Total War: Three Kingdoms

Less than a month to release. Not a good sign.

From what I’ve been reading the natives are indeed restless. Lots of talk about an AI that’s brain dead is what I’ve been seeing.

My own concern is CA isn’t up to the task of properly integrating Paradox elements into their TW formula effectively. Least I’ve never seen them do it properly yet. So when all the vids they’ve released appeared to be doubling down on that element I thought to myself, I wonder how that’s going to turn out.

I wonder how much they’ll lean into the Koei games for inspiration - and the expectation of fans. Koei at this point is Three Kingdoms and has been so for 25+ years, and to a large extent how people “perceive” the characters of Three Kingdoms is seen through that success/fail ability lens Koei has fashioned out of them.

For example, all three major characters in the Three Kingdoms story - Cao Cao, Liu Bei and Sun Jian all start (apparently) as roaming armies. (Or at least the last two i’m sure, I think Cao Cao does as well though). Those sort of starts, in Total War games, lead to map anarchy. Will players be disappointed if Cao Cao never forms Wu or Liu Bei never forms Shu if they’re playing as Sun Jian / Sun Quan? Will one of the random map corner factions end up being the strongest? In Koei games population directly relates to income, but in Total War corner empires have a distinct stability advantage and every faction is given a big stack of starting money for free so that they can field at least one full stack; which leads to all sorts of randomized nonsense of how the AI that is the last to attack ends up the strongest.

I’m guessing this will be the case, because they seem to be leaning into the “initial” phase of the Romance story in their narratives, defeating Dong Zhuo.

Having Zhuge Liang (or Sima Yi, most of the time) was like having a Leeroy Jenkins card in your deck to play every turn. How will that translate in a Total War game? The difference between a 3 star general and a 10 star general is a pittance compared to the huge bonuses Koei games give their characters. Will the named characters just get blurred out as yet another slightly better than average hero character, like in Warhammer? And how will the fans respond?

In other words, I feel like when they start having to balance the “Romance” game, they’re going to have to balance it to the expectations gamers will have having played Koei games for decades of ‘how things should be’.

All I know is I used Liu Bei’s high charm score and save-scummed until I got all the 90s stat generals in RTK2.

I remember 2, 3 was to improve economy in bandit kings…

Well, if delaying a couple months avoids another Rome2-style release debacle, I’m happy to wait. This is based solely on anecdotal evidence, but I think Atilla’s sales suffered pretty dramatically from the sour taste Rome2 left for many of us at release. That’s a hot mess I could do without.

Yeah the delay actually makes me more confident in the game.

Creative Assembly announces Three Kingdoms Mobile Mode.

Yeah they should stick out of trying to be funny.

I miss old school website design like that. Ahhh the repeating background image.

I know, that webpage design was really fun! Webring, page visit counter, and Netscape.

Lynx-optimized mode…

We live in a lesser world now that page counters are gone.

Ooh, this has Mandarin voice acting. My interest level has gone up a notch.

Embargo’s just dropped for this btw, so expect to see reviews popping up. I’ve seen Eurogamer’s go live, as has PCGamesN and ours (Strategy Gamer). More to follow I imagine.

I love the Three Kingdoms period, but Total War games have just… never done it for me. They’ve gotten oh so close, but I think I just need more on the strategy layer (the battles are awesome but I find them really tedious after a while). Because it’s Three Kingdoms I’ll probably get suckered into buying it so I can be disappointed by a Total War game for the nth time, but hopefully reviews aren’t too great so I end up doing that when it’s on sale or something. :)

I did not realize this was releasing so soon! I have barely scratched the surface of the Warhammers. Yikes.

Here’s some:

eurogamer: 4/5 too many things, bad UI
pcgamer: nice UI, nice diplomacy. This person has played total wars.
strategygamer: Most detailed look at changes - only one that mentions research is changed.

Looks pretty good. I’ll miss the self-insertion-create-a-general element from the koei games, but engaging tactical battles would be a new thing for the RTK setting.