Romance Of The Three Kingdoms Xiii: Fame And Strategy Expansion Pack (English Ver

The very first time I was a guest writer for, I wrote about Romance of the Three Kingdoms IV, which was my favorite in the series. I’ve played ROTKIV too many times to lớn count as its strategy gaming at its best. I did play many of the games after IV, but missed IX-XII. With the recent announcement of ROTKXIV, I picked up part XIII khổng lồ see what had changed in the past decade và how the series had improved using the graphical capabilities of the PS4.

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The Romance games are almost lượt thích Pokemon with famous historical figures from the eponymous Chinese saga, mixed together with the PC strategy classic, Civilization. In terms of the Three Kingdoms saga itself, think trò chơi of Thrones fused with the works of Shakespeare, only phối in Đài Loan Trung Quốc around 200 C.E., & you’ll have sầu an idea of how important and influential it is in Asia.

What’s great about the games are that you can recruit some of the best generals & tacticians in the different factions, from warriors lượt thích Xu Chu and Zhao Yun, then unite them together under your banner. The epic novels were an important part of my childhood, so the possibility of rival warlords lượt thích Cao Cao & Lu Bu serving under Liu Bei blew my mind. I mentioned this in my last article, but I loved how the game let me rewrite history. Some of my favorite characters died under tragic circumstances in the novel. Through the ROTK games, I was able khổng lồ rewrite their fates. Saving Guan Yu và Zhang Fei from dying when they did (and hence avoiding the fall of a grief-stricken Liu Bei going after Sun Quan, only lớn face disastrous consequences) was one of my favorite parts. Not only that, but the portrait art for the series has always been fantastic, & ROTKXIII has some of the best art in that sense. It gave many obscure characters a face, especially since the cast of hundreds in the books can be hard khổng lồ keep traông chồng of.

While the core concepts remain similar, the execution in XIII was vastly different & there were lots of nice changes. The evolution of the interface & turned based elements confused me initially, but I liked how the game has embraced real time. In previous iterations, you were given the opportunity to lớn make your commands city by đô thị, then have your turn come to an kết thúc while other warlords made their moves. Now, everything is in real time và the days tiông xã by, making things feel more natural. Need lớn go on a diplomatic mission? The game will tell you how many days you need and actually go with your step by step through the process. You can engage in debates with the advisors of foreign leaders to lớn try lớn get them to lớn bởi vì what you want as well.


The streamlining simplifies commands và delegation is important here. So is trusting your advisors, which will in turn improve sầu your relationship and rapport. They’ll suggest a course of action via icons in the lower part of the screen, lượt thích training your soldiers khổng lồ increase proficiency in spears, horses, và bows, or taking steps lớn improve commerce. You can also grab a drink together to strengthen your bond. This is an improvement over the older iterations, which basically amounted lớn giving your followers gold as gifts to lớn increase their loyalty. The individual characters can also gain experience points by their actions in attributes like leadership, war, & intelligence, adding a RPG element to the gameplay. It’s a nice feature, allowing your characters lớn actually grow throughout the chiến dịch instead of having their stats remain the same.

Koei has added the ability lớn build facilities lượt thích a tavern & brewery (which reminded me of Civilization) as well as research different techs to lớn improve the đô thị, like a sentiment boost or gate reinforcements. I bởi wish the individual cities could have done more to differentiate themselves based on their real world locations.


In the books, each city had its own quality characteristics và a fascinating history behind it, explaining, in part, why certain warlords wanted khổng lồ acquire them. Incorporating some of those elements and maybe even allowing players to lớn walk within the actual thành phố would have sầu been fascinating. For example, seeing the lush scenery of Chengdu would make the Shu capital feel as valuable as it did when Zhuge Liang first described the land lớn Liu Bei (I’ve sầu visited Chengdu before and it’s really an amazing city). Actraiser back on the SNES did a great job making you actually care about each of the regions you lorded over. ROTKXIII does have different layouts for each đô thị, but too many times, they become a các mục of stats that blended into one another with my primary focus turning to the border towns from where I could launch battles.

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Dynasty Kingdoms

When it comes to warfare, there are some significant changes. Similar khổng lồ the political/đô thị building aspect, the fights take place in real-time. In one sense, there is a chaotic authentiđô thị lớn the experience that makes them more engaging. You can deploy up to ten units per battlefield and hotline in reinforcements lớn assist you. The frenetic battles are lượt thích real time xiangqi (Chinese chess) và include naval battles & siege warfare. The strategic aspect can be overwhelming at first, even with the ability khổng lồ pause. I sent a few armies to take over an opposing castle, only khổng lồ face a flood of reinforcements pouring in all at once against me. It was a tough battle that I lost, until I realized I could use this as a ploy. I’d skết thúc out one massive sầu army first, which would cause reinforcements from my enemies to lớn sover their armies và leave sầu behind only nominal forces to defend their other cities. I’d send in other units lớn mop up those other areas. Rinse và repeat.

My biggest disappointment is that the graphics look lượt thích they could have been on the PS1 or PS2. I know the ROTK games have never been about the graphics, but ROTKIII has fantastic cutscenes và Koei has shown they can recreate amazing battles in the Dynasty Warrior games. XIII’s cluster of low-polygonal soldiers moving about the battlefield felt just a notch about what I’d experienced on consoles from previous generations. At the least, I was hoping to lớn see the armies led by the officers I’d chosen. While there are portraits of the generals above each army, I wanted lớn see the stronger warriors actually mow down foot soldiers in battle. Seeing how each of the characters fights in the book was part of their character building, lượt thích the way Guan Yu kills a dangerous foe before the wine he was offered by Cao Cao cooled down, or Zhang Fei faces off against the entirety of Cao Cao’s army by himself on the Changban Bridge.

