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  • unmanneddrone 5:56 am on October 16, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , Romance of the Three Kingdoms   

    @redswirl I dunno, I personally think it has a lot to do with Japanese consumerism being predicated on serving niches. A lot of Japanese games have laser-focus on a particular consumer group or age bracket, the JRPG in particular. From what I hear, games like Atelier are really quite popular with young teen lasses, so it makes little sense to advance or “mature” a series when other franchises fill niches down the line. Japanese flexibility and willingness to boldly iterate or go out on development limbs isn’t what it used to be…

    Hasn’t there been a few adult/mature JRPGs this gen? Lost Odyssey and whatnot? Nier? It’s not my bag, so I’ve never kept up.

    In related news (ever so tenuously), if anyone in the Squad was squeezing the owl for a hoot or two, Romance of the Three Kingdoms 12 was announced a little while ago! Realtime battles…and it seems a PC exclusive! Pleased. Rather pleased. Now, all we need is another Nobunaga’s Ambition and we’re good to go. NO, that AND another Uncharted Waters. All we ask for, Koei.

  • unmanneddrone 1:22 am on January 15, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: Romance of the Three Kingdoms   

    ROTK would be a historical Madden if the rosters changed! But they’re set in stone for the most part. Maybe the Dynasty Warriors fits the Madden comparison more aptly! 😀

    As far as a guide goes? Don’t bite off more than you can chew, which is pretty universal for all strategy games. But due to the leisurely early-game of XI, it’s easier to overextend and rush for neutral city conquests without a decent economy behind it. It does retard the growth of new cities to the point where they’re almost a liability and incredibly easy to lose to even bandit forces. Just build up those forces, don’t do much in the way of army supply or campaigns during the winter months and make alliances. I dunno, each fellow has their own style of playing these games.

    Oh, and a trick to neutral city conquest in the early game? Use supply transports. They can carry gold, they don’t need to be paid or fed like armies do, and while they’re vulnerable, they’re a lot easier to lose than army detachments. Maybe follow a supply transport to a city with an army two or three turns after you’ve sent the little wagon on its way.

  • Shingro 10:22 pm on January 14, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: Koei, , Romance of the Three Kingdoms   

    @Redswirl @beige Yeah, it’s hard to decide what to say about monster hunter… on one hand, killing small things is about 2% of the game, most weapons can be built with only big monster parts. On the other hand, that 2% is basically a 6-8 hour tutorial. Now, I tend to give FFXIII shit for having the “26 hours before it gets good” factor, so it’s hard to say “oh yeah, 26 is too much but 8 is just fine! After those 8 hours it’s gumdrops and lollipops!!”

    The other trouble is that even though 10+ hours is all large boss fights, those fights depending on weapon strength and individual ham-handedness can take 20-30 minutes apiece, with no guarantee you’ll walk away with anything. Should you die 3 times you spend 25 minutes, die, and lose your stake money and only have the trappings you picked up along the way. That is a feeling that outright sucks.

    On the other hand, *because* the monsters are crazy dangerous, it’s all the more fun when you and your friends pull the hail mary touchdown capture at 2 deaths… I guess it’s basically what they say about Crystal Chronicles/Left 4 Dead. If you have the buddies to turbo past the easy stuff (gather 12 becomes gather 3 each) and murder the big stuff, it’s awesome. If you do not have those people do not under any circumstances pick it up. I’ve got high tolerance for Japanese gaming conventions and I didn’t enjoy single player, everything single player I did was in prep for the online stuff.

    I have intermittently tried to get into Romance of the Three Kingdoms due to my love of old Koei stuff (Gemfire, Ghengis Khan II: Clan of the Grey Wolf and Inidio: Way of the Ninja have huge places in my formerly young heart) and never succeeded. I think I never managed to find a good “method” to play that game. Each turn it was a bit arcane what I should or could do, I’d try to develop a long term economic plan, then someone would attack me and I’d have Dudes vs Dudes without a lot of system wriggle room I could find to defend myself… then I’d be dead. I dunno, can you offer any suggestions for getting started @unmanneddrone? If any game needed a guide, it’d be RotTK.

  • RedSwirl 3:31 pm on January 14, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: Romance of the Three Kingdoms   

    @unmanneddrone Well now you got me downloading the demo (to play at some distant date).

    So are all eleven games iterations of basically the same story and campaigns, like some kind of historical Madden?

