PC RELEASE: July 5th 2016
Have you ever wanted to turn back time and take the place of a Chinese general during the Three Kingdoms period of China? Immerse yourself in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms 13 and satisfy that desire. Through the eyes of a key historical figure, learn how to govern your cities, manage your allies and charge with your troops into battle!
If Chinese history intrigued you but you never got around to reading the massive historical records, perhaps this game can give you a glimpse of what it is like. Romance of the Three Kingdoms 13 allows you to relive historical battles as one of the key figures in “Hero mode” campaign. If you are new to the series, fear not! The “Hero mode” also doubles as a tutorial to the game which is designed to ease in new players and introduce its numerous mechanics.
This game stands out with its unique mix of genres, consisting of resource management, RPG and (to some extent) RTS. As compared to the predecessors, the latest iteration introduces some new mechanics such as the relationship web. This mechanic contributes to a large part of the RPG-like experience of the title, as you attempt to deepen your relationships with your fellow officers. That being said, it is not comparable to the experiences of a full-fledged RPG.
Duelling and Debating are also reintroduced in this title and are essentially Rock, Paper, and Scissors with slight tweaks to the game rules. While it may catch your eye due to the fancy animations, upon closer inspection, the game mechanic is fairly disappointing; partially due to the AI being very predictable. On that note, poor AI is also responsible for the shortcomings of the RTS aspects of the game.
The RTS aspects are only available during combat, and if the character that you are playing as is in the battlefield. Otherwise, battles are merely the collision of two icons with numbers below them on the map and whichever has the higher number is likely to win. Furthermore, the variations of the battlefields are highly limited, resulting in a repetitive gameplay as you perform the same strategies over and over with the AI reacting in similar fashions.
On top of that, it is rather disappointing that there are few quality of life functions within the game, considering that it is already the thirteenth in the series. For one, unless you are a master on the geography of China, it is hard for a new player to pin-point the location of every city on the map. Leading to considerably frustrating moments of “pointing your mouse over every city to find that one” whenever you receive a notification regarding an off-screen city. Perhaps, clicking the name of the city when a notification arrives could highlight it on the map?
That aside, the translations are clean and the UI is clear and functional. The art-style and the narrative are well presented and will not put you to sleep like your history teacher back in high school.
If you are already a fan of the series, you will either love or hate the changes made to the franchise. If you are new to the idea of world domination, this is a fair game to get your feet wet.