Hello peeps, it’s me again! This may come as a surprise but, I am here to talk again about videogames. And no, I haven’t swapsies with Alex! It just happens that earlier on this year, 2 big loves of mine had a love child and made me a very happy woman with the release of Total War: 3 Kingdoms. Those of you who follow us know that I am a big Wu Xia fan, and obviously the Romance of the 3 Kingdoms has a huge impact in the Wu Xia genre – that and I am a historian by trade and Chinese culture fascinates me…enough said! As it happens, the Total War series has been one of my all-time favourites, since I was introduced to it perhaps quite late in the game (7 years ago?). My first Total War was Medieval 2, which I loved and played through many times. I have particularly fond memories of my campaign as Scotland conquering the world and countless hours of hotseat campaigns with my uni friends at the games’ society. Then I went back to Rome: Total War – about the only thing my tiny laptop could run without crashing much back in the day, and a few others, up to the release of the two editions of the Warhammer games. However, and perhaps to the shock of many people, I did not enjoy the newer Total War games because of the way the diplomacy had been changed, and a few other dynamics.
You see, I loved sending my princesses and diplomats across the map and setting up merchant shenanigans and cardinals to spread religion and what not. It was an aspect of the game I did really enjoy. I also liked the dynastic element of it, which although not as in-depth as the likes of Crusader Kings, it still added to the equation. Granted, there is no point of comparison with the way the armies work, and the 2 editions of Warhammer really made me wow at how the minis I was used to see on the table top, suddenly came to life on the screen. But, in general, i didn’t enjoy much the actual run of these two games other than the military aspect, and to me that was a let-down. The Warhammer universe has so much lore and it feels by splitting it into 2 games – and the third one to come – I was cheated. So, I was a bit so-so about the new release of any Total War games. I wasn’t too keen on Rome 2 because of the diplomacy aspect either so, when I knew 3 kingdoms was coming out, I got concerned. Would they destroy something I loved so much?
Well, as things go, I got to try 3 Kingdoms recently and, guess what, the feel is back! I absolutely adore the game, and I think the developers have been so on point with this one. I love the graphics, of course. But in general, I love how this game takes me back to my origins with the franchise. I feel that personal aspect is back. I like that they have manager to merge the diplomacy section from previous games into one, and I really like the interface, which seems a bit neater than in the Warhammer ones (personal opinion though). I really thought ti was a nice tough the fact that you can play the game either on the romance or records setting, so you can either embrace the crazy Chinese wu xia element or keep faithful to the history of the period. The characterisation is really good, and the family trees and connections really make things more in depth – kinda like in Crusader Kings but without going to those lengths, I guess. I like the city management – I think it is a bit more user friendly than the last few titles, and the different types of settlements make it more diverse in terms of resources and faction control and growth. I am not sure if I am entirely sure on the policies tree though, that is perhaps my one criticism? But I am not unhappy with it, if that makes sense. It adds an aspect to the game that reminds me of Civilisation and, that works for me, although I am not sure if I would have preferred it been implemented more along the lines as in the Warhammer titles for example – it seemed a bit more straightforward, not that this is difficult but I am still unsure if it has as much impact in the game play as perhaps intended. On a final note, I am pretty happy with how the espionage option is working too, even though I have had to kill more spies on my rans than I have succeeded on gaining valuable info from my adversaries. i think it reflects the spirit of the game pretty well and kinda wished this had been a feature of the series from the beginning.
In case you are wondering how things are going for me and what am I playing, if you have followed us for a while, you’d know there’s no way I am a Cao Cao person – Red Cliff is one of my favourite Chinese films, screw that noise! So perhaps not surprising, I am playing with Liu Bei, because I believe China can be ruled firmly but with kindness and honour…Granted, my current untrustworthiness is of -6, having reached a rock bottom of -16…But I didn’t mean to invade some minor faction that was in the way of my expansion, with the farms I needed, a few turns after I had signed a military access agreement with them…I may have overseen that side of things! And Cao Cao was on my doorstep so….*ahem* Anyway, turn 150 I think it is and I am one of the strongest contestants alongside my coalition buddy, the current duchy of Song, Lady Wu is pretty happy with me (just for the sake of historical accuracy i decided perhaps I should stop being a dick towards her and actually be friends) and I am dreading the day when Liu Bu succeeds in ruling, because that day i will have to call it quits, stop decimating Cao Cao and actually fight for the glory of a somewhat unified China.
Without going into further details and even potential spoilers, all i have left to say is that I really think this game is really enjoyable and it provides with all the good things a decent strategy game of any kind should have. It feels very balanced, the difficulty is fair and easy to moderate and gage, and I find it really engaging and truthful to the period. So, if you have been playing 3 Kingdoms, tell us what you think, and maybe between us all we can convince Alex to get to play it as he actually hasn’t as of yet! 😉
See you in the next one for more geekery! Peace out!