Total War: Shogun 2 - 'The most exciting Total War yet'

Epic battles in ancient Japan invading PCs soon...

Six sequels later, you probably know the Total War routine by now: big, historically accurate strategy battles where you control everything from the overall war to individual units on the field.

Set in the 16th century, Shogun 2 sees you fighting for control of Japan in one of the nation's most war-torn time periods. You'll control the army, the navy and ninja assassins.

As in previous games, battles are huge. There can be around 60,000 troops per level, and seeing the mass of people going to war on your screen is a real spectacle.

Ancient Japan makes for a beautiful setting, especially when the storms roll in and you're fighting alongside rumbling thunder and lightning strikes. It's epic in every sense of the word.

This video is no longer available

But for all their scale, the Total War games have always lacked personality. In response, Creative Assembly have brought Shogun 2 to life with a few additions.

Firstly, and most importantly, there are now hero units. These mythological figures, based on real people from the era to keep things authentic, fight alongside your armies and are extremely powerful.

Then there are the new skill trees that let your characters grow as you play through a campaign.

So rather than have armies of faceless troops at your disposal, you'll be able to personalise them and watch them grow as you battle.

The most exciting new gameplay feature has to be the inclusion of siege battles. The ancient Japanese countryside was littered with giant fortresses, and you get the chance to hold out in these against thousands of attacking enemies.

This video is no longer available

It's incredibly tense and tactical, and you have to make sure none of your defences fall and enemies pour in.

The Total War games just keep getting bigger, and this is the most exciting yet. The return to the ancient Japanese setting also makes it one of the most visually striking, with gorgeous menu design and elaborately designed units and castles.

When it comes to historical strategy games, nobody does it better than Creative Assembly.

Order GamesMaster magazine here and have it delivered straight to your door.