Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIII - Review

Today I bring you my thoughts on a Koei Tecmo release called Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIII (ROTTK). By just looking at the title you can assume it is the 13th title in the series, just to note all the games in the series aren’t named simply  Romance of the Three Kingdoms 1, 2 ,3 etc. For historical value it must be stated that Romance of the Three Kingdoms is a video game series based on a historical novel first published in 1925, with the first instalment to the series coming to us in 1985.

ROTTK very much feels like it has an association to the Dynasty Warriors franchise, funny that being the same developer and set in the not so fictional past of China. The factual and history elements come through very strong in all of these titles so ROTTK is no different so even if you have only dabbled in the Dynasty Warriors games a lot of characters will feel familiar.

ROTTK is heavily composed in vein of a city simulator, not to the point of construction but with a heavy emphasis on the day to day runnings of a given ruler. This is introduced to us in Hero Mode, Hero Mode is one of the game modes but serves as a very in depth 10 to 12 hour tutorial of all the workings of the game. It is here we become familiar with all the options we have as a ruler whether it be diplomacy or conquest.

The inner workings of the diplomacy aspect can at times feel very overwhelming with a decent amount of required attention span not only to take in what we are learning but to also read all the text to gain a notion of the given narrative. Now this by no means is a knock but more of a heads up as to the amount of reading that will be required to full appreciate the quality of work that has been presented to us. The 3 main goals as ruler is good economy, population happiness and the overall strength of your forces. All these are obtained by a courting process with given characters and effective relationship building, not unlike politics of today with 1 glaring difference, loyalty can be bought with a lot less in this title.

As I have stated building relationships within this game is paramount, a lot of it can be done by just talking and buying gifts for said delegates but others need a little more convincing. This is primarily done with a game mechanic I never seen coming. It is done in a turn based combat fashion but in the disguise of an oral debate. One must overcome his opponent/counterpart with the applications of his wit, so basically turn based combat in a nutshell but without any simulated violence. This debating mechanic is often used when trying to sway a rival kingdom to join you as an ally and when also negotiating a timed truce.

When diplomacy is null and void naturally it is time to negotiate by other means. By these means I do in fact mean violent conflict. To remain aligned with the rest of the game even the combat and battles in this game are civilised in nature. They take on a real time strategy (RTS) approach. This gives you a birds eye look at the battlefield and lets you negotiate the surrounding variables and try to make decisions based on what you have i.e. forces and numbers as opposed to what your overall goal is. 1 time boosters are also an element here as with the other games mentioned before and can be used to turn the tide in battle, these are primarily gained via good leadership and savvy decision making.
Every movement or “turn” in this game is gauged by a time system meaning that a given action will take said amount of days. This is not a primary factor most of the time but other variables in the game lend themselves to timed based restrictions. With these restrictions in place it makes it important to train a good following of people within your close circle and maintain their needs in order to upgrade their abilities in a given field to help maintain the work load. It is with this in depth mechanic that really generates the need to be very well switched on and helps to promote this game as strong role play experience.

I must admit initially I thought to myself I hope I did not need to play 1 through 12 first but that is not necessarily the case but in order to fully appreciate any improvements on the series of course it is a must. As for someone like myself who is diving in head first into this series at the 13th instalment I have to say I didn’t feel overly hindered by my lack of experience. As Koei Tecmo have done so many times in the past is to bring us Westerners a very polished oriental experience that has a lot of historical value. All translations are complete and unbroken and often delivered with the raw emotions of what was initially portrayed.

This is a title that will keep you entertained and entranced for a long time if this is one of your favoured genres and/or historical timelines. I feel very confident in recommending this as a strategy role playing experience, if it is fast paced action and skipped cut scenes you are after this is definitely not for you. I would love to hear your thoughts on this title either in the comment section below or across at our Facebook page.

SCORE: 7 out of 10

  • Polished and beautiful
  • Historically driven
  • In-depth and engaging
  • Not very fast paced
  • Relationships can sometimes be tedious
Platforms: Playstation 4, PC
Genre: Role play game
Initial Release: 8th July 2016
Developer: Koei Tecmo
Publisher: Koei Tecmo


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