|Romance of the Three Kingdoms IV - Wall of Fire Review by: Fireproof
SNES: ROTK4 Review
Romance of the Three Kingdoms is a Chinese historical based game where warring factions are divided across the lands of China. As a ruler of your faction, you must conquer the opposing factions and unify all of China. Much like KOEI's many other titles, strategy is the extensive core element to define your game play. Many elements present many challenges to produce many results. This version of the game is the 4th installment in this beautiful franchise. If you're the kind of gamer that loves strategy and China, this challenge will test your strategic skills and decisions.
Romance of the Three Kingdoms provides a unique strategy core element that doesn't exist in many of it's other titles. Some of these elements allow you to micromanage your faction on a great scale. Unlike other great strategy titles, you're able to give tasks to your generals over a wide variety of options. Everything from training to searching to arson and even a wide array of abilities will alter every action you should take. A lot of the strategy element focuses on each general's abilities and loyalty. Some of your game play may include you to bribe enemy officers in enemy cities or even convince them to join you. With having the ability to weaken enemy armies because you took their generals is something most typical strategy games don't have. More options allow you to destroy rations or weapons and so forth. The beauty in this game rests within it's depth. There are very few games that have a depth as deep as Romance of the Three Kingdoms.
Unlike Romance of the Three Kingdom's depth, the difficulty can be very challenging in some aspects. One thing I enjoy about the game is the ability to create your own Ruler and Generals. This allows you to start your own faction and play from a more unique perspective. With that said, it's very difficult to establish yourself in a reasonable time frame. The creation of your faction in it's entirety are too little compared to already established factions. With playing this way, you're going to need the best strategy and luck to compete against the AI. This is not at all an option for casual gamers if you expect to win. Despite it's beautiful depth, the sound is probably the worst aspect of the game. Although it isn't ridiculous or annoying, it just seems repetitive overall. This combination of features and creativity earns a 7 overall.
I wasn't entirely impressed by the scope of the graphics in this version of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms franchise, but I did enjoy it's advancement from the 3rd version to the 4th. Although several aspects of the graphics are similar to the last versions, these graphics were much easier on the eyes and offered more, visually speaking. Like other KOEI brand strategy games, the game seems flat overall. One thing lacking in these graphics is depth, although still provided more in this version of the game. I would have liked to see more of an advancement toward the 3-D model. With that said, there was some pictures and graphics that did kind of add to a 3-D look but after 4 professionally made games, it's been too long.
One thing I did like had more to do with it's animations. When you're out on the battlefield is probably when most of the animations take place. You can set armies on fire or use what seems to be spells. This makes the game appeal to me in a greater way. Despite the developer's lack in advancing the game further, there is still a big change between this version and the 3rd version. Overall, I can't complain because these are much better and much more appealing. I never get too bored or too tired from this aspect.
This aspect of the game is probably the worst aspect being that the music and sound effects can be repetitive and annoying at times. I never really credited KOEI for making sounds and sound effects appeal, especially from games originating on the SNES. The console was not clearly used to it's fullest capabilities. Providing KOEI were able to develop some higher quality music, maybe this would make the game less dull overall. Dull is probably the best way to describe what I've seen from this game. 5 is probably fair.
True strategy gamers, like myself, should be interested in a strategy game's depth and replayability as these are the 2 most important definitions of a good strategy game. Romance of the Three Kingdoms 4 is one of those games that make full use of it's depth and offers a decent feel to replayability. Unfortunately, I'm starting this out on the fact that once you play the game once, it's not much different each time you play it afterwards. This version of the game offers 2 types of play; Historical and Fictional. Historical will play out important events in Chinese history and rulers seem to die at their appropriate times. Historical resembles a realistic setting for the warring factions years in Chinese history. The fictional mode offers a little less history and a little more freedom for events to occur. Cao Cao, a popular and powerful leader may fall to the hands of a weaker enemy due to consistent war or stupid decisions. In historical mode, Cao Cao will probably never die, except by your blade.
The game's depth is what really drives the replayability up on this game. There are few games in the world that match the number of options you have at your disposal. With that said, you'll easily find something new to do or look forward to. The only downside relates entirely to each general's abilities; Generals only have certain traits, some of which are extremely difficult to find. A general is even measured in their ability to lead Cavalry or Ranged units. Knowing that the game offers many different ways to play any given faction, it helps to think that if you can't find 1 ability, you may have something else that works just as good.
