Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIII is the 13th instalment in the series developed by Koei. The game was released in Japan in January 2016 with a July release set for the English version. It is available on PC and PlayStation 4 outside Japan. Initially, there were no plans to release outside of Japan like earlier editions. The English version is being released as part of the series’ 30th Anniversary celebration. Romance of the Three Kingdoms is a tactical, turn-based action role-playing war game.
The game is set during the Han Dynasty in China. The goal of the game is to unify China. This can be done through a few different paths. Political, Military might or as a benevolent leader. Raise an army to take down your enemies, dredge your way through China’s political battles and try and restore peace and order to the country. Forge bonds with allies and enemies alike, the choices made by the character affecting the relationships they have.
Graphically the game is quite pretty. With very little animation to take away from the story-heavy game. With numerous side quests to complete, there are ample tasks to keep the player busy for hours on end. The music suits the game perfectly, adding to the mood of the situations beautifully.
The battle system is somewhat unique, in that the player debates with their enemies instead of using weapons. With moves such as Assert, Insist, Retort and Provoke the player uses their wit to disable their enemies. Each move has a specific effect and can win the fight if used wisely.
Travelling is pretty simple in the game, going to the world map the player can select a town or city and move their character there. How far away the place is will determine how long travel can take, though the average is at least 3-4 days in game time. Different cities have different characters you can ally with and win over to your cause.
Help rebuild cities and make them prosper by making decrees, ordering supplies, and researching different technologies and so forth. This aspect can take up quite a bit of time without the player realising it, the better the character’s reputation the more responsibility is put on their shoulders. Overall the game is brilliant, challenging and requires dedication in terms of time. It doesn’t have flash action scenes, but it doesn’t need them.
Romance of the Three Kingdoms isn’t for every gamer. It isn’t even for every Role Playing Game (RPG) player. It is highly strategic, very story-driven and the action isn’t the same as most typical RPG’s have. But that is what makes the Romance of the Three Kingdoms series so fantastic, and they have continued on wonderfully with number 13. These games are for those players who adore rich story above action. With countless hours of gameplay, this is a fantastic game with a uniqueness that has made the series very popular over the years.