GOTY 2011 PC Exclusive – Total War: Shogun 2

The PC shows how complexity can help when it comes to strategy

The poor old PC has become a platform where major AAA titles launch late if at all but out of this unfriendly gaming medium dedicated developers can coax something like Total War: Shogun 2, the most recent installment in the long running strategy franchise from The Creative Assembly and, after starting out with Activision, publisher SEGA.

This is a game which underscores the main qualities of the PC as a gaming platform: complex control over a huge number of game variable using the mouse and a layered approach to gameplay.

The current controller setup for gaming consoles cannot accommodate such an experience, although a future of touch screen controllers like that of the Wii U might change things.

There’s also the small matter of having the memory needed to allow those thousands of units to show up in the same battle at the same time on home console who struggle to allow 64 gamers to play multiplayer at the same time.

Shogun 2 also plays to the PC crowd by making the experience much more character centric, with multiple upgrade paths for the generals and with hero units who show up and lend themselves well to players who like to role play their Japanese medieval warfare narrative.

My runner up when it comes to PC gaming is another game that belongs straight in the strategy genre, Dawn of War II: Retribution.

The Relic created experience manages to be somewhat simpler when it comes to overall gameplay than Shogun 2 and its scope is much smaller but the developers have managed to create a very good squad based experience where a mini-game in itself is choosing the gear for the various Space Marines in order to create a well running killing machine.

You can read a full Softpedia review of Total War: Shogun 2 and see why it succeeds as a strategy video game and a review of Retribution is here.

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