2 worth the cost of the game you'll definitely find Rise of the Samurai worth its cost too.… Full Review »
Jan 12, 2014At first glance you may wonder if this DLC isn't just more of the same. However, that is far from the truth. This review is long, with emphasis on the historic and political side of things, bear it with me. Skip the next paragraph if you know about the "Gempei War".
The DLC's campaign is set on the "Gempei War", a period of time very unjustly overshadowed by the Sengoku Jidai, which is more wildly known, but is actually very rich and vibrant, both politically and militarily. Before 1180, two rival "warrior-class" clans, the Taira and the Minamoto, had been gaining more and more power over the Imperial Court by performing various "military" deeds and getting rewards from the court in the form of lands and titles. This was at the expense of the Fujiwara family, who were from the nobility class, and previously had had the most influence over the court and the Emperor himself, intermarrying into the Imperial family for generations and thus pulling all the strings of power. In 1180, the Taira clan's leader Kiyomori put his 2-year old grandson on the the throne, in detriment of the Emperor's son, Mochihito, the rightful heir. This provoked Mochihito to seek the aid of the Minamoto and raise a call to arms against the Taira. Different clans aligned themselves with the Taira and the Minamoto. After much fighting, eventually the Minamoto won and in 1192 established the Kamakura Shogunate, essentialy the first feudal government in Japan controlled by the warrior class (before, only nobility populated the court). The Fujiwara were exiled in northern Japan, away from power. Ironically, Prince Mochihito's call for help ended up further taking effective power away from the Emperor, the Court and the nobility class, reinforcing an usurpation of Imperial power by the warrior class which later reached its peak with the Tokugawa Shogunate.
The game reflects all these Gempei War localisations very well in many aspects and adds these different dimensions to the gameplay, which complement the militaristic side very well and add to the overall strategic layer of things. Firstly, there are the 3 main families available to play, Taira, Minamoto and Fujiwara. Each has 2 clans two choose from, reflecting the distinct branches of each family. Each of these 6 has different and richer (not just military) stat modifiers reflecting their own characteristics and enabling different play styles and campaign experiences. Allegiance plays a huge role now: there there are a multitude of non-playable clans, each with its own allegiance, and the provinces' population itself has an allegiance. So, while you can still be the military genius and crush everyone, you should take into account this new aspects, you must remember you are answering the Emperor's call to arms, otherwise you'll have no support from other clans and favour from the populace and court in your claims to power.
The Junsatsushi is the new agent for this. They enable the conversion of population to your allegiance, the paying off of enemy armies *and* the requesting of allegiance from other provinces to join your clan. You now effectively gain control of enemy provinces by converting the population to your allegiance and then requesting them to join you, kicking out their previous rulers. Very interesting. And, of course, all the diplomatic relations between different clans will take this into account as well, making it very interesting to plot your way through with negotiations, alliances, vassals, backstabbings, etc.
Also interesting is the Shirabyoshi agent, female entertainers/dancers dressed as men, who can not only seduce enemy generals to join your side but also distract enemy armies, making them "lose a turn" (very interesting for campaign map army manoeuvring tactics), or entertaining your generals in order to raise their loyalty. Very nice touches of flavour. There's also the Monomi agent, basically a ninja, and the Sou, preacher-like characters that can inspire, demoralize and incite revolts.
In short, while the battle/military aspects of the game may not provide a fundamentally distinct experience from the original Shogun 2 (no guns now, though), the new allegiance element provides a whole new strategic dimension to the game, bringing much flavour and fun to it. The Shirabyoshi agent also adds to this, and brings more falvour. Because all this, I highly recommend you take the trouble to read a little bit about the Gempei War (wikipedia, fast to read) and try this DLC.… Full Review »