Chaos of Three Kingdoms
- Release Date: 2012
- Publisher: Huayu Games
- Developer: RenRen
- Genre: Strategy
The “Three kingdom” period is perhaps the period in history which has been most frequently replicated in strategy games. Recently, another game set in this era of Chinese history has been launched via Facebook: Chaos of Three Kingdoms is the latest strategy genre published by China-based HuayuGames. The Chinese version actually has been rolled out for a long time, and finally the English version got localized.
There are four characters available for choosing to start with. The ancient Chinese melody is sweet and the classic ink-painting-styled character portraits are beautifully illustrated. However, the most surprising thing to me is how the artwork styles look like the same as those in KOEI’s hit games – Romance of the Three Kingdoms franchise. Because I am a huge fan of Romance of the Three Kingdoms series, at first glance, I found that the handsome and good-looking male character image bears much resemblance to Zhao Yun, who is a courageous, heroic warrior and is also the most welcoming character in both the original novel and the fantasy-based games. I have to confess that I’ve witnessed so many Chinese games looking exactly as the prototype but come with totally different and poor gameplay design. So I couldn’t help thinking whether Chaos of Three Kingdoms is another crude game, which is greatly “inspired” by its predecessors and is thrown into the market to rip customers off before it is well-polished.
After character creation, I was leaded into the battleground directly. The game follows the events sequence of the Three Kingdoms chronicle which began with the battles against “Yellow Turban” rebellions. The grid-based isometric battle map also reminded me of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Then I was 100% sure about one thing when I saw the character images for dialogues: they were directed taken from Romance of Three Kingdoms IX. The game mechanic is significantly different and over-simplified. Your city is under siege and is encircled by groups of rebellions. But you don’t have to care about which enemy force is the biggest threat and which target is your first priority to engage and destroy when they launch a joint attack, because it is not a real-time strategy game. The battleground actually is a static picture. Following the tutorials, I just simply clicked on a certain troop to launch the combat and then it presented me with an automatic animation. So the game greatly disappointed me because there’s no tactics or strategies involved in gameplay. Players must challenge these troops in a pre-set sequence with ever-increasing difficulty curve. Battles started off very easy, and when I faced off the first real challenge which required me to vanquish the elite force, I was prompted to train my heroes and technologies and then the city-building interface was unlocked.
The outdated graphic of city-management interface exposes the shortcomings and limited comprehension of a Chinese game. The ridiculous design of city-management also made me speechless. Resource won’t be the problem that delays the game progress because of shortage. Contrarily, I had no idea how to spend them – constructions consumed me just a bit Silvers, but the quest reward earned me ten-times the amount of Silvers as my expenses. I was not allowed to click to receive the quest bonus, because my warehouse had been upgraded to the level cap and was not able to accommodate more resources. Tons of promotional sales were implemented in game shop, but they can only be purchased by premium currency. I tried to spend money on some very basic and crappy non-premium items, but then I was prompted that my inventory slots were full and I was even not able to dump quests items in order to make room for the new, unless I spent money to expand inventory slots, as kindly suggested by the game.
Overall, the game really did not impress me much with its gameplay. Instead, the blatant disregard for copyright kind of disgusted me. So I don’t think the game will be a lasting icon.
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