In recent years following the domination of the combat-focused Warhammer titles, the Total War series has been lacking on a major aspect of empire management: diplomacy. Three Kingdoms brings this and a slew of more personal options back to the war room in a major way.
Luo Guanzhong’s epic “The Romance of Three Kingdoms” and its person-focused take on China’s history is definitely the major point of interest here. The empire of the Han dynasty has all but crumbled to dust and new aspirants emerge to fill up the power vacuum. You’re free to negotiate, spy and/or annihilate your way to the highest position of the realm in more nuanced ways than before. The base game is ever the same: on the campaign map, you gather troops, conquer cities and villages, advance existing technology with reforms and manage your closest allies, rivals and enemies.
Tactical battles take place in real-time on vast battlegrounds where the fruits of your strategic labour are measured. Big battles with large unit sizes will be measured in thousands of individual tiny soldiers of various military disciplines. The familiar rock-paper-scissors take is still there with spearmen defeating cavalry, horsemen trampling over archers, repeating crossbowmen leaving spearmen full of bolts and so on.
New to the game are its two modes – Romance and Records. The former gives your mythological leader units superhero-like qualities. They can trample tens or hundreds of regular units with ease, duel opposing heroes and so forth. Even the campaign map takes on a brighter and more saturated look. On Romance mode, the likes of Cao Cao and Lu Bu are comparable to the hero units of Total War: Warhammer.
If a more historical take is more to your liking, Record mode provides something more accurate, toned down and grounded. Heroes are reduced in stature and come with a strong personal retinue instead of crushing heaps of opponents all by themselves. The biggest differences come with the tactical battles, though, and both modes are chock-full with political intrigue and personal soap opera style encounters.
The biggest and most welcome addition comes in the form of personalities and relationships not only with your opponents or allies but with your own generals and relatives as well. They each have a measure of agency of their own and satisfying or disregarding their needs can bestow life-long alliances or empire-dividing grudges leading to civil war. As characters gain experience and power, their …read more
Source:: Daily Times