Pictures will be from both versions.
Romance of the Three Kingdoms XI is the most recent member of the ROTK family to be released in the United States. It is the eleventh installment in this series, and is a return to the pure turn based strategy element the series was founded on after the tenth games foray into RPG territory. Two versions of this game were released, one for the PS2 and another for the PC, each version has subtle differences but nothings major; the biggest difference is the menu layout and the ability to request reinforcements from your allies. Of the series of ROTK games this one offers the most in historical events as you can see a plethora of the more important events from the book series in this game so long as you meet certain requirements such as having certain characters in a certain city or being Cao Cao and conquering all of Huabei (hint hint).
For those who are only hearing of this game for the first time let me explain a bit about what its based off of and its particular timeline. Romance of the Three Kingdoms is a novel which chronicles what transpires during the later days of the Han dynasty up to its eventual collapse and China’s reunification under the Jin Dynasty. The novel itself was written by Luo Guanzhong who was a traveling scholar collecting various regional stories and historical records to write this novel. Upon completion of the book (which at the time was just a pile of manuscripts) Luo Guanzhong disappeared. The novel became insanely popular over the course of a short time and to this day its widely read in Asian countries and has spawned numerous games, movies, television shows, stage dramas, and even animes.
Now for a brief overview of what you can build on these plots and their effects on your city:
- Market: increases revenue (amount varies based on location)
- Farm: Increases Harvest (amount varies based on location)
- Barracks: Recruits Soldiers
- Smith: Creates Weapons
- Ranch: Rustles up some horses
- Workshop: Builds siege weapons
- Shipyard: Builds Warships
- Granary: Increases productivity of all Farms in a 1 square radius by 1.5
- Mint:Increases productivity of all Markets in a 1 square radius by 1.5
A good example of forcing your opponents to take a route where they will be either hindered or shot at.
Now lets look at these military facilities:
- Archer Turret: Fires at opponents up to three spaces away every turn
- Wall: A wall, it blocks paths.
- Camp: Defense multiplied by 2 and units use less food when they are around it.
- Embers: Sets all squares with 1 space of it on fire.
- Fireball: Rolls a six square line of fire.
- Drum Platform: Increases attack power of all units within 2 squares by 2x
- Band platform: Increases will (varies)
Building things isn’t the only part of this game with a lot of depth, the battle system also has a great deal of depth to it; however before we get to that we need to explain how characters work. All characters in this game have stats, these stats determine how good a character is at a certain action, they also dictate how well they will function when performing said action. Each characters stats are broken down into; Leadership, War, Intelligence, Politics, and Charisma. Proficiency in certain stats will usually determine what the character will be doing, a high War character will fight a lot, a high politics character will perform diplomacy, and a high charisma character will recruit lots of soldiers. Along with these stats are Aptitudes which dictate how well that officer is with certain types of armaments ranging from spears to ships. The level of Aptitude is shown through a scale of S through C with S being the highest and C being the lowest. Finally a majority of characters have “Skills” there are to many of them to talk about but they provide beneficial effects to whatever area it is they specialize in.
Now for some pictorial examples: (Click to make larger)
As you can see stats are different for different characters and this directly correlates to their overall ability.
Now for the battle system, seeing as battles all take place on the large map it allows for a great deal of strategic freedom. You can set up ambushes, build traps, and easily manage both your fights and your domestics with ease. There are quite a few different types of units there are regular units which use weapons, siege units, transport units, and naval units. Each type has its own subcategories, but the most important is the regular units which will make up your core fighting force. They come in four flavors, Spears, Pikes, Bows, and Horses and form a weapon triangle of sorts which goes like this;
- And Bows are weak to everything but have a range of two spaces and sometimes three if the character has a certain skill.
Hint: Only a fool sends a low intelligent unit by itself.
Aside from regular attacks you have at your disposal a number of tactics unique to the type of unit which you are attacking with, these tactics range in cost and power. Tactics cost willpower which is something you build up at your city by training your troops or by hanging around band towers. These tactics can turn the tide of a battle when used correctly as some of them have effects such as setting a unit on fire or confusing them. Another nifty thing is the ability to have any unit challenge an opposing unit to a duel, though the opponent reserves the right to deny it they can sometimes be forced which brings us to the duel system. . .
There is also a diplomacy system in place which determines your relations with other warlords and your ability to get ceasefires, coalitions, and alliances. You perform diplomacy from your city and it is an absolute requirement that you use someone with high Intelligence and Politics in these actions, otherwise they will almost always fail. Generally you will just select an option and then send an envoy and some money and that will be all, though sometimes when your case doesn’t seem all that compelling the warlords strategist will request a debate with your envoy. . .
Now that we’ve talked about all these fun things like debates and battles I think its about time we talked about the Character Creation System in this game. Now the CCS of this game isn’t all that different from its predecessors aside from allows you the option to choose what skills you want. So here’s a run down of it in mostly picture form. . . (click to enlarge)
You can set the basic things such as name, age, and gender along with who the person is married to and who the like and hate.
You can also set their stats, aptitudes, and special skill.
You can also adjust most every facet of their personality which will determine how they view things and interact with other people.
The CCS system allows for a decent amount of customization while remaining incredibly simplistic in form.
This game also sports an incredibly hand (and quite hilarious) tutorial mode which teaches you how to play the game by setting you up in scenarios and asking you to complete objectives. As extra incentive you unlock bonus officers for completing it. The tutorial mode teaches you the basics of building your economy, how to duel, and even how to debate properly. This mode is by far the most important as even fans of the series will need a bit of help with the major facelift this game has given the series.