Fall of the Samurai's new steamboats explode as you might expect when you consider the racks of torpedoes stored within those mighty hulls. The new steam ships and sturdy ironclads of the era are just a few of the powerful new weapons that standalone Shogun 2 expansion Fall of the Samurai brings to Japan. It's set 300 years after the events of Shogun 2, at a time of rapid modernisation triggered by the arrival of boisterous Western traders from America, Britain and France. The rising number of foreign troops and advanced technology would grow to infuriate the traditionalist samurai classes leading to unrest and eventually, full-scale uprising.
As leader of a pro-imperial or pro-shogunate faction, you'll have to deal with these rebellions, ideally by using the devastating new gatling guns. Plonk one on a hill in front of a unit of swordsmen, halve the game speed and you'll get something akin to the final scenes of The Last Samurai. A fitting way to crush one's enemies. Fall of the Samurai is due to drop on March 23, check out our Fall of the Samurai preview for a detailed overview.
Total War's biggest expansion will also feature their most modern setting to date. That doesn't mean that we'll lose out on cavalry charges and mass infantry melee, though. Japan's traditionalist forces will put the art of war to the test against new threats like long-range artillery, gatling guns and well-drilled ranks of gunmen. Each of the six new factions will be fighting for or against the Shogunate. Your role as the leader of one of those factions will be to push Japan in one direction or the other, ideally by creating an army that consists entirely of horses and rampaging them from one end of the country to the other, trampling the enemy underhoof. Horses FTW.
Fall of the Samurai is a standalone expansion, so you won't need a copy of Shogun 2 to play it. The expansion is due out on March 23. Which side will you take?
Which are better, guns, or bows and arrows? Guns, of course, you might think, but then you have to consider the long reload times, their tendency to explode, their unreliability in wet conditions. These are some of the issues that Total War lead designer James Russell and the team at The Creative Assembly think about every day as they balance the clash of old and new weaponry in Fall of the Samurai.
"Bows can be better than guns in the hands of a skilled user" says Russell. "If you fire arrows more frequently than you a fire a gun it can be more lethal. It's not direct fire, you can fire above, and behind a rank of guns in front of you."
But then there's the cost of teaching men to wield a bow effectively. It can take years of training and strong arms to fire a bow effectively. A unit of marksmen can be taught to use guns in weeks. A big advantage. The improving technology and craftmanship also made guns a tempting option.
"This is the era where the guns start to become more effective than bows," Russell says. "The effective ranges start to become greater. This is the last hurrah of archery, guns are really taking over."
In Fall of the Samurai you can choose to embrace the new gunpowder weaponry being brought into Japan from the West, or you can fight for the Shogunate and try to save the Samurai, and find out once and for all whether bows can beat an army of gatling guns and rifles. The standalone expansion is out on March 23.
"We've got a huge pile of options we'd love to set the game in," says James Russell, Lead Designer of the Total War series. And we can't wait to see them happen. With three games in Steam's top 20 most played, it seems PC Gamers can't get enough of Creative Assembly's franchise. Probably because it's consistently great. Watch the video above for more from the closest thing Creative Assembly have to their own general.
Standalone Shogun 2 expansion, Fall of the Samurai, is due in March. It's going to be noisy, bloody and brutal. We're talking cannons, gatling guns, repeating rifles and spears: all being used against squishy human/horse flesh. The expansion will be set during a time of modernisation that marked Japan's transition into an industrial state 300 years after Shogun 2's campaign.
For more on Shogun 2's latest expansion, check back tomorrow or pick up a copy of PC Gamer 236, where you can read Tim Stone's in-depth feature.
The Samurai are doomed. That's according to the latest batch of Total War: Shogun 2 screenshots, which show off lots of new imperial weaponry. Cannons, gatling guns and muskets will make defending the Shogunate a very tough task. Fall of the Samurai's new weaponry has to be dramatic, mind, "mild decline of the Samurai" doesn't have quite the same ring to it. We'll get to fight with the expansion's new land and naval units on March 23.
You'll find plenty more in our big preview in the latest issue of PC Gamer UK. Meanwhile, see samurai being blown apart and roasted in the new grabs below, which also feature some of Fall of the Samurai's new Agents.
March 23 is the release date for Total War: Shogun 2 - Fall of the Samurai, the enticing standalone expansion to Shogun 2.
Fall of the Samurai introduces six new factions to do battle for an expanded campaign map portraying ancient Japan on the verge of an age of transition. Western weaponry is being imported in greater numbers, and factions within Japan are seeking to use them to overthrow the ancient Shogunate using the muskets and massive cannons provided by imperial forces.
