Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIV: Diplomacy and Strategy Expansion Pack Bundle (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Eric Ace 03.11.2021

Review for Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIV: Diplomacy and Strategy Expansion Pack Bundle on Nintendo Switch

For a series that originated on the NES over 30 years ago, Romance of the Three Kingdoms has come a long way. The series is primarily a historical strategy simulation about a time in China's past where warring kingdoms sought to unify the entire country. Developed and published by Koei Temco, it revolves around manipulating various stats that represent cities, territory, and officers in an attempt to take over all the surrounding area.

Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIV has a lot of value in its historical simulation. With over 100 different people who talk and are related to one another, there is a stunning amount of research and time put into replicating this piece of Chinese history for a video game. As a gamer, does it stack up for a strategy player who just wants to… play? History aficionados will likely love all the people, names, and places. As a strategy player looking just at the gameplay, though, this comes off wanting. It falls into the strange spot of strategy titles that try to capture really complicated things, to simplify them, with the result being an odd mess of everything. Some aspects are easy enough to explain, but there is just so much that gets in the way of the rather simple mission of "kill everyone else."

It plays most similar to large, "Grand Strategy" games, namely those that take hours to muster troops, gather resources, and having long battles for tiny sections of the map. Players who have this interest may find this entertaining, but for wider strategy players, there is too much going on to really have some fun. The primary strategy section revolves around building up cities, grabbing territory, fielding commanders, and then taking over everyone else. At the root it doesn't seem too bad, as there are only a few simple stats such as gold, troops, and supplies… but these are factored in by tons of things such as smaller cities funneling into the main ones, how many hexes are captured, and your leaders with a plethora of stats as well. Factor in other things like terrain, formations, morale, experience, and traits and it becomes overwhelming.

Screenshot for Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIV: Diplomacy and Strategy Expansion Pack Bundle on Nintendo Switch

The major issue stems from the way territory gets captured. Your units have to physically run over each hex of a large section thereby laying claim to it. Certain groups have a range wider than one hex, but largely turns are going to be revolving around units auto-zigzagging around to pathfind the last couple of hexes. It brings up game design questions of why have something like this, if a large section of the game is simply watching units 'paint' the terrain the empire color. Strategy titles in general have evolved ways to minimize or tone down the complexity of what is happening, but this just didn't go in that direction.

Stripped away of its history, this on itself is an odd mix of complexity, without much really happening. At the root, essentially all that needs to happen is going to grab some cities, build an army, and go kill the enemy, but far too often the turns are lost in various menus of only subtlety affecting what is happening. To contrast this, ultimately the formula is slightly similar to the core gameplay of the absolutely acclaimed Advance Wars series of territory control, income, and killing. The simplicity is what made Advance Wars such a hit, whereas this has far too much in the way of what its core really is about. This it is not something that particularly stands out as unique, engaging or a streamlined experience for strategy fans.

Screenshot for Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIV: Diplomacy and Strategy Expansion Pack Bundle on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

4/10
Rated 4 out of 10

Subpar

Those in love with the history of the era will love the detail within Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIV: Diplomacy and Strategy Expansion Pack Bundle, but to those that the history is meaningless the absolute volume of names and relationships is a waste of time. Furthermore, while this has some interesting concepts, it is just too bogged down with minutia and lost in its own stats. The series could really need an overhaul on how to make things more streamlined.

Developer

Koei

Publisher

Koei Tecmo

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

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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