Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIII (PlayStation 4) Review

By Luna Eriksson 11.09.2016

Review for Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIII on PlayStation 4

The many battles fought in ancient China makes a great setting for strategy games, which is clearly seen in Japan where these games pop up like mushrooms mid-autumn. Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIII is the latest instalment in one of the longest running franchises of its kind, and it offers many possibilities to anyone showing off their strategic mind when they try to unite China under one ruler. Will this entry be worth getting for fans of the genre, though?

The latest in line of video games inspired on the novel with the same name, and the historical records of the era it delves on, and, like previous instalments, there is heavy focus on managing the kingdom's economics, relationships, and of course, pure warfare. The goal is to unite China under one ruler during the Han dynasty, when three kingdoms where fighting for full supremacy over the land. The thing that makes the Romance of the Three Kingdoms series stand out in the genre is, beside its focus on an actual historic event, the fact that there is very much micro managing apart from the pure warfare, which is only one very small fraction of the gameplay.

Screenshot for Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIII on PlayStation 4

Most of this game is focused around building a blossoming kingdom and developing bounds with powerful allies to gain their support in your goal to conquer China. Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIII is more about the journey than the goal, though, and the road here is a beautifully composed, yet complex one.

As a new player it is very easy to feel lost when starting Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIII. There are many options and menus, and each of them works differently and provides different advantages. Shall one focus on developing the city, forge some relationships, or recruit some allies? Or, maybe, the army should be trained instead? There is always much to be done, but sometimes the time limit feels quite constricting, especially as the opponents are also constantly on the move improving their realms.

Screenshot for Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIII on PlayStation 4

Thankfully there's the hero mode; the tutorial of the main game. Here the player follows the actual historical events of the era, and helps the heroes of the time fulfil their legendary deeds. This mode has a lot of story to it, making it feel like a hybrid between a strategy and an RPG. Undoubtedly, the gameplay belongs to the former, and is made to explain the many deep mechanics to be found in Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIII.

Much focus here is put on developing the kingdom quickly to hit the sometimes harsh historical deadlines for the deeds the character was famous for, which can range between everything from preparing a party to create a love triangle, and even fighting to unite entire provinces. The main mode is the bread and butter this title, though. Here the player takes control of a historical or a custom made character to take over the lands with. It's a very open mode in contrast to the hero mode, since it allows for much freedom and possibilities along the way. There is the possibility to let the sword fight, or to form strong alliances by persuading the rulers into cooperation through debates.

Screenshot for Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIII on PlayStation 4

There is only so much fun one can have messing around with history against the AI, though, no matter how much micromanaging and how many ways to do so exist, yet, sadly, Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIII lacks multiplayer. This feels a tad strange, as many is components would make for a great multiplayer experience. Both the board game-like structure of the field and the actual battlefield feel like natural matches for a fun online experience.

Despite all this, Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIII offers much longevity thanks to the fact that no two play-throughs will ever be the same, especially if turning off the historical settings that forces the opponents to act like history forces them to. The micromanaging of both economics and relationships make for fun and deep gameplay that will keep fans of strategic games entertained for quite a while.

Screenshot for Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIII on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIII is a great and deeply strategic game, where the sword is not the only tool towards victory. Great importance is put on things such as economy and relationships in a way that might feel overwhelming at first, but that is slowly eased into thanks to the hero mode that basically serves as a tutorial. The lack of multiplayer is a downside, but the AI is enough to raise the replay value of the main mode.

Developer

Koei Tecmo

Publisher

Koei Tecmo

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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