Total War: Shogun 2 is free on Steam right now

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SEGA is the latest to join the growing group of game publishers who are giving away games in an effort to encourage people to stay home, with Total War: Shogun 2 free on Steam for the next few days.

The free period runs until 5am on Saturday, 2 May (NZST); if you claim Shogun 2 before then, it’s yours to keep forever. Additionally, almost all the game’s DLC is reduced by 75%, bring the prices down to a couple of bucks each. The only add-on that remains full price is the Blood Pack DLC (which adds new, more violent animations), but even including that, the full set of DLC will set you back NZ$18.32.

Total War: Shogun 2 originally released in 2011, and met with widespread acclaim for its return to the series’ roots in Japanese history—after all, it was 2000’s Shogun: Total War that kicked the whole Total War franchise off. Set in the 16th century during Japan’s Segoku period, Shogun 2 sees you playing as one of nine historical clans and trying to unify the country through a combination of turn-based and real-time strategy. Later DLC took the game to different periods of Japanese history, both before and after Sengoku, like the Gempei War (1180-1185) in the Rise of the Samurai campaign and the Boshin War (1868-1869) in the standalone Fall of the Samurai expansion (now rebranded as Total War Saga: Fall of the Samurai).

A screenshot from Total War: Shogun 2, which is currently free on Steam. It shows a strategic map of a mountainous region of Japan.

A handful of other publishers have similarly released games for free, to encourage people to stay home while the world deals with the spread of COVID-19. On PlayStation, Sony is currently giving away Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection and Journey, and last month Square Enix offered the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot and Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris for free on Steam.

If nothing else, it’s a good opportunity to try a game you might not otherwise have played (assuming most Total War fans would already have Shogun 2 by now). Shogun 2 is as good a place to dive into the series as any, if it keeps people at home while we try to get this whole pandemic thing under control, all the better.

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Matthew is a writer based in Wellington. He loves all things pop culture, and is fascinated by its place in history and the wider social context.