The expansion will add new tech trees, ground units, naval units and agents as well. You can find out more in our great big preview in the latest issue of PC Gamer UK, which you can order now online, or get digitally through Zinio or Apple Newsstand.
Fall of the Samurai is a great big standalone expansion for Total War: Shogun 2 that will pit the samurai classes against imperial forces that threaten the power of the Shogunate. The influx of colonial forces and new technology leads to an internal struggle between pro-imperial forces and traditionalists. The result? WAR! Katanas will meet muskets on the battlefields of Japan.
There will be six new factions to play with, 39 new land units, 10 new naval units, an expanded campaign map, three new agents, port sieges and new technology, including railways. It's available to pre-order now on Steam and the SEGA store for £24.99 / $29.99
Pre-ordering on Steam will grant you the Tsu faction, described as astute strategists and master ninjas. The SEGA store pre-order comes with the Obama faction, who have nothing to do with the incumbent US administration. They're described as an authoritarian people "who are unsurpassed in controlling people and trade."
The official Total War: Shogun 2 - Fall of the Samurai pre-order page also lists a limited edition as "coming soon." That'll contain the Saga faction, who can quickly adopt the fresh technology brought into Japan by Imperial forces. Fall of the Samurai is due out in March.
The Creative Assembly have just announced that they'll be releasing a huge standalone expansion for Total War: Shogun 2 called Fall of the Samurai. It will be set in the period leading up to the Boshin War, in which European and American forces introduce a new wave of military technology that threatens to wipe out the Samurai.
Fall of the Samurai will add six new factions. Some, like the Nagaoka, sill support the might of the Shogun. Others, like the Satsuma clan, want to embrace Imperial power. Externally, British, French and American forces are vying for influence in the Land of the Rising Sun. Over the course of the campaign, you'll get to decide Japan's fate.
New tech trees will reflect the evolving technology of a country adapting to the influx of devastating new weaponry from the west. That technology includes new naval units like "steamers, torpedo boats and mighty Ironclad battleships." For the first time in Total War, these will be able to launch artillery attack on land units from the safety of the sea. Coastal defences will also be able to launch ranged attacks on incoming fleets, and the fight for influence will rage across a new campaign map that will incorporate the Northern Ezo territories and railways. Railways can be used to move troops incredibly fast, and can be sabotaged by the enemy.
On the battlefield, 39 new units will be available, including Gatling guns, US Marines and British Royal Marines. There will be three new agent types, Foreign Veteran, the Ishin Shishi and the Shinshengumi. These campaign map agents will have all new progression trees, and the Geisha and Ninja skills will be updated.
The six new factions are divided into pro-Shogunate and pro-Imperial groups. The Aizu, Nagaoka, and Jozai clans fight for traditional Japan, while the Choshu, Satsuma and Tosa factions fight for the Empire.
A number of improvements will be made to siege battles. New tower defences can be upgraded and specialised to become archery, matchlock or gatling gun towers. A new "port siege" battle will let armadas brave coastal defences to take control of coastal towns by occupying their harbours.
Shogun 2's multiplayer features will also be expanded. You'll be able to create a separate Fall of the Samurai avatar with access to 40 new retainers, 30 new armour pieces and a new tech tree. There will be a new 19th century conquest map and you'll be able to create multiple avatars to try out different tech tree builds.
Fall of the Samurai is shaping up to be a huge update. It's standalone, too, so you won't need Shogun 2 to play it. It's due out in March.
What's this, every Total War title except Shogun and Shogun 2, with all accompanying DLC for just £8.74 / $12.49? What are you doing to us, Steam sale? I was planning to eat, and perhaps sleep this weekend but NO, you have to throw hundreds of hours of world class strategy gaming at me for a price that my buying finger can't not click on.
Wait, there's more? Gravity mangling platformer VVVVVV, for just 99p / $1.24? That's less than I paid for my cup of coffee this morning. The slick shouting-at-people-until-they-crack simulator LA Noire, which has only been out for two minutes, is half price. And Fallout: New Vegas and all its DLC packs are available at prices that make the upcoming Ultimate Edition seem a little redundant.
Also on sale today:
Red Orchestra series Operation Flashpoint franchise RIFT Sniper: Ghost Warrior The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition Roller Coaster Tycoon 3: Platinum Two Worlds franchise
The deals will change around again in six hours time, so keep an eye on the Steam front page. The Autumn sale will wrap up on Sunday, giving us some time to play everything we've bought before the big Christmas sale kicks off.