Total War: Shogun II Mod - Darthmod

By Curtis Szmania 06 Oct 2011 0

Mod For: Total War: Shogun 2

Created By: ?DARTH VADER?

 

INTRODUCTION

I was anticipating the release of Total War: Shogun 2, the latest sequel to the Total War series from Creative Assembly, for some time. Though the game delivers beautiful battlefield graphics and a draw-dropping strategy map, it lacked variety upon release and failed to grab the attention of many of us for more than a couple campaigns. Therefore, many Shogun 2 gamers turned towards mods to fulfill their Sengoku war gaming needs. One of my favorite places to find mods for Total War games is the Total War Center Forums. Here you can find thousands of mods from the original Shogun all the way to the latest Shogun 2. These mods range from changing graphics (unit skins, wallpapers, etc?) and sounds (musket firing sounds, game music, etc..), adding new units, adding more animations, adding more single player battles, or just changing the game mechanics to make battles more realistic or more enjoyable.

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THE MOD

If you can find your way through the endless maze of mods in the forum, you?ll notice under the ?Total War: Shogun 2 Hosted Modifications? section that ?Darthmod: Shogun II? has the most threads/posts, which makes it the most popular of the supermods available for the game. This is no surprise, as the supermod adds many new features and makes tons of new tweaks to the vanilla game. The mod was created by, or is hosted by, a user on the Total War Center Forums that goes by the username ?Darth Vader?. He/she has also received the help of five other members of the forum. But the mod also has incorporated dozens of other mini-mods, they and their creators are given due credit in the forums where the Darthmod download link can be found. There was also a Darthmod Empire for Empire: Total War which also got much praise, and still does, back when that game was the latest of the series.

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Essentially, Darthmod: Shogun II, or ?DMS? as the creators like to refer to it, makes several gameplay improvements over the vanilla game. Most of these improvements aim to enhance the immersion of the game, while striving for realism. For example, ?Darth Vader? has strived to make the speed, physics and acceleration of the units in the game more realistic. This is a great fix because I myself like to play with the most realistic settings as possible; but it does make the battles last a lot longer because the units are moving much slower. This mod also has tweaked some battle mechanics and unit morale settings so the fighting during battles lasts longer. This is also realistic modification which creates more pleasurable action-packed battles.

In addition, Darthmod adds immersion by making the battles larger and more epic through enlarging unit number sizes and by increasing the maximum garrison amount of fortifications. This is sort of a trademark of the Darthmods and is most certainly one of my favorite things about them, of course assuming one has the computer hardware to handle these huge armies. The player can increase the armies to as large as they want by changing the unit size multiplier. The increased army size definitely makes battles a lot more enjoyable to watch, with thousands of units fighting hand-to-hand and a larger number of dead strewn all over the battlefield. This aspect, again, adds realism to battles. Larger armies have also been encouraged through minor improvements of the economic system by the mod. The system encourages the AI and human players to build larger armies.

Diplomacy and campaign AI has also been improved, which was a problem with the vanilla game. In the original game AI factions would be unreliable allies, breaking alliances and declaring war on your faction every chance they could get. Realm-divide was another issue that bothered vanilla players because of the many factions that would invade and declare war on your faction after it occurred, but Darthmod seems to have quelled the effects of this aspect.

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Various other modifications of Darthmod also include more realistic naval engagements and ship movements, with increased navy movement points on the campaign map. These adjustments improve the sometimes stagnate naval battles in the vanilla game while encouraging naval invasions by AI factions, increasing the diversity of gaming outcomes. The auto-resolve feature has more realistic outcomes too, which is a bonus to players who either don?t have the time to fight battles or are playing with an inpatient player through the multiplayer campaign. The movement of armies and navies is also a bit more difficult and realistic as the player has to be more concerned with the enemy forces surrounding their army/navy stacks on the campaign map. This tweak requires additional strategic study by the human player, which is always an attractive facet for me in any war game I play. The character improvement system was changed to a faster rate, making the creation of characters better and quicker. Another great improvement the mod added, and was a dilemma with the vanilla, is unit diversity. The AI now builds more unique armies, specific to their clan type with unique units and/or based on the clan strengths and weaknesses.

