Romance of the Three Kingdoms XI

Koei has quietly released another entry in this long-running series in English, and it’s received the same sort of reception each game usually does: fan excitement, concessionary reviews in the sixes or sevens, and widespread indifference. It’s kind of a shame that the series that represents what’s perhaps the only gig in town for Civilization-style strategy on consoles is so consistently ignored by most gamers. But given this site’s previous coverage of Koei’s forays into Chinese history, Romance of the Three Kingdoms XI is certainly not going to be the first to be ignored ’round here.

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Colosseum: Road to Freedom

now that's a bonus!It’s interesting to imagine what might have come of this game if it Koei – the game’s publisher outside of Japan – had actually secured the license to a certain Ridley Scott movie. Colosseum: Road to Freedom was actually released as Gladiator: Road to Freedom in Japan, but with the precedent of the movie and an Acclaim title of the same name, things had to be shuffled a bit. As things played out, Colosseum received next to no attention in the US, likely not in the least due to little advertising by Koei and a miniscule print run. Reviews mostly showed disinterest or bewilderment, while one or two did admit the potential for niche appeal. So, was this game unjustly ignored? If so, what’s compelling about it?

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Romance of the Three Kingdoms X

I've got a business opportunity for you, Xu Shu...So, I’ve picked up RTK10 again lately and have continued my game as Yu Jin, except I’m serving under the Southland’s ruler Sun Jian instead of the crafty Cao Cao (who Yu Jin served historically). The AI in this game really is too dumb. I’m the only reason Sun Jian has gained any territory at all, since I’ve been serving as prefect and later viceroy for most of my game. I’ve conquered quite a bit of territory, marching steadily up north from the Southland through the middle of the central heartlands, right up until I’ve bumped into the Yuans and have started to encircle the Caos, while Sun Jian’s mostly traded a few petty cities back and forth with unambitious Southland lords. Continue reading

Topping off RTK8

Last night I took control of the last few western cities holding out on me and united China, completing that particular run at RTK8. The border cities of both remaining forces were difficult to take because they were easily defended and difficult to attack, with the way they could easily receive reinforcements but each had only one route of attack from my cities, killing any possibility of my forces being reinforced. Both remaining rulers chose to use Barrage tactics against my invading forces, which involved switching most of their troops to use ranged attacks while keeping a few tough cavalry units to keep my infantry and cavalry occupied while the arrows punched them full of holes. Continue reading

Koei and more Koei: RTK8 and DW4 Empires

I’m still engrossed in RTK8. Most recently I’ve been inching my way up the east coast of China, up into Yuan Tan’s territory, and back down into Ma Teng’s territory. I’ve taken two or three cities of Ma Teng’s, and I’m about to take his recently-relocated capital.

I think I’ve executed too many officers who wouldn’t join me, because lately free officers and officers of other forces have begun turning me away at their doors, saying that they won’t meet with someone as nefarious as me. The game has a low tolerance for executions, it seems, and they inflate the hidden Infamy stat more than any other action you can take. I’ll probably end up getting a “tyrant” ending, but it’ll be fitting for a ruler that started out as a bandit pillaging villages. Continue reading