It’s weird to get an expansion pack for a game that we don’t have in its base form on a console, but here you go: The first Romance of the Three Kingdoms to release on the Nintendo Switch in the west is the expansion (with the base game built in, of course). While you’ve already played the bulk of what the game has to offer if you played the base version on PlayStation 4 or PC, having RoTK on the go is the really sweet good stuff, and it’s nice to have a change of pace from Civilization VI on the handheld.
“However, mastering Romance of the Three Kingdoms takes a lot longer, and for many people, mastering it will be an immensely rewarding process, because it’s challenging in just the right way. Rarely are the numbers on your side in trying to conquer China. You’re always squeezed in-between powerful enemies, and the only way around that is to have better-trained units, better leaders, and a better strategy for expansion and subsequent defence of the realm. You might think that the best solution is to simply pick the side with the numbers advantage… but then you discover that they’re often considered the “harder” nations to win with for a reason. Navigating the rich spreadsheets of number crunching that determine the success of your military, domestic, and diplomatic efforts is most certainly a learning curve, and it genuinely feels great to master. I’ve always thought that the best strategy games are the ones that allow good strategy to overcome numbers disadvantages – that’s proper strategy, in my view – and no series does that better than Romance of the Three Kingdoms.”
All of that remains true for this Switch version – in fact, the experience on the console is completely indistinguishable to that of the PlayStation 4. That’s not a hugely impressive technical achievement, as the game has always been quite modest in scope, but it’s nonetheless an aesthetically pleasing and highly accessible take on the grand strategy genre. Thanks to the expansion, there are some additional strategic considerations; for example, it’s now possible to trade with other ancient powers like Rome and India, with new tactical abilities being the reward for doing so. There are also new traits and tactical considerations, as well as “outlander” cities to take into account. In practice, a lot of this stuff is fiddling around the edges and enhancing the base game rather than overhauling it or innovating on it, but it’s enough to keep things interesting and varied.
– Matt S.
Find me on Twitter: @mattsainsb