China has a rich and long history full of events that would be interesting and inspiring stories. So, it’s no wonder that Total War: Three Kingdoms has drawn a lot of attention to itself. The game is currently in pre-order phase with a release date set for May 23 after the initial one for March 7 was delayed. It will be coming for Microsoft Windows first, and then for macOS and Linux shortly after.
Developed by Creative Assembly, and published by Sega, Total War: Three Kingdoms is a turn-based strategy and 12th main installment in the Total War franchise. This highly popular series has been present since 2000 when the first game Shogun: Total War was released, and the last one and previous to Three Kingdoms was Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia published last year.
The story starts in 190 AD when the famous Han dynasty is falling from grace. The emperor Xian is under the thumb of manipulative warlord Dong Zhuo and the situation brings chaos to the Empire. In order to remove Dong Zhuo, warlords form alliances although each one of them has their own agenda. But the conflicts also bring forth heroes who will help unite China and save the Empire.
Three Kingdoms is a historic period of China when the Empire was divided between three states at the end of the Han Dynasty. Each of these states was ruled by an Emperor who wanted to take over the whole of China. This is also one of the bloodiest periods in Chinese history.
In the game, players can choose from twelve warlords with a goal to unite China and create the next ruling dynasty. The game is inspired by the famous novel the Romance of the Three Kingdoms and it gives the story some magical properties. Basically, if you watched Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or any other epic Chinese movie, you know that a little bit of fantasy is to be expected.
At the beginning of the game, Liu Bei a character from the abovementioned novel is without land. Basically, you will build him up little by little going through various dilemmas and situations, although you don’t have to respect the scenario from the Romance of the Three Kingdoms. While Liu Bei doesn’t have territory, he has an army and in a war that is enough to start winning some ground. An important thing about our hero is that he belongs to the Han dynasty bloodline and so he can do certain things in the game like peacefully take over territories which belong to the Han dynasty.
However, while taking over territory is important, Total War: Three Kingdoms is more about the characters you sign up for your cause. Since Liu Bei is not rich considering he doesn’t own land and is more of a nomad, players will have to count on his charm to grow his army. While villagers may be great farmers, they may lack fighting skills. But, they are cheap and you will easily form a large army that will help you grow and level up to create a better one in the future.
When you look at the characters, you will notice that they have full sheets which include skill tree, stats, and gear they own. But more impressively, every character has a personality that will allow them a unique interaction with your protagonist. Another thing to pay attention to is class since it will determine what you can use a certain character. As a Commander, Liu Bei is an inspiring character who is able to recruit superior melee forces. His two sworn brothers Guan Yu and Zhang Fe belong to different classes and each can affect the gameplay in his own way.
While the gameplay mechanics may be demanding, it’s well-worth to play because of the rich story and amazing characters. However, Total War: Three Kingdoms has another plus side – it looks beautiful. The game perfectly depicts the natural beauties of China and you will make a few breaks just to admire the view.
The game also features two modes: Romance which is based on the novel and Records based on the more historically accurate data from the Records of the Three Kingdoms. The latter also removes the superpowers from the characters so it all is closer to reality. In the end, choose the mode you feel more comfortable playing.
Unfortunately, the game has joined the ongoing trend of delayed release dates. It was previously slated for March 7 but delayed at the beginning of February to May 23 release.
“With Three Kingdoms, we set out to create a new level of complexity. As such, we need a little more time to make sure these systems deliver as intended and give you the Total War experience you’ve waited so patiently for. Of course, the extra time won’t hurt when it comes to fixing those bugs that have been hard to nail down, getting the localization just right, and adding additional polish to help it shine. We all know those little details make a big difference,” said Rob Bartholomew, studio brand director at Creative Assembly.
While the preview was an interesting play, we can’t wait for the full game release in May and any possible changes that Bartholomew announced in this statement. Without a doubt, it will be epic.