Sengoku Preview Review

On Sept 13th 2011, Paradox Interactive will be releasing Sengoku for the PC. Sengoku is a strategy game that takes place during the Feudal wars of Japan. It’s big thing is that it takes a different approach to the genre than most games. It’s not all about battles although they have their place..To take Japan in this game will take a lot more cunning than that.

So let me start of first by saying that this game is not for the casual strategy gamer. It is complex and political and takes some strategies you may not be used to employing. A lot of the game play is through your relationships with leaders of other clans as well as members within your own clan. With all the clan leaders out to take the position of the new shogun, You have to decide is that going to be you or are you just helping someone else out. It’s your responsibility in the game to lead your clan to victory.

Unlike a lot of strategy games there are no actual difficulty levels in this game. The difficulty is decided by the clan you pick at the start of game. As you look through the different clan leaders you will see the difficulty level the game would be by playing said clan. It’s not that the game is harder or easier on you in AI it is just that some clans are already established at the beginning of the game while others are already at war and may be losing. A number of factors are at play so choosing a clan with a high difficulty is pretty much starting with a clan that is at the bottom of the totem pole. With so many clans to chose from this really gives you an opportunity to see many sides with the game.

Now what makes this game stand out is the honor system. Everything you want to do will come down to money and/or honor. If you have a neighbor that you want to get rid of but he has never attacked you, to do it your going to have to pay honor.  If your honor is too low you may be asked to commit seppuku (ritual suicide) in order to restore some sense of honor to your remaining clan. This is especially important because if the clan leader you are playing dies by any means, you will take the role of the clan’s successor. In Sengoku you will arrange marriages for your children with the children of other clan leaders to forge bonds as well as create a proper succession. All while attempting to keep your honor high enough to do the things you need or want to accomplish.

With everything from choosing a clan religion to hiring ninjas to perform acts you don’t want to be credited for Sengoku has a lot to offer. Once you get the hang of what is happening on how to perform these tasks yourself, you can find that there is a great deal of strategy in this game. Although this may take a few rough starts where you feel completely helpless and overwhelmed with the options and controls. The menu system isn’t the easiest thing to maneuver and I make a strong recommendation to reading the manual and watching the video below for assistance in getting a grasp of the game.

While the game plays with time constantly passing and you taking your actions in real time. This can become problematic so you can speed up or slow down and even pause time. This allows you to set up a number of actions all at once as well as take a look around at what is going on throughout the rest of Japan. If it wasn’t for the ability to pause time to issue out commands I am sure I would have completely drowned in the interface.

I will say that Sengoku is not about great graphics. You don’t go down to the battlefield to control your troops in battle, so if that is what you want in a game you will be disappointed here. From my experience graphics are not what makes a great strategy game. So if you can get a handle on the menu system and ignore the fact that this isn’t the best visual experience, you will be in for a different style of war and strategy.

In the end I highly recommend this game to serious strategy gamers. I give it a 4 out of 5, but I think the casual gamer may struggle with this one, I did at first. Don’t give up though and once it all starts clicking this game is really fun.

Sengoku comes out on Sept 13th 2011 for $29.99 you can get it from gamersgate.com

The Demo can be found Here