Total War is a saga that has been synonymous with games for many years now quality strategy. Thanks to this saga we have been able to experience different historical periods and different situations, but the quality level of the productions has always been very high.
This time we are in China, during the age of Three Kingdoms, immersed in a country devastated by conflicts and wars. The warlords are ready to do battle and will not be stopped by anything to gain power and control over Chinese lands.
Total War: Three Kingdoms therefore, it presents itself in a positive way right away thanks to its setting, but will we have been completely satisfied with the game? Find out in our review.
Let the war campaign begin
At the start of our first Three Kingdoms campaign we will be asked to choose one of the 12 warlords available.
Each character has different characteristics, including the character, ambitions, strengths and weaknesses. These features will affect the style of play, but we will talk more about them later.
The chosen character will therefore be the leader of our faction and together with him our task will be to lead the latter to the conquest of China.
The game takes place on an interactive map of the country on which we can move freely with the mouse. On the map there are various characters (representing armies), settlements, cities and more. The first impact with the game could be very strong for those who are new to the genre, given the immense amount of icons present in the HUD.
The campaigns are mainly made up of two game modes: land battles between armies and the management phase. The game takes place in turns and during our turn it is possible to carry out both the actions for the management of the faction and to attack (the two activities are not mutually exclusive).
By attacking an enemy settlement or an army, the battle will eventually start (it is possible to delegate the battle to the artificial intelligence, which will automatically decide the fate and results). During the battles the attack and defense options can be very varied.
Mastering the right strategies will be key to not only achieving a victory, but also minimizing army losses.
During the fights, the player is then given maximum freedom of approach. Thanks to the various commands that can be imparted it is in fact possible to create real personal strategies.
To give some examples, it is possible to create trajectories for the troops to follow, decide the formation, modify the positioning of the soldiers on the field and much more.
The first battles could in fact be a bit complicated for those not used to the genre, since not many suggestions are given on what strategies to adopt. But after a few hours of play and a dozen battles, everything will happen in a much more natural and intuitive way.
If you are attacking an enemy settlement you can also adopt the approach of the siege, thanks to which in a given number of turns (depending on the opponent's stocks) the enemy army will be reduced to starvation, forcing it to surrender, all of which therefore translates into a victory without loss of men.
Obviously doing this means spending several shifts with the army stationary in the same position and here the more managerial soul of the title comes into play. In fact it will be up to the player to understand which ones, how many and where to make the right moves, in order to balance compromises and gains.
So much management and so much strategy
Returning to the need to manage the moves to be made, let's go into detail to understand how layered and complex the system set up by Three Kingdoms is. Starting with the army and our first city of departure.
Like any self-respecting army, soldiers must be salaried, they need food and supplies to feed them and consequently money is needed.
The management of the economy it is in fact a main pillar on which the success of our war campaign is based. The cities of our faction will ensure us earnings based on the type of buildings built and the amount of population.
In fact conquer cities and manage them efficiently it will be essential to be able to secure enough income. Thanks to the money earned in this way it will then be possible to recruit other troops in our army, in order to make it even more powerful.
Larger cities also need to be managed by administrators, who will be chosen by us. Depending on the administrator chosen there may be disadvantages and / or advantages, for example the income derived from the peasant class could be better but could increase the general discontent of the population.
The various settlements conquered are also necessary to obtain resources with which to feed our army, and they will also be useful to repopulate the ranks.
Conquering cities, making them grow and strengthening the ranks of the army unfortunately (or fortunately) is not enough to be an efficient leader. In Three Kingdoms it is in fact essential to know the area around us, understand who can be an ally, what our enemies are and understand who it is possible to do business with.
In fact, the so-called "Diplomacy" mode thanks to which we will be able to make agreements of different types with the other factions. By making agreements and respecting them, the diplomatic power of our warlord will grow, allowing us to make many more pacts, thanks to our credibility.
On the contrary, not respecting the agreements will seriously jeopardize our credibility and reliability and we will hardly be trusted by other warlords.
Thanks to diplomacy it is therefore possible to make peace agreements with other factions, declare war, request taxes and payments, make temporary non-belligerent agreements, ally, propose marriages between characters and more. In short, we are talking about a mechanic that is not at all trivial which will be more than important to achieve our goals.
Also during the campaign, the relationships between the characters of our faction they could change for the better or for the worse. As anticipated, each character has his own character and his choices will many times be consistent with the latter.
A very ambitious character who is part of our court could betray us if he is not satisfied with his position, just as a very loyal character could become a great friend of our warlord. The behavior of the enemy factions will also be affected by these aspects and having everything under control will be of fundamental importance.
To be honest, we have deliberately omitted the explanation of other small management mechanics in the game to avoid being too verbose. This does not mean that they are not interesting but rather, a system as layered and complex as that of Three Kingdoms must be played in first person to be fully understood.
In short, you will have understood how scary but at the same time of great impact the Three Kingdoms game system can seem. The title is able to give a lot of satisfaction to the most demanding users, but foresight, strategic skills and the ability to have a peripheral vision of everything that happens on the battlefield are essential to obtain good results.
The technical side of the war
Total War: Three Kingdoms looks good even from a technical point of view, too without particularly shining. In fact, from a graphic point of view, the development team has done a good job, which however remains average and does not particularly stand out from any point of view. Optimization is definitely a note in favor: even with many elements on the screen during the clashes no framerate drops were found.
In games of this type it is easy to get drops even on high-end PCs, given the huge amount of polygons and elements to be loaded at the same time, but Three Kingdoms instead performs very well from this point of view.
Also excellent sound compartment, the effects of the clashes are well crafted and believable, making the game even more immersive.
We also particularly enjoyed it graphic style of movies, which were created through very suggestive and evocative designs.
Total War: Three Kingodoms is a title extremely complex and layered, capable of giving emotions and satisfaction to all those users who are looking for an experience of this type. New players are certainly not enticed or helped and there is a risk that they may lose interest after a short time.
Unfortunately, even the tutorials are present and are not clear enough or suitable for those who have never played a title in the Total War saga.
Although not excelling from a graphic point of view, the title remains of excellent quality in all other areas, thanks to a truly unique gameplay completeness. Recommended for all strategy and management enthusiasts who want to test themselves.