ROMANCE OF THE THREE KINGDOMS XIV ON STEAM

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I’ve sầu been playing Koei Tecmo’s Romance of the Three Kingdoms (RTK) offerings since the SNES days. While it’s true that the company relies on an age-old formula, the franchise remains popular due to its depiction of Chinese history. Unfortunately, this tired formula, combined with nonsensical mechanics và notable omissions, has become a detriment to Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIV, the lademo installment of the series. It just might be one of the most disappointing RTK titles I’ve played. Let’s delve sầu inlớn detail in our official Reviews.

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Note: For more information about the game’s mechanics, head over lớn our Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIV guides và features hub.

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Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIV: The story so far

Koei Tecmo’s Romance of the Three Kingdoms is based on one of Luo Guanzhong’s works, Sanguo Yanyi. This sweeping epic combines fantastical elements và history & is likewise considered as one of the pillars of Chinese literature. Set during the waning years of the Han Dynasty, it tells the tale of rival warlords, heroic feats, amazing duels, dastardly plots, mysticism, và larger-than-life characters.

Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIV still has numerous scenarquả táo for you khổng lồ piông xã starting from the battles between the Han Dynasty & the Yellow Turbans lớn the rise of Sima Yi and the foundations of the Jin Dynasty. Historical scenarquả táo are accompanied by a short cinematic giving you a backdrop of the current situation. Sadly, these cinematics seem to lớn be missing when it comes to fictional scenarquả táo (such as one that pits the descendants of Cao Cao against each other).

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Events galore?

As for events, there are quite a number of these throughout Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIV’s campaigns. While seeing their respective requirements/sự kiện triggers & dialogue can be a welcome sight, many of these events are for the main faction leaders.

For instance, I played the 194 CE scenario (“Warlords”) as Lu Bu, known as the mightiest warrior in Trung Quốc at the time. Historically, Lu Bu was part of a three-way battle for Yan Province; his rivals were Cao Cao & Liu Bei. The novel details many of his exploits such as attempting lớn arrange a marriage between his faction’s and Yuan Shu’s, allying with Liu Bei only to betray hyên in the over, being cruel to lớn his subordinates, the flooding of Xiapi, his pleas for mercy as he was about lớn be executed, & Cao Cao’s recruitment of the brave sầu Zhang Liao.

To my surprise, all the events in the “Warlords” scenario focused on the exploits of the leaders of the Three Kingdoms (Cao Cao, Liu Bei, và Sun Ce/Sun Quan). Not a single one was tailor-fit for Lu Bu be it historical or ahistorical events. Even other notable rulers such as Ma Teng, Gongsun Zan, Yuan Shao, Yuan Shu, & Liu Biao got shafted. The remaining “general” and “attainment” events were purely generic “develop a city” or “defeat your rival” affairs.

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Empire management versus role-playing

There are two kinds of Romance of the Three Kingdoms players. Some prefer the RPG-esque concepts that focus on character development và building relationships. Others, meanwhile, lượt thích the macro, empire-building mechanics. I belong lớn the latter group. As such, I mostly gravitated towards the older installments as well as the sixth, ninth, & eleventh games in the series; RTK 11 happens to lớn be my favorite as well.

Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIV is somewhat similar to lớn those aforementioned titles. You play as the ruler of a faction, not as a vagabond or a retainer looking to lớn make a name for yourself. Those who loved the RPG concepts may be disappointed by this iteration. However, if you’re someone who does lượt thích the empire management aspect, you’ll feel the same sense of despondency. That’s because Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIV‘s mechanics just don’t mesh well together.

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Pause-and-play that makes you want to lớn pass instead

Firstly, there’s the “pause-and-play” concept. This is poorly implemented in Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIV‘s grand strategy presentation where all the action takes place on a massive campaign maps. It’s somewhat akin to lớn Romance of the Three Kingdoms IX‘s system, except worse.

Imagine a paused tactical phase where you move half a dozen armies one by one và have lớn anticipate where they’d end up, how they’d reposition, or if they’d somehow get stuông xã. The most you can do during the tactical phase is assign waypoints and targets. Once you hit “play,” all your orders, including battlefield skills and duels, are then automated và fire seemingly at random. After each phase ends, you’re then taken lớn a screen that gives you a summary of the previous turn. This also has a significant effect of taking you away from the action.

