A serious let down in the Total War franchise, and here's why...

User Rating: 6 | Total War: Shogun 2 PC
Diving right in.

Pros: Multiplayer experience is a lot of fun. The addition of avatar conquest actually creates a purpose for multiplayer.

Cons: (Brace yourselves): Unlike the previous Total War games, the variety of units is minimal. Each faction has the same units whereas in (for example) Empire, each nation had unique units that created a new edge of strategy. And here come the biggest let downs of this series...

1. Multiplayer is completely broken. At least for me. I get stuck at loading screens all time with a text box saying something along the lines of "retrieving info from servers". I let the game sit for about an hour today with no results. Unfortunately, you can't exit out of this so I had to end the program. This happens far too often.

2. The load times are absurd. I have a pretty good system with a quick HDD separate from my OS. It takes an unusual period of time for the game to load anything.

3. With the release of Fall of the Samurai, if you ever are able to get in a game, and you don't own the expansion, forget about winning. With the release of the expansion, you're going to go against people with lots of gunpowder and you will get mowed down. The vanilla game doesn't have anything like that until much later. I just looked at all the games that are currently in session and not a single one is running without Fall of the Samurai. Therefore you have to dish out another ~$30 to even have a fighting chance in the game. I feel they're taking on the role of most modern gaming companies and milking the customer for as much money as possible anymore. I liked the Total War franchise because they were unique to that aspect in that they didn't release tons of expansions making the vanilla obsolete.

4. The single player experience feels empty. I don't feel nearly as engrossed in this game as I was in Empire, or Medieval 2. I don't know what it is about this game that makes it far less enjoyable than its predecessors.

5. When playing multiplayer, I get tons of dialogs that pop up and say "Error: Empty server" or something along those lines. In other words, I'm having trouble connecting to anything. It's not just me. After doing a bit of research it seems a lot of people have this problem. I shouldn't have to do any complex work to ensure I'm able to correctly connect to the servers and enjoy the game.

6. Finally, I'll close with this. The clan system is confusing, boring, and doesn't even work. I tried joining a clan and when my game didn't get stuck at the "retrieving information" dialog, I was still unable to join a clan due to an unknown issue. When I click "Make Primary Clan" Literally, nothing happens. They're recent ties with steam that make it so you have to join the steam group in order to join a clan is a bit of a letdown, too.

SUMMARY: The multiplayer experience is far too buggy to enjoy. Without the expansion, you have no chance to advance in multiplayer making the original Shogun 2 obsolete. The single player experience is nothing compared to its predecessors.