Review by Liu Domi

Reviewed: 04/17/06

Romance of the Three Kingdoms Takes on a More Civilization Style-Gameplay.

First off, I would like to say welcome to the next installment of the classic Romance of the Three Kingdoms series. This game dares to go above and beyond the past games as it takes on a newer gameplay style. Oh, and don't pay attention to the back of the game case, this game isn't multiplayer ;_;

Gameplay: 9/10

Put quite simply, you'll be stuck playing this game for a really really long time. Pulling all nighters, all-weekers, all YEAR-ers. Now, unlike the past ROTK games, this game brings on a new playing experience with a re-designed battle system. The major thing you will notice about fighting in this game is the fact that you can march from anywhere at any time. This allows you to concentrate attacks from all directions. And what I really like is that fact that there are so many different places you can fight at. Besides in cities and city walls, you'll be fighting in gates, bases, and randomly while on the march. This brings a more real experience to the game. Outside of fighting, the game now accelerates by days at a time, rather than months at a time. This allows for quicker city enhancing, which is always a plus in my book. Cities now have three special enhancements that vary depending on the city. These include hospitals, bazaars, shipyards, machine yards, and garrisons for different units. All of these upgrades will keep you on this game for a long time.

Graphics: 10/10

The graphics are bloody brilliant, especially for a strategy game. All character portraits are full in detail and rich in color. All cities you view in 3-D. The battle terrain is very lively and highly detailed as well. Fires look far more realistic. The map you view when you leave a city goes above and beyond what is necessary. Even terrain you cannot travel on is drawn in and looks magnificent, and you can actually see rivers and waterfalls running and view the Great Wall to the north. In duels and debates, several officers even have unique looks. The game looks, and is, spectacular.

Sound: 9/10

Once more, the sound is very good for a strategy game. Rich, beautiful music accompanies you wherever you go. In duels, you hear the clashing and stabbing. In battle, you hear the units moving and fighting against each other. Even in debates, as the weather changes, you can hear the clash of thunder and the downpour of rain. Rally cries and screams as officers and units fall prey to the enemy give you a sense of realism in this game. Not a single detail was left out in this game.

AI(Artificial Intelligence): 6/10

This area of the game leaves much to be desired. Still, it isn't horrible. The AI is often times challenging, especially Cao Cao's force. However, one major thing keeps me from giving the game a higher rating: once you acquire an alliance with another force, it is simple to take his cities. By that, I mean you can rumor and bring an allied prefect's loyalty down and hire him, and the AI's force won't do a thing to stop you. This is somewhat disappointing, but not a major minus of this game.

Story: 10/10

The whole story of the Three Kingdoms era is great in itself. And this game allows you to mess it up as much as you please. Every scenario starts out flawlessly and exactly as the book describes it. And, just in case you aren't really a story fan, Scenario Nine gives you great play. Every officer, every liege, every kingdom. Best of luck!

Create-a-Character: 10/10

Perhaps the most important section of every ROTK game ever made. This version of it allows for 110 characters to be made. And, you have a zillion portraits to choose from, a massive improvement from the past, generic 7-10 pages of portraits to choose from. This version also allows you to set a mother and father and even a spouse. You are allowed to put your stats all up to 100 which is generally okay since it take forever to build your stats in-game. You can even set whether your player likes or dislikes alcohol, his/her personality, style, and interests, plus, eventually, you can even set all skills. Last of all, the massive amount of characters you can create allows for the building of complicated family structures.

In conclusion, this game is definitely worth the money you'll spend on it. It keeps you playing for a long, long time to come. Good luck, and have fun taking China all for yourself!

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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