Fans of Koei Tecmo’s games may even rethành viên pausable real-time strategy features in other RTK titles or those in Nobunaga’s Ambition: Sphere of Influence. Still, those examples let you input new commands whenever the game is paused. In Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIV, very little control is provided khổng lồ the player which means offensives lachồng tactical cohesion and strategic depth.

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Moving around Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIV’s campaign

Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIV‘s ruler actions such as recruitment or promotions are mix on a global or faction-wide scale similar khổng lồ previous games. These have sầu your entire pool of officers visible. Now, for some inexplicable reason, the resources aren’t pulled globally. Instead, they’ll come from wherever your leader is residing.

For instance, if you play as Liu Bei và give a gift khổng lồ Sun Quan, then the gold will originally come from your capital Chengdu. But if you march with Liu Bei’s army to lớn capture a city, the gold value being used will come from that newly captured thành phố instead. Thus, you’ll need to lớn keep moving resources around depending on your ruler’s location. It makes no sense.

Likewise, officer management can be a little confusing. In previous titles, officers in transit (or those who’ve got a pending action) will no longer appear on assignment lists unless they’re idle. That’s not the case in Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIV. It’s possible lớn sumtháng several officers lớn a new settlement & they’d somehow still appear as options for their previous settlement, nullifying your command or leading khổng lồ perplexing situations.

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City management and map-painting simulator

Strategy players will also be aware of criticisms such as how the campaigns in various franchises turn inkhổng lồ glorified “map-painting” slogs. Well, Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIV takes that idea one step further in a bad way.

The game adds special hexes known as “cores” near cities, và capturing these will provide extra income. The problem is that you also need to lớn control every hex in every zone to gain the maximum benefit. Combine this with the aforementioned “pause-and-play automation” và you’ll realize that your units tkết thúc lớn roam around randomly when automated, wasting several turns just khổng lồ fully control an area. This tedious process becomes apparent as early as the tutorial.

It’s also possible khổng lồ capture the cores of enemy provinces with your units, and then assign an officer lớn manage it. This will passively occupy more hexes each turn, albeit costing gold in the process. Funnily enough, capturing the enemy thành phố that those cores belong lớn automatically dismisses your assigned officers from their positions, và you’d need to reassign them again. Relying on viceroys or districts is also moot due to how inept the AI can be when managing your lands.

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Is this the real Total War: Three Kingdoms?

While your actions each turn in Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIV are limited, the very options you could undertake are also sorely lacking. Domestic options simply include the assignment of officers to various posts khổng lồ increase resources, and there are only a handful of plots or schemes to destabilize a rival faction.

Even worse, diplomacy options are woefully barebones. You can only give sầu resources to lớn increase diplomatic relationships và form/dissolve an alliance. It’s going lớn take a long while (Grand General rank) until you could ask allies to attack a location or demand a faction’s submission. You can’t even ask for cores or exchange territories. It’s funny when you realize that Total War: Three Kingdoms — a game which has “total war” in the title — has more diplomacy and espionage options than this one.

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Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIV review: The final verdict

The Romance of the Three Kingdoms series’ vaunted create-an-officer feature is still here, which is a good thing. Likewise, a free-LC lets you use historical officers from other time periods và even those from anime tie-ins. Then again, the overall feature is still lacking in terms of presenting you with helpful information. Information such as traits and skills remain opaque, & floating tooltips would’ve been more helpful rather than having khổng lồ kiểm tra out other panels.

Of course, it’d be more exciting if Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIV had additional scenarquả táo and events to freshen things up. Unfortunately, as mentioned earlier, these, including the unlockable “Gathering of Heroes” scenario, will leave you disappointed. Oh, & the debating mini-game has been removed and the game is also locked at 30 FPS.

What you have here is a map-painting simulator with simplified (& wasteful) pause-and-play automation. If for nothing else, Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIV shows that the series is behind the times, & Koei Tecmo can’t simply rely on the same old schtiông xã while introducing questionable mechanics. Just lượt thích Lu Bu, this game should not be pursued.

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Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIV is available via Steam. You can purchase the game for $53.99. Please note that while the game has been available since January 20đôi mươi, English localization has only been added recently. This is also considered as its western release.