Shogun 2: Total War Performance Analysis

By on February 26, 2011

Shogun2: Total War is the latest turn based strategy that is developed by Creative Assembly and will be released by Sega. Shogun 2 is set in 16th-century feudal Japan, in the aftermath of the Ōnin War. The country is fractured into rival clans led by local warlords, each fighting for control. The player takes on the role of one of these warlords, with the goal of dominating other factions and claiming his rule over Japan. The standard edition of the game will feature a total of eight factions (plus a ninth faction for the tutorial), each with a unique starting position and different political and military strengths.

Sega released a demo of this upcoming strategy, so it’s time to see how it performs. We used a Q9650 @ 4.2Ghz, 4GB DDR2 and a GTX295. Our OS was Windows 7 64Bit and we used the latest version of ForceWare. Nvidia has already an SLI profile for the game, so you won’t have to mess with the Nvidia Inspector tool. Given the fact that this is a strategy game in massive scale and a lot of units, we were expecting it to be CPU bound. And we were… wrong.

Shogun 2: Total War is GPU bound, although its graphics engine seems a little messed up. Our GTX295 was used to its fullest. It was quite surprising that the game was unplayable when maxed out. In 1080p with Very High settings, we were averaging around 30-45fps, which is fine for a strategy game. When we tried to max it out however, we were averaging around 5-10fps. And that was without any FSAA. There seems to be a problem with SSAO’s and DoF’s implementation, as we were having those framerates with only 50% GPU usage when we enabled them. When we disabled them, our framerate was back to 35 with 98% GPU usage. Resolution also didn’t affect our performance, as it was the same in 1600×900 and in 1920×1080. This could mean that we are CPU limited, but our Q9650 wasn’t taxed at all.

Furthermore, our vRam skyrocketed to 765MB in each of our cores in the battlefield sequences. As a result of this, we had a vRam bottleneck in some occasions. Shogun2: Total War is not the most GPU demanding game we’ve ever played, but surely is a one of the most bugged ones that need to be fixed. You’ll surely need a powerful GPU with lots of vRam to overcome these issues with raw power, especially if you want to enable all those funky effects. As we can see, our Q9650 wasn’t pushed to its limits. Even when we simulated a dualcore system by disabling two of our cores, performance remained the same.

Thankfully, there are a lot of graphical options to tweak. You can choose the shader model that will be used, the texture and terrain quality and the units/buildings/environmental details. You can also enable or disable AA, AF, HDR, Distortion Effects, Vignette, Depth Of Field, SSAO and Hardware Shadows. As always, there are some pre-defined options to choose, but we recommend tweaking them to get the best results. As we noted above though, we don’t recommend enabling SSAO and DoF. We really hope that Creative Assembly will have this fixed in the final version or with an upcoming patch.

Shogun 2: Total War is set for release on March 15, 2011. The game looks great in Very High details, performs well and due to its extensive graphical options, you’ll be able to run it with weaker GPU’s. PC gamers that are stuck with a dualcore system will also be able to enjoy it, as this game doesn’t require a quadcore CPU.

Enjoy the following screenshots!

About David Scarpitta

I am a critical guy, and love to review and give my professional opinion on just about anything. Though have a love for tech/gaming and music alongside the cinema. You can catch me consulting and developing the net any day of the week.