Anti-Climax Boss: Because of The Black Ship's poor maneuverability and blind spots in the front and back, it's actually not that tough to sneak up on it. Something as simple as a single Firebomb Kobaya ship can constantly stay on the back end of The Black Ship and throw bombs until it sinks from a too intense fire. Capturing remains trickier, but simple destruction can be simple with the right tactics.
The various ironclads of Fall of the Samurai have the potential to be quickly defeated if a torpedo or armor-piercing round strikes at just the right point. They're typically more sturdy, but a lucky shot can doom them.
Awesome Music: "Ebb and Flow", the music you hear in the loading screen in Total War. It really captures the atmosphere of the era that the samurai reign is indeed over, as the notes of modern drums invade the notes of Japanese flute.
Boring, but Practical: Out of the three foreign ironclads available in '"Fall of the Samurai", The United States's Roanoke class is perhaps the most dull. Three cylinders slapped on top of a dinky floating platform, compared to the goliath British Warrior class or the black terror that is the French L'Ocean. However, what Roanokes lack in pomp, they make up in practicallity. Roanokes have the same amount of guns and more crew than the the French L'Ocean and are more maneuverable and cut a lower profile than either the Warrior or L'Ocean. They're also the cheapest of the three, meaning you can field more of them on the campaign map.
Basic starter units never quite go obsolete, and in fact can be surprisingly effective, especially as they gain experience and receive province-specific or ranked general boosts. Samurai are more interesting, varied, and technically more powerful, but that doesn't mean a lot when yari ashigaru available from everywhere can still best them, especially with a well-utilized yari wall (think along the lines of European pikes). On a similar note, bow kobayas are the only boats you really need to win just about any naval engagement, especially after you research fire arrows. What bow kobayas lack in boarding capability, they make up for with high maneuverability that allows them to kite many boats that are slower. (Sengoku bunes are one of the few boats that can outpace them, but only if the wind is in their favor.) Any other boat, no matter how big and imposing, can eventually be burnt to destruction. For Fot S, the situation is similar to the base game, at least in terms of land battles. You can win with nothing more than spear levies and line infantry, both quite rudimentary units. If you want to research artillery, you never need to go past the early availability of parrott guns as they are already quite effective.
Even Better Sequel: The game is considered by some fans to be one of the (if not the) best Total War entry yet, building on what worked in the previous games while both introducing new gameplay elements and doing justice to the original Shogun.
The smaller scale was widely well-received in particular; after the nearly-global scale of Empire and Napoleon, having a more manageable and comprehensible map was a welcome change.
Game Breaker: One of Realm Divide's harshest effects is the loss of your trade partners, costing you thousands in gold income per turn. Well, if you establish vassals after Realm Divide, those vassals won't be affected by the Realm Divide diplomatic penalty and would love to trade with you. Just don't try it in Fall of the Samurai — vassals retain their Shogun/Emperor allegiance and still hate a Republic clan.
Genius Bonus: A nice little reference is hidden in the flavor text of the Gambling Hall building: "An eight. A nine. And...a three!" That's the worst possible hand in the blackjack-like game of Oicho-Kabu...a combination called "ya-ku-za".
Memetic Mutation: "Our men are running from the battlefield. Shameful display!" The quote comes from the rather hammy and thickly-accented battlefield advisor, who bellows the statement every time a unit is routed (a not uncommon occurrence, especially with ashigaru units which may rout if the enemy so much as sneezes in their direction). The overly-dramatic delivery is widely considered humorous.
There's nothing quite like the advisor saying "My Lord! A glorious victory will soon be yours!" because it usually means the enemy is on its last legs.
The battle horn of an enemy unit routing from the battlefield.
Scrappy Mechanic: "Realm Divide" tends to be one of the most criticized aspects of the game which is otherwise highly rated as one of the best in the series. Careful diplomacy can seem pointless when suddenly every otherwise non-hostile clan declares war on you on the same turn because of it.
It is worth noting that the Fall of the Samurai expansion softens Realm Divide, perhaps in response to complaints about it in the base game. In that DLC you have the option to fight in the name of either the Emperor or the Shogun, and sticking to your allegiance allows you to only have to suffer the Realm Divide diplomatic penalty with the opposite allegiance. Of course, you could always opt to attempt to form a Republic if you really want the original (or perhaps even harsher) Realm Divide Difficulty Spike, but at least you have the option of potentially maintaining military alliances or lesser non-hostility until the end of the game by sticking to an allegiance. Clans under the same allegiance might still betray you, but it's no longer a guarantee at least.