Civilization is a great series isn’t it? Fantastic strategy and governance games with tons of heart and oodles of style. So of course, a few titles will try to get in on that magic, trying to capture the charm. Doesn’t always work quite the way you thought it would does it? Here I am then, settled in to review a title that seems to live off the back of Civ, and does so in a refined and dignified way and definitely doesn’t overstay its welcome even on its title…right? Let’s review Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIV: Diplomacy and Strategy, and oh by the name of Thor I had to go get a drink halfway through writing out that absolute unit of a title!

I won’t pretend to be an expert on strategy games, I haven’t really given one much time since Halo Wars back on my Xbox 360, but the code slid into my DMs and I fancied a challenge. I dropped myself right in it by playing the 14th title in the series having not even heard of the franchise to begin with, even worse this was an expansion! What was I thinking?! Whatever, I cracked on and within 5 minutes, I was bored. This is a game of menus, so many damn menus. If you enjoy text boxes and numbers, I can promise this is for you! I, however, am not a fan of menus, unless they have food listed on them. It’s a hell of a lot of information to try and take in at all times and not a lot of it makes sense at a glance or even using all of my big hard brains mediocre power.

I’ll level with you now, I know I barely scratched the surface of this game, it’s a giant and takes a long time to really accomplish anything. A slow burn title that makes you work hard for the gratification of victory but when that success does come it certainly fills you with that warm fuzzy feeling. Maybe though it isn’t enough to warrant the time needed to achieve it. Conquering all of China is no small feat but luckily this new expansion does offer a swifter path to victory, a mini campaign called War Chronicles is here with a smaller map, fewer warlords and an emphasis on speedy play. Sure, it’ll still eat a few hours to win one game but that’s much better than the usual full day some matches would take!

While the gameplay isn’t my usual thing, I can’t fault the title for how it looks and sounds. It’s a very immersive experience with excellent music and some killer artwork of ancient Chinese warlords and governors. The maps are absolutely gorgeous and effects pop on screen really well. Sure its more or less a carbon copy of Civ with a little less polish but that doesn’t make it any less nice to look at. Like a Lamborghini with some dust on it, it’s still pretty man…

Unfortunately I can’t say much about the latest update for Romance since I never played the game on its first release, so I missed out on what it was like before Diplomacy and Strategy dropped. However, fans of the series online have been suggesting this is an excellent expansion that deepens the experience in a more meaningful way, and who am I to argue with a bunch of RTS nerds? I’m not looking to start a fight with someone who can control 60 units at once.

If you’re a fan of a deep immersive RTS experiences than this is definitely something you should give a try. Sure it wasn’t to my tastes but my tastes are quick action and shooting things in the face more directly so hey I’m just a dunce and should never have been leading a army of Chinese soldiers and assorted city states!

I’m giving Romance of the Three Kingdoms: Diplomacy and Strategy (Damn that title…)

4/10

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