Reviewed on PC


Reviewed By: Garrett O'Hara

Computer Platform: PC
Produced by: Electronic Arts
Price Range: $45-55
Learning curve time: 3 hrs.
Age level: 13+
ESRB Rating: Teen
Patches / Upgrades: none known
System Requirements: 266 MHz, 64 MB RAM, 3D Accelerator

Genre: Real-Time Strategy (RTS)
Christian Rating: 3 of 5
   (some objectionable elements)
Gameplay: 4 of 5
Violence: 2 of 5
Adult Content: 4 of 5
   (barely present)

Box art for 'Shogun - Total War'
"Shogun: Total War" is a real-time strategy game that starts in 1530. Japan is in a civil war. The historical time was known as "Sengoku Jidai," meaning “The Age of the Country at War.” Power is divided among seven “Daimyos” who are vying for the title of Shogun. You will control lands, territories, and armies, and will be able to move your men around the island. Overall, “Shogun” is a great game, but with some strings attached.

Subterfuge is another element of the game. The user can train Ninjas to spy and assassinate enemy generals and Daimyos. Eventually, when you get enough currency and a big castle, you can train Geishas, who are master assassins.

The bloody and gory parts do not come on the battlefield. You can recognize blood around dead bodies, but it doesn't even look gross. The gory parts are the times when the game switches to a full motion video. These include assassinations, burning of bodies, and ships.

The most offensive parts come when they talk about religion. In the game you start off as a Buddhist. Then Portuguese traders and Jesuit Priests of the Counter-Reformation will come and offer you guns if you give them gold and convert to Christianity. Then Dutch traders will come and sell you guns for gold regardless of your religion. Converting will cause your peasants to revolt, especially if you don't build any churches in order to convince them.

Overall, the gameplay is great, but for many Christians, I imagine that the religious mockery may be more than some can bear.

Year of Release—2000

Positive—While my brother's heart might be in the right place I think attributing this game to containing anything close to “religious mockery” is possibly overly sensitive. As a Christian with a heart for missions in Japan, the history of Japan and the Christian movement (or lack there of) is a subject I've been interested in for some time. It is an unfortunate historical fact that the Portuguese Jesuits did much to disfavor Japan toward the gospel they claimed to bear. I think the portrayal of the Jesuits: 1) Is historically accurate. 2) Is not a criticism of Christianity, but of one group of missionaries who probably deserve the criticism and 3) Is worth noting by any Christian seriously interested in world wide evangelism. This is the world's perception of us when we do it badly. Learn from it. I have less to complain about this game's content, than I do with it's RTS engine. I think the camera controls during combat, make the simulator somewhat cumbersome. My Ratings: [5/4]
   —Heath Allison, age 18

Positive—The “religious mockery” may offend someone, but it is based on historical facts. Many daimyos used religion as a tool. My Ratings: [4/5]
   —Lauri Kivinen, age 18

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Christian Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Films for Christ or the Christian Answers Network.

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