So, at least in my experience, Total War games are famous for:
1. A shit ton of shit to keep track of in the singleplayer. (Also, kinda bad AI)
2. Generally wonky multiplayer.
So, I was delighted to read some of the changes CA made in Shogun 2. Even more delighted to find that they were brilliantly executed. Better single player AI, better UI, all that.
And, man. Man. Multiplayer. So, I'm a little panicky when it comes to RTS multiplayer games. Starcraft 2 is the worst for this. Massive adrenaline rush and I usually forget my hotkeys. Sometimes the adrenaline hits me the right way and I can gamble my way to a decent victory. Most times I just spin out. It doesn't happen to the same degree in DoW II (maybe just basic unit familiarity has something to do with this.)
I decided to get ridiculous last night and test the MP waters for Shogun 2. Mostly it was in the interests of achievement hunting, but when I only had a "close defeat" with a motley crew of Ashigaru spearmen and swordsmen against a full loadout of bowmen, light cavalry and samurai, I was pretty encouraged. My avatar also levelled up, so I could pick up the Inspire ability, too. Also, the slightly slower, more tactical approach appealed tremendously. No psychotic build orders, very little frantic microing. Those dudes will get there when they get there.
The whole "unlock units by conquering your own map" thing is pretty smartly done. I got access to stuff even when I lost. (Though, I imagine wargear would require a win.)
My second game just reinforced this for me. There was some capture points located along the center of the map. Ignoring my good sense (and again rolling deep with melee-only Ashigaru troops) I split things up. Sent a couple companies to the cap points along the north and south of the map, and sent the bulk of my guys down the middle. Because the Ashigaru were cheaper, I generally outnumbered the other player's troops. Of course, they had bowmen, so my Ashigaru were getting soundly perforated as they got stabby. They held the lines long enough for both the north and the south points to be capped (which, by the way, takes a lonnnng while. This ain't DoW II) and then four or five broke and ran just as I sent the 3 or so companies that were capping in to the middle of the map. Literally the only microing I really got up to was telling my swordsmen to target spearmen (and spearmen to try and tie up the other player's general) and scrambling my general out to rally the scattered Ashigaru. Worked like a charm. My reinforcements from the north and the south came in to keep the pressure on, and were backed up by the companies that had recently fled. Soon as my general had his bubble around the majority of my troops, I just had to hit inspire and overwhelm the other player's units.
Then, when I won, Steam literally showered me with achievements. I nearly dipped my cat and kissed him like I was posing for the front-page photo of troops coming home from the war.
Man. That turned into a bit of a wall of text. The TL;DR version:
Here's some real shit about Shogun 2 multiplayer:
1. Games are quick. Like, 10ish minutes on the outside.
2. Units are still "slow moving", giving you ample time to tactically assess the situation and respond accordingly.
3. Even if you're shit at tactically assessing the situation, you still feel smart when you pull a couple basic things off.
4. From what I gather, even if you lose a battle in a province where you might unlock a troop, you still get access to them.
5. Zero shit talk that I encountered.
6. Even if someone has expensive troops, you can still provide a serious challenge with a bunch of cheap units.
7. Achievements unlock wargear for your avatar. Again, nothing seems tremendously IBMA, but it's an elegant little bit of value added to achievements.
8. Clans are based on steam groups. I haven't really gotten into any of that stuff yet, but suffice to say I'm really looking forward to getting up on that.
9. Giant Bomb apparently doesn't have a Shogun 2 clan. :(
10. I'm shit at RTS games and at no point did I feel like I had to scrabble up a massive learning curve just to feel slightly effective online.
Note, YMMV, since, y'know, I just played 3 or 4 games. But, yeah. Looking forward to spending more time with Shogun 2.
I'm happy to see that you enjoyed your Shogun 2 experience. If there's one thing we need more of in the Total War series: it's more players online.
Incidentally, as the fellow above mentioned, there is a Giant Bomb clan, and I would recommend that you join us.
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