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:: RPG Source :: View Review :: Romance of the Three Kingdoms IX

Romance of the Three Kingdoms IX
Game: Romance of the Three Kingdoms IX
Platform: Playstation 2, PC (japanese version only)
Players: 1-8 (only one controller required)
Genre: Turn Based Strategy w/ Real Time Strategy and RPG elements.
Price: 50$ish
Publisher: KOEI

Well, it was released this month. And it's a great game, much like ROTK8, but very different as well. KOEI is IMO one of the best game developers out of Japan, and also IMO make the most fun turn based strategy games in the world. The Romance games are so detailed and full of options that veterans of the series want by the truckloads, yet are easy enough to newcomers to the game to adopt to the gameplay style in a short amount of time.

I know most of you politely ignored ROTK8, and I feel that is your mistake, it was at the time the best Turn Based Strategy/Roleplaying game of all time. I was fuckin' addicted to that game for the week I rented it, I could not be seperated from it. It was so damn fun, I had to rent it a 2nd time just to bask in it's glory enough that I was satisfied. And Im still not satisfied, I only beat it once, and there is so much more to explore, so I plan on owning that game one day. To loosely rate ROTK8, imagine a game, where you could play as the leader of a nation, the viceroy of a territory in Japan, a famous Battlefield General, or all kinds of other roles, roles that all will lead you to different paths, and allows for you to advance or demote yourself as you want, and at the same time, playing a role in the unification of historical 2nd and 3rd century Ancient China, during the famous legend of the Three Kingdoms, widely documented and written about for tons of centuries.

[B]About the Game[/B]

Well, if you did play ROTK8, this game is a very different beast altogether. For one, the roleplaying options have become very limited. Like the classic titles in the series, you play as a ruler of a nation in China, vieing to unite the nation and become the undisputed Emperor of all the lands. Unlike the classic games though, or well, 7 and 8 even, the gameflow is a brand new style. Each turn in the game is about 1/3rd of a month. And during each turn, there are 2 phases, the strategy and action phase.

Gameplay

In the strategy phase, you and your generals will plot out the commands that will be necessary for your country. Domestic policies such as improving economy, agriculture, trust in your people, and training your army are very straightforward, and the system is easy to learn, and unlike ROTK8, you can develop your nations at a much easier and quicker flow than ever.

You are also given diplomatic options to interact with foreign nations, such as alliance, trade, gifts, declaring war, infiltration, lowering the loyalty of enemy officers, hiring enemy officers, and more. You can also discover unaligned officers, powerful items, and more. Don't forget to manage your officers, you are given a variety of options such as appointing an advisor, giving ranks, promotions, demotions, firing, and also can release or execute prisoners of war.

And of course, a game like this wouldn't be complete without combat options. You can march your troops to another one of your locations, build a variety of defensive structures, or attack/take over another location. If you choose to send your men into battle, you are given the options to specify their formation, the tactics they will use, the officers that will accompany that force, and a few other options such as what kind of special equipment they will need (such as catapults, naval ships, et cetera). After you complete your strategy phase, the game will proceed into the action phase (unless you are playing with other players of course, then pass the controller to them if they dont have one).

Overall, the strategy phase is very well designed, and in my opinion, the best in a ROTK game yet! There are so many options available to you, but it is very easy to get used to it, and the speed and flow of turns is more quick and natural than that of ROTK8, and you have more control over your choices as well.

The action phase is where everything takes place. If you want to know how this works, think of a game like Civilization. You give your commands and they are issues all at once at the end of the turn, in real time. It's like that. This is why you have to plan very carefully. If you are familiar with past ROTK games, this is where battles would take place. However, one very unusual thing about the combat in this game from previous ROTK games: You have no control. Everything is automated, so how you arrange your army and plan are very importants, as well as any defensive or offensive advantages you have, how well off your troop morale is, the tactics you set up, and the war ability of the participating officers, all are key to a successful battle.

Basically, except for showing the animations of the Tactics, or when a duel takes place, about 98% of the game takes place all on this one screen. And your map covers all the areas you can go in this game. You can watch the battles unfold in other countries as well if you wish, as all the actions of every country are carried out simultaneously. And this makes the flow of the game much more smooth than the past games, where each individual battle would take a MINIMUM of 5 minutes, if you had the enemy army extremely outnumbered and outclassed, and you weren't defending, basically. It takes a minute at most (if there's a lot of action going on) for the entire action phase to complete. Once your nation gets large, it may be hard to keep track of all troop movements ally of foe, with this setup, but that's how it is in real war.

Graphics

Graphics are typical ROTK, which is to say, not spectacular. The graphics are very clean, and have a good resolution so as to allow for easy readability. But you won't be impressed at all by these graphics. I would say they are about par to Civilization 3, released a couple years back, and another game not famous for visuals. But the graphics do what a good ROTK gamer needs. It shows the battlefiled and all of the elements and conditions on it, and displays all necessary data. Frankyl, I got tired of seeing all the battle FMVs in the PS1 and older PS2 games, so you could consider this actually a step down from the other PS2 games, but if you love good games you won't care.

Sound/Music

The sound for this game is very effective. Nice sound effects that will let you easily distinguish different events going on by the mere sound effect cued, a nice touch to add a little to the game if you have to move your eyes off the screen for some reason. And the music score is very well done. About 30 or so tracks have been composed and written for the game, and they are very high quaity, and the tracks vary depending on seasons and your nation's ranking.

Overall

This game is all about navigating menus, and it is all easy to do. On the bottom is a helpbar that will let you know all of the appropriate button commands and what they do. And at pretty much any time, you can press select and find lots of useful help topics to further assist your understanding of the game. The game manual is very intuitive as well, and the game has a historical encyclopedia of sorts contained within, that allows you to learn more about the biography of the people in the game, and whether they were well documented as to have actually existedor were very little known from the legends or even made up for the game.

Rent this game. Seriously. And play with your friends. It is just awesome.

1-10 stars for each thing

Graphics *******
Sound/Music *********
Gameplay **********
Overall *********
Difficulty Rating (1 being Mario is Missing, 5 being a typical game, and 10 being like... something hard)******

     
By Ancient (25/3/2004)


<X13> how do I get a custom /quit message?

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