One of the nice things about a supermod is that they usually incorporate many small mods in them, and Darthmod is no exception. These mods include but are not limited t Horo removal (a large balloon that the vanilla game put on the backs of the cavalry), projectile trails removal (the laser trails seen following the shot of muskets or cannons), improved unit cards (better looking and more unique/color-coded unit cards), more pronounced clan specific colors on units (units on the battlefield are more easily identified according to faction color), a Japanese speech fix, and a mod that adds unique looking units (men with/without helmets and a variety of armor types). Other mods include different in-game music (including more traditional music), different portrait and event images, and a better encyclopedia map.

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These mods (and many other mods not mentioned) can be turned on or off via the Darthmod launcher, which can be started through the ?DARTHMOD SHOGUN II? shortcut which is added to the desktop after the mod is installed. Darthmod is installed into the game folder of your vanilla Total War: Shogun 2. But don?t worry, once the mod is downloaded and installed players can still play the vanilla game by pressing the ?DISABLE TO PLAY VANILLA? button in the launcher. Many changes can be made through the launcher that range from enabling/disabling mods, ?Graphics & Sounds? changes, ?Boost Options? (options for exponential increases for certain aspects), and ?Extra Gameplay Options.? If a couple of players wish to use Darthmod for multiplayer they can change the options for that in the launcher also; from ?MP LIGHT? to ?MP HEAVY? depending on how much of the multiplayer campaign they want to modify.

 

IN CONCLUSION

When Total War: Shogun 2 was released we were all expecting it, or would have liked it, to surpass its predecessors in nearly every aspect of gameplay. Though the game has its own unique and impressive features, it fell short of the expectations of many of the fans of the Total War games. In consequence, many players have turned to the modding community to subdue their woes. The greatest attraction for these disappointed players was and is the supermod Darthmod: Shogun II. The reason for this was because the supermod simply delivers. It also addresses the issues of the vanilla game while increasing its replayability exponentially. With its gigantic battles, its unwavering quest for realism, and its treasure chest of included mini-mods; what more could a wargamer want from a team of gentlemen who work without pay. I?m almost certain most of us would have shelved Shogun 2 after a couple weeks had it not been for the modding community. Thank you Darthmod modders and contributers, (I think I speak for everyone when I say this) we really appreciate your hard work, keep it up!

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The Good: Increased unit sizes for larger battles, longer lasting battles because of various adjustments that strive for realism, more interesting and realistic naval battles with more frequent AI naval invasions, a milder realm-divide option, a very helpful launcher where players can adjust many settings to fit ones needs, multiplayer friendly and preferred, improved music, greater unit diversity, improved graphic adjustments, the mod increases the vanilla game?s replayability to a great extent, the mod is updated frequently addressing concerns of those who wish to give feedback, a huge collection of mini-mods included that do numerous and various other things, and so much more!

The So-So: Not sure why I?m adding this section in, because I can?t really complain about anything done by a group of people who do it for the love of the game or for the love of modding; and, obviously, not for the money. Maybe add even more mods and make it even more realistic with more immersion? But then again adding more mods creates further compatibility issues. Perhaps I?m being too greedy here.

Does the mod have a permanent spot on Curtis? hard drive? Most definitely! Without question! I am currently using this mod in two different Shogun 2 installs, one by itself and the other incorporated within a ?cocktail? of various other mods I like, offered by the Total War Center Forums. Of course one has to address the compatibility problems with such a set-up, but this is one of my favorite things to do on my spare time. I?ve been creating various mod concoctions for Total War games for many years now. But for Shogun 2, Darthmod will without a doubt be a part of my modded Shogun 2 hybrids. I recommend this mod for ANY Shogun 2 player, and for novice or experienced mod users.

 

Review written by: Curtis Szmania, Staff Writer

 

Reviewer?s Specs:

  • AMD Phenom II 955 BE Quad-Core Processor Overclocked @ 3.7Ghz
  • 8GB of DDR3 RAM Overclocked @ 1666 MHz
  • ATI HD 6850 1GB Overclocked @ 1030 MHz GPU and 1175 MHz Memory
  • Windows XP Professional x64 Edition

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