The story behind this game is strictly historical, in that most events seem to occur at certain times. If you play a new game, you might find the same weather events and deaths happen at specific times or at least it seems to be that way for me. One thing I dislike about the story is that there really isn't one when you play the game. Even though set events occur, that's the full scope of the story, that these events occur at their appropriate time. The rest of the story is up to you to determine.
Obviously the largest section of the review, especially due to the fact that the Depth is rated so high. The game so much for it's strategy elements that you can play the game many different ways with many different tactics. One big difference between this game and others is your ability to invest every turn. Providing you have gold, you can take your money and reinvest it as often as you like in 4 unique infrastructure; Farm, Dam, Economy and Technology. Higher rated political generals will make a bigger impact on investments toward the infrastructure of a city. The second big difference between this game and others is your ability to give different tasks to your different generals. There are many different tasks that can be performed with many different abilities. Depending on what traits your generals possess, they'll be able to carry out more unique missions. These abilities also apply to the warfare.
Other aspects I enjoy about the game is the advancement in Technology after investing for so long. Originally players can't construct catapults or rams and need to acquire a higher tech rating to build. Even though you invest in Technology, the more you invest, the cheaper building weapons becomes. This allows you to save quite a bit of money and produce more weapons in less time. While on the subject, you can purchase some weapons from the market. Other weapons need to be built in order to obtain them. More powerful weapons take longer to build and you earn fewer of them but they'll be well worth the advancement overall. Although I already briefly spoke about creating my own ruler and generals, I'd like to state that this feature is probably my favorite aspect of the game. I don't care for playing as any of the original factions but I do like creating my own, even if I'm not likely to claim victory.
The last few things I'd like to include provide even more options to your game. One big element relates to the "search" command. This allows your generals to search for other generals and objects. What's cool about this is that your objects can provide unique abilities or improvements to certain stats on your generals. They're only allowed 1 each, but it makes a difference. Another aspect to include here is your ability to promote certain generals. Depending on which stats your generals have, you'll be able to assign them specific jobs like Civil Officer or Adviser. Lastly, the different events occurring throughout your game will provide free bonuses and harsh conditions. Some conditions will kill your population and some troops you have. Even some of your horses die. You have to be careful when an event occurs in your area because all aspects of your game may be effected.
The difficulty of the game speaks for itself. Playing as larger factions tend to own more units, generals and cities which makes the game easier to play overall. Playing as a new faction or a small faction will tend to offer a greater challenge to your strategy. The depth of the game not only serves as offering greater game play but it also adds to the challenge. One challenge offered by the game is the ability to recruit and bribe generals. Some generals are ridiculously hard to recruit while enemy generals can be bribed and recruited from enemy factions. Depending on the loyalty of the generals, this makes getting generals difficult. The overall progress of your faction is based on the number of generals you possess as this determines your growth and the max number of troops you can possess. Fewer generals means you can do less overall. Whichever angle you take, this won't be too easy.
Romance of the Three Kingdoms is a repeating franchise where each game is generally the same with the same concept and not much advancement in any major aspects of the game. Despite its little progression, the game still offers a unique strategic core element to define a good level of replayability. The most important focus of the game relates to the difficulty when playing in new or small factions. Small factions are less likely to gain a lot of strength to contend with the more powerful rulers and factions. I find the game more enjoyable to challenge myself by playing as a new ruler, since the ruler's stats are limited to less points than several of the more powerful rulers. With this in mind, Romance of the Three Kingdoms is a big strategy game that many strategy gamers can enjoy. I wish you good luck because you will need it.
Graphics 8 Sound 5 Addictive 8 Depth 10 Story 4 Difficulty 9
Romance of the Three Kingdoms IV - Wall of Fire Description: The Three Kingdoms era of Chinese history is the setting for this strategic war game. Select one of 38 leaders and guide your people to power by military or diplomatic means in an isometrically viewed world. Military tactics such as well-placed taunts and deliberate enemy confusion are on offer. Weaponry includes catapults and automatic-firing crossbows.
Loose Value: (beta)
Complete Value: (beta)
New Value: (beta)
Characters in Game: