|Romance of the Three Kingdoms IV - Wall of Fire Review by: Fireproof
SNES: ROTK4 Review
Second Review - ROTK4
Romance of the Three Kingdoms is a KOEI historical simulation strategy game based on a divided China, after the fall of the Han Dynasty, giving rise to several emperors taking rightful claim to a divided throne. These factions fought each other for many years until one faction unified all the lands of China. You take on the role as one of many Emperors but it's no easy task. With only a small portion of China under your command, you must build yourself a powerful war machine to set out across the lands of China and claim your rightful place as Emperor. You'll need to recruit many generals, negotiate alliances with friends, build weapons, develop infrastructure, train armies, conduct espionage and withstand nature before war consumes all the far corners of China.
Romance of the Three Kingdoms is not for everyone. If you're a big fan of strategy games, especially games with a lot of depth, you'll enjoy the many possibilities this game will offer. Your strategic genius will be challenged and put to the test, especially if you create your own Three Kingdoms Dynasty.
Romance of the Three Kingdoms provides a unique strategy core element that doesn't exist in many of Koei's older titles. Some of these elements allow you to micromanage your faction on a great scale. Many of these older titles allow you to scratch the surface of strategy but Romance of the Three Kingdoms goes much deeper. ROTK offers flexibility within it's options for each general. You can command your men to carry out several tasks including, but not limited to, espionage and war. Espionage, alone, offers several options like Commit Arson and Bribe so that you can weaken your enemies. Generals also have abilities, which is one of the earliest games I noticed that offered a clean set of abilities that make some generals more powerful than other generals, even if they don't have better statistics. If you haven't noticed, strategy depends entirely on your ability to manage and recruit your generals. Without generals, you can't maintain a thriving and powerful empire. Everything from training to arson to every ability offers a wide variety of game play options, that without, will only hinder your ability as emperor.
What makes Romance of the Three Kingdoms enjoyable, as a strategy game, isn't solely based on it's many generals and their importance. This game is enjoyable because it's replayability is unique to all games of all ages. Retro strategy games are, arguably, some of the most balanced masterpieces of all time. Many modern games don't offer a similar depth like ROTK can achieve. You may be able to find some basic surface scratching strategic elements like carrying out a spy mission or building loyalty but, arguably, you'll never see a game offer it all. Strategy is devolving to a lifespan of basic and simple for the average simpleton who, without a strategy guide, can't fend for themselves. We need depth as well as replayability, otherwise, it'll never be a game I'll consider "Great". Romance of the Three Kingdoms 4 and it's series is a Great game, especially for any strategist who dares attempt to take all of China.
You can expect ROTK4 to give you a challenge. Besides the game's depth, you'll enjoy some of the latest SNES graphics, it's difficulty and the story which ROTK is founded from. I've always enjoyed historical simulation strategy games, especially those which offer pure strategic elements and allow you to change history. Easily, ROTK, can make it on my top 10 of Strategy Games.
I was pretty excited to see the advancement of this game's graphics vs it's ROTK3 predecessor. Although several aspects of the graphics are similar to their previous versions, these graphics were much easier on the eyes and offered more, visually speaking. Like other KOEI brand strategy games, the graphics appear flat most of the time but it's actually a little more 3-D and visually appealing than I originally thought. I've seen the best that there is to offer on the SNES but we're not too far off from the most appealing in graphics. The only area where the graphics are lacking is it's 3-D environment. I would have loved to see a little more depth to the ancient Chinese world but I really can't complain. One such area I'd love to see some depth was the battlefield; These units are very ROTK3 and don't offer much of an advancement. This quality is the best I've seen from the developers and I really enjoy it.
Animations are not lacking in this game. Most of the animations take place on the battlefield where you may encounter weather elements or even a duel. These animations are somewhat fun to watch and help change the flow of the battle. Other animations usually take place on the world map, usually when you acquire a treasure, someone dies or if weather strikes. I definitely would have loved to seen more but I'm not entirely focused on graphics to hold much weight on my review. Overall, satisfactory conditions are met and I'm happy to see what the game offers.
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, based on knowledge acquired about the fall of the Han Dynasty and the empires that rose as a result. You won't actually follow any sort of story within the game but you can create your own story, either by assuming the role as different emperors or by creating your own emperor and even playing in the fictional game setting (Still challenging). I can't properly score this part of the review because there really isn't much of a story given by the game. I gave it an 8 because I enjoyed learning about some of the ancient Chinese history and the wars that followed the fall of the Han Dynasty.
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 8 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: