Romance of the three FTW
Romance of the Three Kingdoms VIII is a strategy game produced by Koei and is the 8th installment in a series of 11 games based off the book of the same name. ROTK 8 is a turn based strategy game where you play as a Ruler, Vassal, Brigand, or a wanderer. The game is fairly open as it allows you to switch roles as you please, one day you could rule an entire province and the next day up and leave for the life of a wanderer. As a wanderer you can form “Bands” which allow you to raise your own little army with a group of people you have befriended in game or out of game if you have other people playing with you. Another thing of note is that the game is multiplayer, as prior to each scenario you are given the option of picking up to 8 characters to play be they your own custom created characters or historical ones. The character creation system allows for a great deal of detail into your characters personality and stats.
The game is a brilliant foray into the Role Playing Genre and gives the game a feeling of depth as you can do more than fight in battles, you can live them (more or less). This game allows you the choice of starting in any year in a particular scenario which is an wonderful turn as you can choose when you want to jump into the action instead of having to start out in 180, 200, or 214. Throughout your playing you will encounter “event stills” which are little story events or events praising you for achieving something or giving an indicator of what the people think of you. These events vary from the Peach garden oath, to the people giving you an offering of gold for being a cool dude. There are a lot of events in the game and some you can only get by being really evil and others you can only get by playing as a certain character, this allows for a good deal of replay ability. Gotta’ See em’ all!
In this game your personality counts for a lot as it generally determine whether or not another character will associate with you. This “like” and “dislike” system is based around your characters personality compatibility with others. A good example is Ma Chao dislikes Cao Cao, but likes Liu Bei, so if your character has a personality similar to Cao Cao Ma Chao will most likely not like you and will ignore you given the chance, however even if a character doesn’t like your personality you can still attempt to bribe them with gifts and invitations to banquets.
The dueling system has been tweaked since ROTK 7 as has the battle system. The dueling system is now broken down into choosing between attacking, defending, countering, and using ploys to agitate your opponent. The battle system has been changed from its former chess format to more of an open format, with larger battlefields and more traps. Each unit instead of being a single piece is an actual unit of soldiers that resemble whatever they have equipped.
This game is a great addition to the ROTK franchise and is only paled by its updated version ROTK X.
Reviewed by: Michael Wierzbicki from Savannah on 4/20/2011