Sengoku Review (Windows PC)

Posted by Christophor Rick (TheSuperGuido), Sep 21, 2011 19:58

Sengoku takes you back to Japan’s Muromashi Periodsengoku through to the Edo Period, a time when Japan had yet to meet the west (well, the Portuguese arrive in late 1400s) and was torn apart by clan warfare in an effort to claim the title of Shogun and rule the island nation in its entirety (1400s to 1700s). As a player, you’ll probably just tear out your hair in frustration, unless you’re totally down with completely obtuse, tutorial-less, strategies that force you to figure out what the game is doing just to learn how to play it. 

You see, there is no tutorial, at all. When you start up single player it simply says, pick a character, and offers you somewhere around 100 options. The only real rating to base the decision on? Difficulty. Because if you choose a difficulty too high, you’ll be wiped out within a month of game time.

Then, once a character is chosen, you might expect a tutorial, and you would still be wrong. In fact there is no tutorial at all of any kind. There are tooltips that pop up each time you click something and force you to read through them or never figure out how to play the game. Even with them some of the concepts in the game are extremely murky like the gaining of honor which is a key commodity in the game.sengoku puts you in control of a kori, or kuni or all of Japan if you are lucky

Granted, this isn’t the insane micromanagement style strategy games of the old AGEOD, but it certainly leaves a lot to be desired. Often you may get to a point where you haven’t really got the honor to do anything, like declare war on another clan so you can attack, eliminate enemies and expand your territories. That itself is quite frustrating because gaining honor is a maddeningly slow process. In some situations you are able to convert wealth into honor, generally by gifting the emperor with wealth in return for something that gains you honor. Of course, you also need the wealth as well. The thing about honor is that you lose it when you take public, violent actions against others. You can also build a pottery manufactory which will build honor for you as well but so slowly that you’ll burn through decades of game time.

A lot of other game mechanics seem to be somewhat unclear as well and overall the game just feels obtuse as if on purpose because that made it more difficult. But difficulty isn’t really what many people want out of a grand strategy game, it’s a challenge that we want. In Sengoku, the challenge is learning how to play the game and that adds up to very little fun for quite some time.

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Our Rating for Sengoku Review (Windows PC)
7.5 Replay
If you can tolerate the high level of frustration and extremely slow pace of the game at times, you could really find yourself a treat here so long as you can get into the role and have the patience to wait for plans to come to fruition, decades after inception.
6.5 Graphics
The game’s graphics are a mix between RISK and some other deep strategy games. There’s little in the way of animation as all units look pretty much the same and have only two real animations - walking and fighting. However, the interface has a lot to offer but is still, all static images and text.
9.0 Sound
The sound is by far the most interesting piece of the presentation. I could simply leave the music on in the background and work all day as it is traditional Japanese with koto, shamisen and shukuhachi. Its soothing calmness washes over the gamer, hopefully keeping them from putting a fist through their monitor.
7.0 Gameplay
Here I am torn. The gameplay itself is exceptionally complex and challenging and requires a lot of long-term strategy. On the other hand, the game almost prevents you from being able to get into it by not offering any real helpful insights or any kind of tutorial. How can you, as a developer and publisher, expect people to get into a game, when you don’t offer a tutorial that helps them with the most basic principles?
5.0 Multiplayer/Online Content
Really, it’s nearly impossible to succeed in your initial forays at the single player and the game is so hard to come to grips with that playing multiplayer would have to wait for a very long time. Also, there’s really just one way to play the game.
7.0 Overall
Overall, if you are a master of strategy titles, you might really appreciate this game once you get into it. For the majority of gamers, it is going to be extremely off putting because of the lack of tutorial and the very steep learning curve.

Rating: 0.0, votes: 0

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