The Total War series has been going strong since the year 2000, and since then has accrued at least 13 titles in the main series alone. In a few days, the upcoming entry in the series, Total War: Three Kingdoms, promises to be a big shake-up to the formula, which has sold pretty solidly for nearly 2 decades. Just how are they going to achieve this? Well, so far it seems like the main shift in focus has been towards characters being a more integral driving force of the story and the gameplay.
Total War: Three Kingdoms Heroes Are at the Forefront
In previous Total War titles, the heroes have been little more than figureheads for your armies. While they certainly had personalities and those personalities affected the narrative, they didn't really affect the gameplay all that much.
For Total War: Three Kingdoms, the developers have made heroes, and their relationships and personalities, integral to playing the game. Firstly, you don't pick a faction this time, you simply pick a character from the choice of 11. You recruit followers, command your armies, and have a retinue of other hero characters who follow you on your journey.
The way your playable character gets on with the other heroes in their retinue has some serious ramifications in battle. Heroes who get on well will work together better in battle. Throughout the course of the campaign, your heroes can even become very close friends. In fact, it's possible for your character to be thrown into an inconsolable rage during combat if they lose their friends.
Your heroes personalities also have an effect on the campaign map, where they can be assigned to different settlements. While assigned to a settlement your hero will provide that settlement with certain bonuses, as well as keeping your characters satisfied. The characters satisfaction is important too, as it helps to keep them loyal to you and prevent any desertions.
Three Kingdoms Satisfaction and Diplomacy System
The satisfaction system is very nuanced in Total War: Three Kingdoms. Apart from keeping your allies loyal to you, it also acts as a marker of just how happy your characters are with their position in life. If your characters get on well, they're more likely to be satisfied with their lives, but if they keep taking part in failed battles, they're probably not going to be too happy for very long.
The diplomacy system has also received some major revisions. The options available to players are much broader this time around, meaning you have access to more than simple alliances with other factions. Now you can make temporary coalitions to achieve specific goals, instead of needing to form a permanent alliance.
Diplomacy also trends towards bigger alliances over time too. While the game may not exactly follow the history of the time period, as the game progresses your enemies will start to form huge alliances through diplomacy or military actions. What this means is that without needing to be pre-planned out the campaign will always tend towards a big fight between mega-factions towards the end.
Three Kingdoms Let's You Choose Real Life Or Fantasy
Another interesting factor in Total War: Three Kingdoms is how it handles realism. The entire game is actually split into two separate campaigns. The first is the major focus and features a highly romanticized version of the history based on Romance of the Three Kingdoms. In this campaign mode, the characters are larger-than-life, have insane strength and power, and you can come across some very strange events and encounters on the campaign map.
For a more toned-down affair, there is also a "classic" mode, which is much more like previous Total War games have been in the past. The characters all have a more believable level of strength, and the world is not filled with strange quasi-supernatural going on. If you're here for a true historical representation you're more than likely going to be looking for this mode.
All She Wrote
Well, that's quite an impressive list of new features for Total War: Three Kingdoms. Some of these new systems, or revamped old systems, seem like they could actually bring some fresh life to the series, and may even help to attract some new fans. We'll just have to wait until the game releases later this month to find out exactly how well some of these changes have been implemented.Are you looking forward to the upcoming release of Total War: Three Kingdoms? Do you think you'll play the realistic mode or the romanticized version? Let us know what you think the comments down below.