  • unmanneddrone 1:41 pm on January 14, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: Romance of the Three Kingdoms   

    @beige There’s no continuity between the ROTK games, outside of the same era and characters (like, all thousand or so of them). ROTK XI was released on PC, PS2 and Wii – but I’d advise going with the PC version. It’s 20 bucks on Direct2Drive (http://bit.ly/dG62P9) or undoubtedly even cheaper for a hard copy if you dig around on ebay. The Wii version is hideously overpriced, allegedly, on account of a limited release by Koei.

    To answer your question briefly/offer an elevator pitch:

    ROTK is indeed a more personal grand strategy affair than most, with the whole cast of the historical epic in tow – that thousand-strong cast is well-represented and, for my money, accurately depicted in demeanour, stats and artwork. While a fair few of the ROTK games prior to XI have been more governance RPGs, XI is the most honed in terms of warfare. If you’re familiar with the books, then it’s even more of a treat. There isn’t a huge tech tree like Civ, and when tech becomes available (triggered by an accumulation of “feats”) it’s really only to advance the abilities of your armies, so it might disappoint if you’re looking for a massive developmental tree to climb.

    That said, it’s quite a rich and fulfilling game. Like all of the games, you take charge of a dominion in the final years of the Han Dynasty. Infrastructure is developed via farms and markets, boosting output by adjacent granaries and mints respectively. There’s the compliment of stables, barracks, shipyards, siege workshops, etc. Your main cities need order maintained, they need defence and protection. Alliances with other dominions can be formed, supply routes set up, taxes adjusted. You can assign captured cities to self-develop under the watchful eye of an assigned officer.

    But the combat is why you play the game. There isn’t a deluge of different troop types, but who you assign to lead them and how you use the landscape is paramount to success. There’s lots of combined and positional attack buffs. There’s also the option to duel with an enemy officer – as was the case many, many times in the books – for a chance to end the fight without losing a large part of your army. There’s ship combat on the mighty rivers. You can push boulders over cliffs onto enemy troops. It’s got that extra bite that so many games of its ilk – Civ included – seem a bit dry with.

    What’s more? It’s, ahem, goddamn gorgeous. It looks like a Chinese silk painting, with season transitions some of the most beautiful in strategy games. Not that you’d have to worry, but it runs on anything. Great music, simple but effective sound effects.

    But hey, why not try the demo? See if it’s your bag. http://bit.ly/i3LTI0

  • unmanneddrone 11:38 pm on July 28, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , Romance of the Three Kingdoms   

    @bowlisimo That crazy horse-back riding is one of the minigames, a duel to either route an enemy force by taking on their commander or to best an opponent into joining your side. They’re optional, but it does make a nice change. The game itself is more akin to Civ than anything, and though city expansion isn’t as varied – there are only set locations where production facilities can be constructed – it’s got a more defined sense of conquest on a grand scale than Civ IV. It’s got an interesting way of accumulating research points; you assign characters within your cities to specific actions, such as keeping the peace in cities or negotiating alliances, which are classed as “feats”. You accumulate feat points, and once a certain level is reached, you can select a certain research project. It staggers the technological breakthroughs, which takes the emphasis away from out-teching your enemies and more on the warfare and city management.

    Combat itself is pretty fun, with a simplistic rock-paper-scissors approach augmented by terrain and commander modifiers, whatever season it is (a highlight of the game is the beautiful seasonal transition!), supplies and will of the troops. All very Sun Tzu-like. There’s a nice dynamism to the combat, too, with pincer attacks and combos. The only slightly negative part to the game – and it’s subjective – is the slow build-up. It’s a bit micro-manage-y, but the plus is simply that everything is at your fingertips.

    Oh, and watch out for bandits! One of my great armies, commanded by the finest of generals, was camped outside a pass in preparation for an assault on a northern city. It was the end of winter, my provincial food production down due the season, and I was cobbling together supply convoys from granary stockpiles on the far side of my territory. A bandit camp sprung up to the north east of my capital just as my supply convoy was moving past in an effort to restock the army to the north, killing the commander of this stupidly unguarded caravan. All my stocks were lost. I formed a detachment from the main force to head south in an effort to burn the bandit camp to the ground and slay them for their dishonourable act, but as soon as the cavalry moved away to fight this new problem, a gigantic garrison force lead by Lu Bu burst from the pass gatehouse. My army – hungry, weary and outnumbered – become a feast for the vultures as an army of fifty thousand men encircled them and cut them down. All because of bandits. /after-action report.

