ul corner ur corner

Romance of the Three Kingdoms XI review for PC

Submitted by Chris Stavros on September 7, 2008 - 10:10pm. Exclusive Game Review

China has always been a land of mystery and adventure. The history of this amazing place was virtually unknown for many years in the west. Few people knew that during the time of the Roman Empire China had its own more powerful state known as the Han Dynasty. By the year 189 AD this dynasty was growing old and enfeebled and change was in the wind. A number of revolts would topple the Han and for a time the nation would be split into three mighty kingdoms known as Wu, Shu and Wei. The story of this epic time was told in the novel ‘Romance of the Three Kingdoms’ and for many years has been simulated in games with the same title.

Romance of the Three Kingdoms XI (RTK from this point on) is a turn based strategy game simulating the struggles of the later Han and the successor states that fought for China from 184 AD through the division of China into three states. There are a number of starting set ups representing the various factions in different years during this time, and even a fantasy scenario where all warlords are the same age and you can be anyone. There are also scenarios representing various parts of the RTK novel that players can take part in.

Players assume the role of the supreme warlord for the faction they select and each leader is different. The characters in the game are rated in a number of separate and important abilities that effect how they fight, govern and build and raise and train forces. These ratings include a score for war, leadership, politics, intelligence, charm, and how they handle horses, pikes, crossbows, ships, siege weapons and some leaders are also rated with special fighting abilities and even the temperament of the characters are taken into account.

The object of the game is to control all the cities and provinces of Han era China. Players must raise armies and train and equip them, make sure they are fed and paid and must develop the infrastructure in the areas they control to maintain a credible military force and to eventually control China. In order to rule, players must search for and recruit followers and after they join you they must be paid and kept happy or they will leave.

Each turn you can issue orders to carry out various tasks in the areas you control to your officers, as well as try to capture enemy cities and defend your own. The way the game is set up even characters with low war scores can be extremely valuable if they have high intelligence, or politics or charm or combinations of these. Any three characters can work on a project but depending on their stats and the nature of the project the time it takes to finish varies.

Each city in China is different with different terrain and the number of structures it can support also varies by size. For example a mountain city may have 10 slots and a large river city may have 15. You can build whatever you like on the slots but the choices are limited. Basically you want farms, markets and barracks in each city and a combination of the other types such as workshops for weapons and shipyards on rivers. The amount of farms and markets and their support buildings regulates the amount of food and money you get at tax time.

You need food to feed the people in cities as well as your troops. Without food soldiers will leave you and your empire will die. All of your characters must be paid a certain amount of money based on the position they hold in your army. Positions can be assigned automatically or given to any general you like if they qualify for the position. You also need money to raise troops, build weapons and ships and buy horses for your armies.

Each general in your army can control a certain amount of troops according to their rank. This number can be increased through promotions and technical research. When in battle soldiers are lost when they fight enemies and engage enemy cities and walls in battle. When a general losses all his men he is either captured or is returned to the nearest city you control. Generals can also use different formations and strategies depending on troop type and the moral of their forces.

The map board is extremely well done and has a nice change of seasons and excellent battle effects. Lively battles and vivid fires as well as nice sounds go with each battle. The characters each have their own illustrations and include brief historical backgrounds and important game information. The interface is extremely simple and well laid out and the game includes a tutorial, but this is not all inclusive and it’s recommended you read the full glossary to understand all the things you can do here.

There are a number of usual and fun things in the game, one of the better is intelligent characters can be recruited by debates, and warriors by duels. The mechanics of duels and debates is quite clever and is done in a surrealistic way that is actually a bit of an art in of itself.

For a game system that goes back almost 20 years its surprising how fresh and original this game seems. The music has a nice period feel even if it is a bit repetitive at times. There are no voiceovers as such but the game does include nice sound effects to mark events in the game. While the game plays slow at points as you can be at peace for years at a time, during a fight it’s very active and will keep your attention. This game is more like a war game rather then an adventure but it is a solid game and true to it’s subject matter.

Our Scoring System

login or register to post comments

bl corner br corner