Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sengoku Demo Impressions

Sengoku, you are a very difficult game, at least in the beginning. This is one of those games that doesn't give you a tutorial and kind of just expects you to read everything and figure it out. It was something where I was very frustrated at the beginning and was inclined to give up, but once I figured out how the game works, specifically military and cities, then the game became a lot more fun. Sengoku is a strategy game for PC and is made by Paradox Interactive, the guys who made Pride of Nations, Europa Universalis III, Hearts of Iron 3 and a bunch of other large scale strategy/diplomacy games. It is set in Japan, starting at the year of 1467, with a map and clans that are familiar to anyone who played either Shogun: Total War. Unlike Shogun: Total War, this game has a great depth of non-military options. Ninja's essentially perform the same kind of actions as they do in Shogun 2, but other than that most other aspects of the Sengoku are far different. I played the demo for the last several hours, up until it told me my time was up and booted me out of my game, just as it was getting awesome.

Two Different Map Views

Clan Map View

Sengoku does place a emphasis on military might, it is something that you must have, but there is such a large array of options having to do with diplomacy, cities, guilds, castles, individual clan members and your council. If you have played any of the Civilization games then you can be a little familiar with how military combat looks, but not how it works. You have stacks of soldiers, each of which are lead by someone from your clan and each army stack can be made up of calvary or infantry. You move each stack individually, but you can group them into one large mass, something that took me a while to learn (just like most everything else in this game). When your stack of soldiers comes into combat with an enemies stack of soldiers then it shows the two stacks striking each and a detailed army screen pops up and shows you what's going on. I did really well in a few fights just based on the fact that I had higher morale than their army, since they were invading my territory, but it's hard to gauge how a fight will go, although the A.I. retreats often if the fight is going sour at all. Retreating can save you most of your troops, the ones remaining that is, but will leave them all with low morale. When you siege a city your stack of soldiers will sit outside and it will tell you how the situation looks. The city will tell you how long they are likely to hold out, how many soldiers each side has, how much morale each side has, if the city is breached, how well your army would likely do if they assaulted it and if there are any special circumstances causing problems for the defending city (like lack of water or food).

Sengoku Announcement Trailer

With relevance to military, declaring wars isn't as easy as it is in other games. Your leader has honor and you use honor for everything, you gain honor by sending money to the imperial court or by earning special commendations. Everything you do with diplomacy seems to have some impact on honor and with declaring war you will need a specific amount of honor based on the size of the other clan, your relation with them and if you have soldiers in or near their territory. Most everything in this game is about that complicated, which isn't a bad thing, except when you are first starting the game. I have to say it took me at least a hour to get familiar with most of the base concepts of Sengoku, but once I did I found that I couldn't stop playing. There is so much detail to this game, whether it's in all the many menu's and statistics, or in the world map that is full of territories (way more territories than Shogun 2). I loved that you can trade hostages with neighbors in order to improve your relations or that you can recruit ronin (for hire Samurai) to your cause by sending an advisor to search for some. Diplomacy was also equally enjoyable, because it wasn't too complicated, thankfully it explained each option when you scroll over it, also because it seemed like it was more solid than most other strategy games I've played. For instance, in Shogun 2 and Civilization V, enemies and allies are all over the place with attacking you and everything, but in Sengoku it actually hurt you to declare war on someone (honor wise) and that made everything more difficult, so clans aren't as willing to betray others or declare war like it's no big deal.

I've gone on quite long already, but I must say that Sengoku looks like a very fun strategy game, despite it's lack of tutorial. It's available through their main website (as of 9/13), as is the demo and the demo is also available through Fileplanet, among other places. If you are willing to struggle through or take your time with learning the game, then I have a feeling that it will return you with some great experiences. I will wait till it goes on sale sometime this probably snag, so no review on this anytime soon, but check it out people. Although,  I would not recommend it to anyone who is far too action oriented, because while the graphics are pretty good there aren't any gorgeous tactical battles like Company of Heroes or Shogun 2, it's more about text, strategy and honor. Thanks for reading.
Main Website
Demo Available at:

-Written by Sean Cargle 


  1. AnonymousSep 16, 2011 01:39 AM
    Altough there isn't a tutorial, the game has a series of hint windows explaining the interface.
  2. LokaiSep 16, 2011 12:51 PM
    It does, but even when reading those it didn't clearly describe how everything functions together. Kind of just had to figure it out all out in it's individual parts and then hope it all makes sense, which it does, but it still took a bit.