Total War: Three Kingdoms is one of those premier strategy games from a series that can tackle any historical era with grace and deft implementation of gameplay mechanics.
This games looks no different from other titles in the series, yet it promises so much more than those games offered.
How does it do this?
Through the rich, deep lore of the Three Kingdoms saga that serves as the narrative centerpiece in this game.
The Three Kingdoms, also sometimes referred to as the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, involves the conflicts between the rival Chinese kingdoms of Wei, Wu, and Shu.
Each of these realms has their own list of legendary heroes as well as their own strengths and weaknesses compared to the others. All three want to rule a unified China, but only one can do it.
If you played the classic Romance strategy games on PC or the musou Dynasty Warriors, you have some idea of who Cao Cao Ren and company are.
For the rest of us, think of Total War: Three Kingdoms as the Game of Thrones of Chinese literature – and then a whole lot more.
Epic battles, devious plots, and compelling characters make this game a mosaic of pageantry and epic action like the best games from Square Enix.
Don’t worry: You’ll still be implementing high-level strategy, but you will also be dealing with boots-on-the-ground issues.
Some Total War players might not like the overly involved historical drama overlayed on top of everything and, for them, there is the records mode. This is pretty much the Total War you’ve come to expect where the generals are minions at your command and the armies follow your orders.
While not completely devoid of the Three Kingdoms lore, this mode is a vastly stripped down version of the much more complex narrative-driven mode in the game.
Called the Romance mode, this segment of the game brings the story of the Three Kingdoms to life.
This mode is vastly different from what you might expect from other Total War games.
Here, your generals can engage in duels with the opposing team or even wade into fields of soldiers themselves. Evocative of Dynasty Warriors more than anything else, your generals can display fighting prowess that would give the Avengers pause.
From a strategic perspective, this means that you have to match your generals to the task at hand rather than rely upon customized units. In fact, the units in this game are kind of basic and stick to the basic cavalry, infantry, archers format.
Your generals, however, bring multiplier effects with them to the battle field. They also have classes like in a MMORPG.
Where Total War: Three Kingdoms excels is in the complete package on offer. You will have to master all of the gameplay mechanics to make it through, including diplomacy as well as management of the game’s unique systems.
Easily one of the best Total War games to come out in some time, Three Kingdoms is a must-play for fans of strategy games on the PC.