    @RocGaude @zegolf Fellows, I understand completely with the RTS reservation. What about something like Full Spectrum Warrior?

  • unmanneddrone 7:48 am on July 28, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , Romance of the Three Kingdoms   

    @bowlisimo Oh man, I definitely agree on that game you’re searching for. I’m on the quest as well. Europa Universalis was kinda cool, but I agree…it’s bland and Paradox-dev’d games need someone to work on their user-interface. I love the time period covered in Victoria, but that game is remarkably unwieldy…put me right off.

    One grand strategy I can recommend, in a similar vein to Civ, is Romance of the Three Kingdoms XI. It’s got a good, clean interface and meaningfully character-centric. Warfare is relatively limited in comparison to something like Civ, but augmenting regiments with specific characters makes every little army that marches out from your cities feel that little bit more personal. The strategy abstraction – our feedback bang for buck – is actually really responsive, with battles themselves accessible and fast-paced. There’s nice city management, and less RPG-ey than, say, RotTK 8 or 9.

    I’d recommend it. It looks silk-screen beautiful, runs on anything and let’s face it, outside of super-niche games like the Sango series or super-abstracted versions in EU, it’s kinda hard to find a nice Asia-centric grand strategy. Plus, you’ve got the option to play minigames within the main strategy, like strange card-based debates and horseback duels. You could find it for a song (heh heh, contextual humour! *crickets*) online, I’m sure.

    @scribl That’s where I heard about Neptune’s Pride. Remo was really sold on the game, he’s one enthusiastic chap! And in regards to @RedSwirl’s pronouncement, I’d interested to know what he prefers in his RTS games, too. If it’s the lack of slow-paced majesty that’s bothering him, then I can kinda understand. Probably why Homeworld was such a hit with this tired old geezer. I spent a long time in the hard vacuum with the soundtrack turned up and my tiny fighters in delta formation arcing against gas clouds.

    @RedSwirl K&L2 certainly makes an impact. The post-processing and grain certainly make for a striking style, and help to cover over a relatively pedestrian engine as you mentioned. I know ol’ Bowley wasn’t too keen on the original, but there were moments within that game that I haven’t found equaled in terms of setpieces. Walking into the Tokyo club for the first time blew my mind. Jesper Kyd rocking out the soundtrack, hundreds of people all dancing…and here I am, a one-eyed mess of a guy, sidling between these hip young things…about to ruin the evening. ( http://bit.ly/bgsAcd ) It certainly had its faults and flaws, but what I really like about the franchise is the chance to inhabit some really different characters. They’re not an easy criminal parody, ala Grand Theft Auto, and the fact many of the enemies you drop are law enforcement officers meant every shot – at least for me – was tinged with a certain level of “I can’t believe I’m doing this”. What’s more, it’s interesting to play from a point of view where motivation is a tangible self-interest, so the idea of heroics are incredibly subjective. Kane pretty much loses everything in Dead Men, but despite that, he seesaws between having motivation a player can understand and a man who oversteps the mark a number of times.

    I still can’t recall where in Dead Men where the allegation of Lynch being a sexual predator came from, though Bowley and Jeff Gerstmann did mention it (the latter in the Dog Days quick look), but I’m incredibly intrigued at having him as a main character in the sequel. In Dead Men, what was originally the “psychopath” quickly became the moral compass of the story. Kane seemed almost mad with intent by the end of it, with Lynch offering up the voice of reason. It was one of the more subtle writing aspects that many folks seemed to miss. I was appalled by some of Kane’s actions through the spiraling downfall, swinging back and forth between feeling for this guy (in itself, a peculiar thing to empathise with an out-and-out mercenary) and outright despising him.

    Lynch’s backstory, where an alleged psychotic episode led to him murdering his own wife (not confirmed), is one of the reasons the character might be seen as such a reprehensible piece of work. Even so, under the blunt-force trauma of the game, Lynch seems like an unfortunate sort of guy with a swathe of problems. This is the weird thing again, where a player gets the chance to step into the gray zone of true criminality, but see it from their perspective. It’s totally wrong, and everything that happens in Dead Men goes from bad to worse…but there’s nothing quite like it elsewhere.

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