Review by Sphynxaura

Reviewed: 08/18/05

Quite the interesting game... but do the pros beat the cons of the game?

Introduction- Romance of the Three Kingdoms 10 is a game based on strategy. This fact may already drive off many of you but it is far more complicated than your average game. If you do not know what the game is about you will have a clear understanding whether you will hate or be addicted to this franchise. Many people are taken by surprise that this is the tenth installment of the series but Koei, which makes this game, used it as a platform for its ever-popular Dynasty Warriors series. This game has had a solid following since its conception way back on the SNES. In essence it is based on the novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms. This takes place in China around the fall of the Han Dynasty and this is where your story begins in the game. You are an officer (created by you, through a personality test, or default 650 officers) wandering around China your goal being to conquer the land and end the chaos.

Gameplay- Gameplay is the main and most vital part of the game. Depending on your taste it can be very repetitive or addicting. During the game seemingly hundreds of choices are given to you and you have to decide each and everyone. On a side note, the create an officer mode is reasonably deep and allows you to put any portrait of an officer you have met during the game and have a save file of. This makes the game seem different each time you play. However, to other gamers that pay attention a formula shows up and no matter what you do the same result seems to occur. This game is very slow-paced with a lot of dialogue so if that isn’t your thing you should stay away from this franchise. This is really true because you have to read so much and battles are such a minor part of the game, which is the polar opposite of the Dynasty Warriors series. You will really notice this because the game goes by days not weeks making it seem very slow. The game is either easy or hard depending on the difficulty you choose at the beginning of the game. However, once you get used to the game you’ll notice that the difference between the basic and advanced difficulties are not that noticeable. This points to the fact of a pathetic Artificial Intelligence during some parts of the game. Control is straightforward as there is no button mashing but constant choices requiring a reaction and decision by you. Making this game slow and easy to control.

Story- The story of the game is based on the book Romance of the Three Kingdoms, which takes place at the end of the Han Dynasty and follows the struggle of regional warlords to take over China. This is the same story as the Dynasty Warriors franchise but in this game even the most insignificant faction or force is represented. Instead of just Wu, Shu, and Wei you have many more additional forces. Of course, its your own choosing how weak or powerful of a force you choose or you could just create your own force. So the story is basically based on the question if you have what it takes to conquer a place as big as China given various scenarios. Romance of the Three Kingdoms allows you to play as any of 650 officers during this time period. Also if you are having a hard time deciding you can take a personality test and find the officer most like you and you can create your own officer 100 or so odd officers. This may make the game seem to have 750 scenarios but that is not true at all. Obviously, that many would not be possible so there are actually nine scenarios, which you can play in as long as your officer is not too old. So in the end, the game is about you rampaging China and struggling to take it over.

Graphics/Sound- To be honest the game’s graphics are awful and that’s being considerate. The game’s graphic engine looks like something from the prehistoric SNES age or maybe the PSX but hardly could anyone imagine graphics like this on the PS2 gaming console. Graphics in the game consist of cut scenes and animated events. However, they all come in this 2-D world that seems completely out of place compared to the effort put into the game itself. If you can’t handle 2-D graphics back from a long time ago you should not buy the game. Sure, there are a wide variety of beautiful pastel colors and illustrations but these graphics belong on an older gaming system the PS2. On the other hand, the sound is another high point of the game. If the graphics matched up with the sound this game would have the capabilities of being a best seller but in reality the sound is well done. The music takes full advantage of the stereo sound (unfortunately not surround). If sound is this beautifully orchestrated with stereo sound it makes surround sound something to be coveted. Still, unlike the Dynasty Warriors franchise the music actually matches ancient China instead of the constant head-banging music in Dynasty. Mono sound is not worth listening too for obvious reasons. The music is almost always in the right mood whether the situation is chaotic or happy.

Playtime/Replayabitlity- Playtime and replayability both depend on how you approach and play the game. Naturally, being the highest class creates more responsibilities usually meaning it will take longer to beat the game. Furthermore, if you want to develop all of your cities to the max the game can take longer. Also if you want to collect items and portraits in the game it would take even longer to finish the game. So naturally, playtime will be different from person to person and that is the truth. On the other hand, replayability is definitely more than once as your officer can be executed or die during the game so collecting all the officer portraits in one go is extremely annoying and tiring. So it is much wiser to have multiple saves from each force to quickly gather officer portraits to use on any new officers you desire to look like.

Final Recommendation- If this is your very first Romance game do not buy it, as you need to play the game to understand what it is truly like. Even if you have played the Romance series before there are enough changes in this tenth installments for you to not like it so definitely rent it before buying it. This installment changes on some areas and adds to other section such as debates and campaigns so it is wise to rent it first. The game is worth searching for if you are into hardcore strategy and micro management and for those somewhat interested in the genre. There are many different events that can occur and you would have to play a lot to experience each and every one of them. If someone was unusual enough and gave it to you as a gift go rent one and play that before opening the game. Even with the seeming less amount of choices given the game suffers from repetition and this causes the rating to go down along with the terrible 2-D graphics in a 2-D world. This is balanced out by absorbing gameplay, story, sound, and replayability making this game above average. So rent it first because right now the game costs half of one hundred dollars.

Romance of the Three Kingdoms 10 gets a 7/10 rating.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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