Start of a great series
The strategy genre came a long way last fifteen or so years. Constantly improving upon itself, the genre grows constantly. One of the major turning points was the release of Shogun: Total War (and Medieval: Total War after that). Never before could you control your forces in such a way like in Total War series. Dual play system works wonderfully. You have the game map, which is basically whole of Japan. And you have the action maps, which are beautifully done 3d environment in which all the fighting goes on. It works pretty simple, and intuitive. All the construction, research and unit building is done on the game map, and once you get into conflict with your opponent battle map loads up (it changes depending on the location on the game map), and you are thrown into a huge battle with up to 10 000 units. Before the actual battle start you can give orders to your units and deploy them in a tactical formation you see fit. And then, the carnage begins. There really is no greater joy than watching your troops plow through enemy lines, mowing down opposing forces by the hundreds, while the red sun of Japan rises into a bloody dawn. Graphics are stunning, to say the least, the textures of land are very nicely done and the overall feeling is awe inspiring. Sound and music fit perfectly into the mix. This game was a corner stone for the next generation of strategy games, in size, graphics and the quality of gameplay. Thumbs up.