Video Game Review of the Week
--Review by KenshiroKing @ 8/19/03 00:08 PST.
Romance of the Three Kingdoms 8
Okay, clearly something is wrong here. As I was sitting and playing Konami's mouthfull Romance of the Three Kingdoms 8 I realized that this would be the third game in a row that I had played that was good. I guess it had to happen sooner or later. I mean, not every game out there is crap, but what are the odds of getting three in a row? Not high, my friend. Not high.
But, yet again, I digress. Romance of the Three Kingdoms 8, from now on to be referred to as R3K8, takes place in early China. When I say early, I MEAN early. Like 3rd century, beeyotches. Traditionally, R3K8 games have you assuming the role of a ruler type, setting up camp, and trying to unify all of China. The Romance series is also known for its almost ridiculously complicated menu system. I, personally, never found the menus that hard to navigate, but I was weened on RPGs, so that probably helps. A little twist to the usual style of gameplay comes in the form of a new path to forge through the game. You can now start as free man, get hired by a ruler and work your way up the ranks of their organization. I found this path to be the most fun, because it really gave me a sense of accomplishment when I was promoted or recieved praise from my ruler.
Basically, the whole point of the game is to unify all of China under one (preferably your own) ruler. This is accomplished, ultimately, through conquering other provinces but proper managing of provinces already owned is a must if you want to complete this goal. The battle section of this game does a wonderful job simplifying a multiple tens of thousands man conflict into one of just a few units. Troops are unified under field commanders and the troops act as hit points for these units. Also, the more troops you have the more damage you can deal, and this is multiplied by the ability of the commander to wage war. It's really not as complicated as it sounds, and within a few hours you will be playing with ease.
Managing provinces is much too complicated for me to accurately sum up, so I'll be brief. In order to build up a province, you must aquire officers, apply them towards goals, then use the fruits of these labors (gold, supplies etc.) to further support your cause. All officers have varying traits and skills, so proper management is key to advancement. All this is simplified if you are pursuing a career as a single officer as you must only accomplish the tasks you are given, and not worry about the big picture. As far as the remote managing of provinces goes, I actually liked the way R3K4, thats 4, took care of this better. With 8, you have no direct control of provinces that you are not in, but instead set goals to be reached, and the prefect trys to accomplish them. In 4, you could micro-manage to your hearts content, OR switch the province over to automatic mode. That's the biggest change from 4 to 8 that I can see; everything is a bit more automated.
Graphics aren't all that important in a strategy game, so I won't spend much time on it. Let's just say that they were completely acceptable.
The sound was similarly acceptable and the score contained some decent tracks that really set the feel of the game nicely.
All in all, a great strategy game for those who like to plot and plan. It may be a little too hardcore for the casual gamer tho. I dunno, rent it first.