Well not so much a friend as a game series. I pried myself away from World of Tanks for a bit to give some love to the "Games" folder in my new (massive) hardrive. I have to admit there are so many neglected games sitting there that if there was a Social Services Protection Agency for games I'd be hauled in for sure.
The target of my gaming affections this time: Shogun Total War II.
You can't accuse me of being 'with the times' as this one is already dated in terms of 'what's hot'. I spent a bit of time with it already so I jumped in and continued my campaign of terror/domination of the Japanese islands. Now, as then, I just can't seem to stick with it and if there ever was a case of 'its not you, its me' then this is it.
I love the atmosphere of the game and think the game-play is spectacular. The graphics are great and the music perfect. It is engrossing and fulfilling and I highly recommend it. I just can't seem to get into it. Part of the problem is that Japan is on my 'Don't Care' list. You see I have a list of countries that I just don't care about. Don't read about them, don't want to visit them- not interested. Australia tops the list, but Japan is definitely on it (and don't get me started on Southeast Asia).
In gaming terms, then, there isn't a lot to pull me into this one. I don't identify with the individual choices of clan and can't see why I would want to play different ones. In Rome, or Medieval, playing a new faction was strategically challenging. New units, new setting, new enemies. In Shogun..... same thing really- conquer Japan but this time from a slightly different starting point with maybe a a few new units. I'm also very interested in medieval history, and ancient Rome so those games are a natural draw. I worked on Archaeology sites from both those time periods (but never on an actual Roman site) and did a lot of reading on them: therefor I feel connected.
There was a special thrill, for me, taking over the world as the Turks, or unleashing my hoard of blue-skinned Celtic warriors that just seems to be lacking in Shogun. I'll go back to it, I think, and see how it goes but for now I remain: Meh. I do like the diplomatic system which, at the moment, is proving to be a challenge. My two nearest 'allies' have got to go. I need their territories, but they are strong and if I attack one, the other comes in to help (yes, I tried and then used the good ole 'load save game feature' to get out of it). There are some subtleties to this game I am hoping I can find.... if I can put in the time.
Meanwhile rumors of Total War: Rome II have me twitching with excitement and saving my holiday time in anticipation. Oh, and I made up those rumors, so no link :)