When an avid gamer finds a war strategy game that is challenging, interesting and has a sound base in historical facts, it seems like forever before the sequel arrives. And it takes about thirty seconds to be disappointed in the sequel. This is not the case with KOEIís Romance of the Three Kingdoms IV: Wall of Fire. RTKIV follows the same historical texts as its predecessors, but features even more strategic and diplomatic capabilities.
Sure, not everyone will fall in love with an epic war strategy surrounding Chinese history, but as war strategies are concerned, many facets of actual conflicts become factors in this turn-based game. RTKIV reveals even minute details of second and third century Chinese conflicts, and challenges players to unite warring kingdoms. To accomplish this monumental task, gamers must use spies, diplomatic tact, resource management, political popularity, military leaders, armies and even barbarian recruits to prevent war and control Chinaís leading cities.
Players are not only charged with uniting China against other leaders, but must also overcome domestic troubles as well. Famine, plagues, swarming locusts and peasant revolts will all contribute to the trials of the gamerís chosen leader. One must remember to manage commodities such as crops and technology to improve the success rate of any campaign. On the military front, armies can be drafted, trained and armed. Charming military leaders can recruit foreign aid by demanding, requesting or begging for assistance. Barbarian forces can also be swayed to the cause.
The game also features a fairly user-friendly, although obviously complex, user interface. The musical score is exceptional, but the graphics are somewhat weak, but not inappropriate for a game created in the mid-nineties. As it happens, the gamer that admires RTKIV for the strategy that it is, will likely not notice the poor graphics or the great music. This game requires full mental capacity to be directed toward strategy as opposed to fancy peripherals.
In short, RTKIV presents micromanagement war strategy at its best. An unwary gamer could easily forget to control what appears to be a minor detail, and the results could be the disastrous loss of a major battle. This is a game that requires dedication, skill, intelligence and patience. Many players could find themselves easily frustrated with the high level of management and necessary attention to detail that are required. However, true war strategists will admire the level of awareness that success in RTKIV demands and will have a hard time turning this game off.
Written by: ~c_dos