Brawl Me Maybe – Total War Battles: Shogun On PC

By Nathan Grayson on August 30th, 2012 at 9:00 am.

Because 'A Smaller But No Less Important Portion Of A War' wasn't quite as catchy of a title.

The Total War series is about armies the size of small countries crashing into each other, resulting in a deafening cacophony of clangs, ka-booms, ooooos, and ahhhhhs. It’s rather big, is what I’m saying. Small things, meanwhile, have not generally been known to create deafening cacophonies – well, aside from maybe babies or this terrifying breed of disarmingly adorable fox, neither of which are often featured in war. And yet, the iPhone – certainly a small thing if I’ve ever seen one – managed to play host to a rather solid re-imagining of Total War. But how? Well, Total War Battles: Shogun is on Steam now, beckoning you to find out with its sultry Japanese war screams.

Impressively, Creative Assembly didn’t simply hand this one off to a significantly less creative assembly in pursuit of a quick and dirty throwaway. No, it’s certainly not a full-scale recreation of Total War as we know and love it, but that would’ve been a disaster on phones anyway. So instead, Creative Assembly crafted a faster-paced, smaller-scale alternative with a fairly novel twist.

“Total War Battles: Shogun introduces a new real-time battle system that feels both familiar and fresh. The hex-based battle map allows for quick and simple unit movements that lead to deep and cunning strategies. However, as followers of the ‘Bushido’ code of conduct, your units can never turn back.”

As in, you can’t retreat. So Total War Battles is also kind of a puzzle game, insofar as maximizing positional effectiveness of your units goes. It’s also impressively sizable for an import from the land of text messages and touch screens, so the $7.99 price tag is pretty reasonable. I’m curious, though: have any of you written off games like this or, say, Hero Academy just because of the words “former mobile exclusive”? Also, does it worry you to see ports like these? I mean, I definitely think it’s a case of “the more, the merrier” right now, but with companies like Microsoft pushing hard to blur the lines between PC and mobile, the future could be a different story.

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26 Comments »

  1. Premium User Badge

    MajorManiac says:

    This game looks brilliant. Think I’ll get it for my phone to take advantage of the mobility of it.

    You last question is interesting. In fear of sounding overly rant-like, I’d say people who can’t understand how console ports have had a detrimental affect on PC games, will soon understand if all major AAA releases for the next-gen consoles are ports of mobile phone games.

    Damn I ranted.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      The difference is that there are several different “tiers” of games with Indie at the bottom and ultra-AAA at the top. Back when these tiers were forming, most A to ultra-AAA development was focused on PC first, or console exclusive. For example, Quake II was PC first, and Goldeneye was N64 only.

      Now that most First Person Shooters and indeed A to ultra-AAA games are designed for consoles first, and porting to PC as an afterthought, it actually harms a lot of PC ports because those porting the PC games are unfamiliar with the graphics options PC owners need, or the port is rushed and buggy, etc.

      PHONE GAMES ARE A DIFFERENT TIER. They are B games, the tier between Indie and A that no one mentions because it’s not exciting. Porting a game from phones to PCs doesn’t harm the port as much because they are not designed to have high-end graphics. Because “high end” graphics on phones is the equivalent of “B tier graphics” on PC. Therefore, the graphics don’t need as much tweaking to look good on each PC.

      So the idea that more games will be developed for phones and PC simultaneously is not nearly as damning a threat as developing for consoles and PCs simultaneously or consoles first, because nothing is being compromised in the process. It’s always all full settings all the time with phone ports.

  2. Yemala says:

    I find these interesting, because they look like a bit of a resurgence in turn-based strategy, outside of Civilization and games designed for the hardest of the grognards.

    I object to them, in part because they are direct ports, but mostly due to pricing – http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/total-war-battles/id499885330?mt=8 shows us that this is $4.99 on ios, but $7.99 for the glorious pee cee.

    Similarly, Hero Academy appears to be a free iOS app with $1.99 microtransaction content, while on steam it is 3.99 GBP + 3.99 GBP (forgive the currency switch) microtransaction content.

    While I can accept that there is work in porting things, it seems like a pretty substantial discrepancy, and one which I would expect to be caused by developer/publisher perception of the target’s ‘standard price’ rather than any sort of workload/cost issue.

    • f1x says:

      well, I find the ios price too expensive aswell, something higher than 2.99 sounds like too much for me considering what you can find for less than 1 buck

      regarding PC price, its hard to digest aswell

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      The nice thing about it being on Steam is that it’ll be on sale before you know it.

  3. kurtensen says:

    I have it on the ipad, and I have to say, it’s pretty much garbage. Well, more like “oh hey, yet another botched down mobile game”. The matches are simple and repetitive, and get old really fast. It was cheap, or cheaper than the PC version at least. But I kind of felt ripped off. The game was clearly a money-grab, as the difficulty got up quickly and you had to resort to in-game purchases to boost your XP.

    I’d say do not buy, do not be tempted by the name. The game itself is garbage

  4. TheWhippetLord says:

    60% more than the iOS version?
    A shameful display.

    • ShatteredAwe says:

      You just won the internet. On the topic though…
      MY LAWD, YOUR DOLLARS ARE FLEETING FROM TEH BATTLE.

  5. Nabobalis says:

    You must of really liked that play on words on the title :P

  6. Solivagant says:

    For years I have adored every single RPS headline. Always a fantastic pun. Today, that streak ends.

  7. destroy.all.monsters says:

    Curious as to how this holds up versus Koei’s classics (Nobunaga’s Ambition, Genghis Khan, Romance of the Three Kingdoms etc.) as well as Paradox’s Sengoku.

    It doesn’t look like there’s any diplomacy though.

    • ShatteredAwe says:

      If you want diplomacy, just buy the base game (Total War Shogun 2).

  8. Temple says:

    Just recently I’ve been thinking what I really want is an RTS that is, er, not real-time.
    Any suggestions for a warcraft/total annihaltion type resource gathering, build up base game but that is hex or turn-based?

    • Premium User Badge

      MajorManiac says:

      Battle Isles 2 was my favourite back in the day. Later sequels never ‘felt’ as good to me.

    • TsunamiWombat says:

      Civilization

      • Temple says:

        Actually it feels like I want the computer game of the boardgame of the computer game of Warcraft.
        So if they did a computer game of the latest boardgame of Civ…

        Might just dig out Warcraft 3 and see if it can be modded/hacked to play slower/easier.
        I want to play Armageddon Empires without any opponent…

  9. bill says:

    So is it an endless sidescroll to the right, or is it broken into lots of small battles?

    Cos I always meant to make an RTS sidescroller, so they knicked my idea!!

    • TsunamiWombat says:

      Your idea has been knicked by a dozen other flash games/games on steam

  10. Ninja Foodstuff says:

    Given that most of the games in the Mac App Store are straight-up iOS ports, I tend to gloss over when I see another one. There have been some rare exceptions, such as the wonderful galaxy on fire 2, but I’ll reserve judgement on this one for the time being.

  11. Cytrom says:

    Meh.. no android version?