While there are duels in ROTKXIII, the one-on-one confrontations plays out more lượt thích rock-paper-scissors. I know this is the way it’s been in the past, but some evolution here would have sầu been welcome, especially if they gave sầu players more control over the individual fights.

A lot of my requests have lớn vì chưng with the fact that with every new iteration, my expectations grow. There are several Three Kingdoms TV shows & movies, and the battles are some of the most memorable parts with long arrays of soldiers facing off against one another. Often times, the victory isn’t about who has the most soldiers; it’s about which generals & tacticians underst& the enemy psychology to exploit them. This was the case in the John Woo directed film, Red Cliff, which was about the great Battle of Chibi from the Three Kingdoms, showcasing the machinations of Zhuge Liang & Zhou Yu against Cao Cao.

ROTKXIII doesn’t recreate that epic scale, but clumps individual units until they kind of blover inkhổng lồ one another. With the power of the PS4, I wished Koei could have sầu brought battles from films lượt thích Red Cliff khổng lồ life. It didn’t have sầu lớn go full Dynasty Warriors, but more accurate visual representation would have made the game’s battles have so much more gravity. Instead, I have khổng lồ admit, at times, it felt like the tactical strategy analog of grinding for experience levels (each castle powering up your force).

One other change I felt conflicted about was that soldiers are no longer drafted as a command, but automatically enlisted depending on the thành phố you’re in & its population. I didn’t like this change because it took away from the sense of control. While untrained soldiers don’t last long against battle hardened ones, this automation at times felt lượt thích it prolonged battles as foes would just keep respawning indefinitely.

But ultimately, the most important question và the one that matters most is, how fun is Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIII? And that’s the thing. Despite all my gripes, despite my longing for better visuals, I couldn’t stop playing. The core of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms games are so good, all these decades later, I spent several nights unable lớn stop playing it.

I generally select Liu Bei & piông chồng the timeline when the three kingdoms are already mix up with tactical genius, Zhuge Liang, by my side. There are six scenarios and a story mode as well that serves as a useful tutorial chiến dịch & an introduction khổng lồ the story.

A big reason I wanted lớn dive sầu back into the lakiểm tra Romance of the Three Kingdoms game is that there’s a newer version of the Chinese show that I’ve been enjoying. The actor who plays Cao Cao, Chen Jianbin, was awesome. Cao Cao is often portrayed as an evil warlord, but I liked this more balanced portrayal of a leader who instituted a svào meritocracy và brought order to the world. Chen Jianbin does a great job showing Cao Cao’s charm, leadership, & ruthlessness when it comes to achieving his objective. “I’d rather betray the world, than let the world betray me,” Cao Cao famously declared. While he’s magnanimous to those who serve sầu hlặng loyally, he’ll also take whatever steps are necessary to lớn secure his power.

What makes the series so attractive are the timeless stories. Fate, injustice, persistence, and interpersonal relationships are at the forefront of every scene. There’s the supremely powerful, but ultimately incompetent, Yuan Shao, who is as frustrating a trùm as a person can have. There’s Sun Ce, toiling under a master he hates, until he seizes his own destiny & carves out his own empire in the Wu region.

The story occurs across multiple generations & small actions that happened decades ago come bachồng to lớn have sầu a major impact later in the narrative. While some of the story is “romanticized,” as the title suggests, it’s based on actual history, making it all the more compelling. Just recently, I was going through a very difficult time, struggling with the situation. In Episode 14 of the Three Kingdoms show, I was deeply moved to lớn watch the plight of Liu Bei during a disastrous chiến dịch where he’s ordered khổng lồ attachồng the rebel, Yuan Shu. The cthua kém friend he appointed as governor of their capital, Zhang Fei, loses the thành phố in a drunken bout khổng lồ the rival general Lu Bu. Liu Bei then finds himself pinned between the fiercely treacherous Lu Bu on his rear, and his enemy, the corrupt warlord Yuan Shu. Liu Bei’s trusted friend, Zhang Fei, has failed hyên ổn, he’s lost his family, and his life is at risk. “There is no refuge for us,” Liu Bei states in despair. “We can neither go forward nor retreat. Is Heaven truly determined khổng lồ destroy me?” In this moment of trial, he doesn’t get upset và try to lớn get vengeance or retrieve the castle that was stolen from hyên ổn in what would have sầu been a futile attempt, despite his generals wanting lớn vị that. Liu Bei carefully considers his options, và acts with humility and compassion towards Zhang Fei. His acceptance of his fate, and his strength in confronting defeat with dignity và honor, was very powerful for me, và a reminder khổng lồ always keep your eye on the bigger picture.

There are so many stories lượt thích this I can recount, numerous times where lessons from Three Kingdoms have sầu helped me navigate some of the trickier situations in my life. The chance to simulate some of my favorite stories is what makes all the Romance of the Three Kingdoms games so special. And it’s also why decades from now, despite any quibbles, I’ll probably still be playing whatever number the series is at.

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Peter Tieryas

Peter Tieryas is the author of Mecha Samurai Empire & Cyber Shogun Revolution (Penguin RH). He"s written for, IGN, và Verge. He was an artist at Sony Pictures và Technical Writer for LucasArts.