Review: Total War: Three Kingdoms

Total War: Three Kingdoms has finally been released. With this new addition to the Total War series, we return to ancient China. During the Han dynasty transitioning to the Jin dynasty. Of the previously released strategy games ( Anno 1800 and Tropico 6 ), we can say that Total War: Three Kingdoms is the most comprehensive strategy game this year. But does that benefit the game? You can read that today in our review.

Total War: Three Kingdoms can essentially split you into two parts. The first part and perhaps the most famous part of Total War is the real time strategy part. You can conduct battles and sieges in real time. During his battle you control the different troops that are in your army. In the other part you play a turn based strategy game. On each turn, you move your armies and maintain your faction. At the end of the turn, your opponents follow with their actions until it is your turn again.


Creative Assembly has added new elements to the game in both parts. One of these elements is the choice between Records or Romance Battles. We will go into more detail about this in the next section (we have of course tested both modes). But we also see new elements in the turn-based part. Agents and skewers are now part of the game. By placing a wedge with your opponents, you can try to disrupt things. This to your own great frustration when you find out that there is a key in your faction. On the map you can now also walk into an ambush or set up an ambush yourself. This can be used to attack armies unexpectedly using the surprise effect to strike.

Total War: Three Kingdoms expanded considerably

Total War: Three Kingdoms is arguably the most comprehensive game in the series. In your faction screen you have many menus that you can navigate through. So you have a menu for your armies, villages, faction, diplomacy and much more. We tackle the most used menus for this review. In the menu of your armies you can manage your armies. Recruit different units led by the generals of your army. New armies can only be recruited in a village. You can find this in the menu of your village. In it you will also find the different buildings that you can build. Each building has its own bonuses.
In your faction menu you can assign tasks to your faction members, depending on the game. This will help your faction grow and keep your faction members engaged and happy. Also very important, because a disgruntled faction member can just betray you or even rebel. In the diplomacy menu you maintain relations with the other factions around you. Forge allies or plot concerted action against another faction. Here too you have to be careful that your actions don't bite you in the ass.

Total War: Three kingdoms offers a lot of content in the menus in the faction screen, maybe a little too much. Because of the many menus you occasionally lose the overview. In addition, it can give an overwhelming feeling. However, it will take you quite a few hours to use the full potential of all these menus. For the seasoned strategy gamer, this could be the challenge you are looking for in a strategy game. However, I think this game is not for the novice strategy gamer.

Records of Romance?

In Total War: Three Kingdoms, you can now choose from two different ways to play your battles. You have Records and Romance. At the start of your new Campaign you can choose from these two options. Once you have made your choice, you can no longer convert it during your Campaign. If you want to play the other way, you will have to start a new Campaign. The main difference between these two options is the control of your generals. In the Records mode you will play the battles as you are used to. Your generals have a group of bodyguards around them and go into battle as a unit.

Romance mode, however, is a completely different story. Your generals are their own unit in your army. You can control them individually and have unique abilities that you can use during your battle. In addition, the opponent, or yourself, can challenge the other generals for a 1 on 1 battle. In this battle, the other soldiers will ignore or watch the generals. The outcome of this battle affects the morale of your army and of course your general. This fight brings an extra layer to the battles. A great addition to the only linear battles you normally do.

Verdict Total War: Three Kingdoms

Total War: Three Kingdoms is the most comprehensive strategy game this year. In both the faction screen and the battles screen you will find plenty of options and menus to control your faction. For the novice game, this can be overwhelming. Because you can do so much, you lose the overview. And to get the most out of your game, you are quite a few hours further. Adding the Romance and Records modes to the game provides a nice variety for the battles. If you are not that strategic in battles you can play the Records mode. If you want more depth in your battles, choose the Romance mode. The 1 on 1 battles look very good and are fun to follow.
Despite the extensive and sometimes somewhat complex gameplay, Total War: Three Kingdoms is a must for most strategy gamers among us. If you are a beginner in strategy games, try not to focus too much on the many menus that this game has. Slowly teach yourself to master a menu and then move on to the next menu. Total War: Three Kingdoms is available on steam for $59.99.


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