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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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

Deep into RTK8

throneroomRomance of the Three Kingdoms VIII has me in its iron grip, still sucking away hours at a time whenever I sit down to it. Nothing for years save Morrowind or other PC RPGs has been so addictive to me. I’ve finally figured out that this is the kind of console strategy game that I’m cut out for, not the typical tactical strategy RPG (though I remain quite fond of Advance Wars). The roleplaying elements provide just the right amount of freedom for me to really be able to express my imagination and find my own narrative, and the depth and detail of the setting provides for a very rich playground and some really neat divergent-history situations. Continue reading