Romance of the Three Kingdoms VIII is the latest installment of the historical simulation series set amidst the warring states of second century China. Near the year 184 A.D., China was reaching the end of the Han dynasty. The corruption of the Imperial Court triggered a rebellion, and civil war engulfed the land. Men and women of strong will climbed onto the stage of history. Some chose to stop the chaos, while others fulfilled their own ambitions. Together they wove the threads of a legend that came to be known as the Romance of the Three Kingdoms.
In Romance of the Three Kingdoms VIII, players become one of those brave souls that answered the call to arms. Ultimately, the player’s goal is the unification of China. Gamers can take on multiple roles, from the proud officer who helps his lord to a rogue general forging his own path to glory.
The series continues to evolve and bring each character vividly to life by giving players complete control of interpersonal affairs. While depicting historically significant relationships, such as the brotherhood between Liu Bei, Guan Yu and Zhang Fei, or the bitter animosity between Ma Chao and Cao Cao, the game allows players to create new bonds between characters, with new commands such as “Marriage” and “Sworn Brother.”
Romance of the Three Kingdoms VIII empowers gamers with the ability to play as any of the game’s 711 officers, 100 of which are original characters that can be created by the player. For the first time in the series, Romance of the Three Kingdoms VIII introduces a multi-character system using all of the game’s officers. This system allows gamers the option of playing up to eight characters within a single game.
Each character possesses 26 officer skills and four basic attributes. For example, the “Eloquence” skill is effective during negotiations, while “Commerce” is useful when doing business with merchants. If an Officer acquires all the skills contained within a category, the Officer will learn a powerful “Super Skill.” Furthermore, Romance of the Three Kingdoms VIII features 15 new officer skills called “tactics.” There are 6 ability levels for each tactic, from “Beginner” to the fearsome level of “Expert”, and the higher the level, the greater the chance of success in combat.
Another new feature is that players can begin the game at any year- from the start of The Yellow Turban Rebellion in 184 A.D. to the death of Zhuge Liang in 234 A.D. Additionally, there are four more scenarios set after 234 A.D., including one entirely fictional story featuring every officer in the game.
Previously in the series, a maximum of four forces could participate in a single battle. Now, as long as each force is part of an alliance, nearly all forces can engage in a single battle, regardless of where their power bases are situated. This allows the most prestigious officers from each force to meet each other on the same battlefield. Consequently, power and spheres of influence can change at any moment. The outcome of events will never be completely clear until the end, even if one dominant force emerges midway through the game.
The lynchpin of any historical simulation game is the battle scene. In Romance of the Three Kingdoms VIII, field and siege fighting have been combined into a single process. Now the player can decide whether to gradually advance their army, bypass hostile forces, or attack an enemy fortress in one swift move. Battle sequences now require moment-to-moment decision-making. Players must carefully consider the terrain, field of view, unit types and war council advisories as the battlefield situation evolves.
Additionally, officer duels and “ploys” form an integral part of the game. During a duel, the player can use a different ploy each turn. Depending on how these ploys are combined, it is possible to defeat a much more powerful adversary, but the reverse is also true – defeat at the hands of an inferior opponent can also occur. Certain combinations of ploys can also trigger a “Deadly Move," which can instantly turn the tide of a duel.