字幕表 動画を再生する 英語字幕をプリント The Sengoku Jidai, the Warring States period. A time of sword and samurai. To live by the sword, and to die by the sword. That is the setting of Creative Assembly's strategy game, Shogun 2: Total War. If our daimyo is to become shogun – military ruler of all Japan – you must understand the weapons of war, among which is the iconic Japanese longbow, the yumi. In this Popshots episode, we look at the history of warfare in feudal Japan, and evaluate the role of ubiquitous ranged units in Shogun 2. One can't really talk about Shogun 2 without admiring the history of warfare in Japan. The weapons of the samurai are legendary – the yari, the katana and the yumi. Bows were used in Japan since prehistoric times, though the exact origins of the asymmetric longbow are unknown. Some theorise that the shape was due to the use of a single piece of wood, stronger at the base. Others believe that the asymmetric shape allowed it to be used while kneeling or from horseback. By the time of the samurai, the yumi was made from laminated bamboo, wood and leather, and typically measured 2 metres long. While we might recognise Japanese archery through kyudo, the style used in warfare was kyujutsu. The bow was commonly used in large numbers with foot soldiers, known as ashigaru, but the warrior class, the samurai, were expected to be masters of the bow alongside their other weapons. The bow was, in fact, the primary weapon of the samurai. Their expertise in yabusame – mounted archery – gave them a unique advantage on the battlefield. It is for this reason – not because of honour – that samurai were distinct in not carrying shields into battle, as all their weapons were meant to be wielded with two hands. The yumi would see hundreds of years of use, largely unchanged, until the arrival of Portuguese traders. From that point on, the most important weapon became the matchlock musket, adopted more widely and aggressively than European armies, and the bow's presence soon waned. Shogun 2's place in the Total War franchise is interesting, bringing the series from the gunpowder era back to a feudal setting. Unlike in Rome, the armies in Shogun 2 are fairly homogenous, consisting of cheaper ashigaru units and expensive samurai units, with specialised units composing of spears, swords or bows, with marginal advantages given to certain factions. As to be expected from a strategy game, the strengths and weaknesses of each unit type are intended for balance rather than realism. Initially, players will make extensive use of ashigaru units, including the bow ashigaru. These cheap ranged units are available from the beginning, offering high volume of arrows. Bow ashigaru have poor accuracy and have the lowest melee stats and morale. Their main use is to whittle down enemy formations, especially other poorly-armoured ashigaru units, but they find themselves only marginally effective against the better-armoured samurai units. After some technology advancement, players have access to bow samurai. Samurai archers stand out with better melee ability than their ashigaru counterparts, though not as good as specialised melee troops. They also boast better armour – making them more resistant to arrows – and better accuracy and rate of fire, allowing them to be more effective against other samurai. However, they have fewer numbers than ashigaru. By combining an archery school with a temple, the player can train bow warrior monks. While having poor melee stats and defense, bow warrior monks have greater range, the highest accuracy and rate of fire. Though their numbers are even fewer than bow samurai, several units of monks can break multiple units before they reach combat. Monks also get access to whistling arrows, which provide a morale penalty to targeted units. There are several other specialised ranged units. The bow hero unit is a very small group of archers with near-perfect ranged stats. However, their tiny numbers make them largely ineffective, and are only good for weakening strong armoured units. Bow cavalry are also present. These horse archers provide some utility on the battlefield, though with smaller unit size than foot archers, their effects are not felt as heavily and they require much more micromanagement. The Chosokabe faction also has a unique unit, the Daikyu Samurai, which are slightly better than normal bow samurai, but not as powerful as bow warrior monks. Bows also have a notable role in the naval battles of this period. Outside of the balanced unit structure, further advantages are gained from having more experienced troops and, crucially in the campaign, control of special buildings that can improve accuracy, potentially turning your bow warrior monks into samurai shredders. Bows also play a prominent role in both campaign expansions. In Rise of the Samurai, the bow is used by foot soldiers, but are prominently used by the samurai units, both on foot and on horseback. In this campaign, the samurai represent the pinnacle of combat units, with samurai units fulfilling both melee and ranged roles without the specialism of weapon types in the main campaign. Warrior monks are still available, providing the same advantages as before. If there's any downside to these early ranged units, it's that the default formation for Rise of the Samurai is open, so most arrow volleys will not have a huge impact. This forces the player to adopt more complex small-unit tactics. Fall of the Samurai sees traditional samurai units compressed into foot bowmen and mounted bowmen. While easily outmatched by modern rifle infantry, bows have a role to play in the early campaign, and have unique advantages. Since soldiers are no longer armoured, masses of bowmen can cause devastating damage to infantry formations. In addition, bows can shoot over hills, which gunpowder infantry cannot do. There's a certain element of fun to recreating the stand of the last samurai, but realistically armies with well-deployed gunpowder soldiers will wipe the floor with bowmen. There are a lot of things that Shogun does well with its depiction of archery. Bow units are well balanced and always have a role to play, whether in offensive, defensive or siege battles. The variety of archers allows the players to spam cheap but less effective archer units or invest in late-game armies with samurai and monks. The arrow volleys look and sound great. Through trivial, Shogun 2 is actually the first game in the series to actually model the bowstrings, which were absent due to graphical limitations in previous games. The arrows are even on the correct side of the bow for Japanese archery. That's a huge leap forward! The downsides of Shogun's archery is mostly in the inflexibility of the battle engine. As with other Total War games, the unit formations are fairly rigid. Bow units operate quite similarly to gunpowder units in Empire and Napoleon, with the clearly defined firing arc and the enemy must be specifically in that area to shoot. Shooting animations are awkwardly long for the slow-shooting ashigaru, and individual soldiers hold onto the shot for far too long, and realistically, archers were far more flexible in deployment and rate of fire. Perhaps the best display of the bow's utility is in siege defense, where soldiers on the walls are not locked into shooting by unit and shoot arrows continually, resulting in a rain of arrows closer to what a real battlefield might have looked like. While Shogun 2 has fairly monotonous armies and units aren't really unique enough to stand out, the game is often hailed as one of the best in the series, especially after the mixed reception from Empire, before the glitched release of Rome 2 and before the fantasy-based Warhammer instalments. Shogun 2 gives us a fairly unique way to play out the battlefields of feudal Japan and witness the effects of Japanese archers on foot, on horseback, in castles and even on ships. Though not the most realistic, there are few real-time tactical games that are placed in this setting, and the units forego true historical accuracy and err on the side of balance and fun – perhaps the honourable choice to make. Thank you for watching another episode of Archery Popshots. This is NUSensei. As always, shoot straight, and aim for your best.