Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIV: Diplomacy and Strategy Expansion Pack – Review
Follow Genre: Simulation Strategy Wargame
Developer: Koei Tecmo Games
Publisher: Koei Tecmo Games
Platforms: PS4, PC, Switch
Tested on: PS4

Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIV: Diplomacy and Strategy Expansion Pack – Review

Site Score
Good: A huge map to expand into and dominate
Bad: Unpredictable and complex gameplay
User Score
(2 votes)
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Rating: 5.0/10 (2 votes cast)

The most recent of a 35 year series of turn-based tactical role-playing simulation grand strategy wargames, Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIV is, quite simply, the 14th instalment of the games by Koei Tecmo Games (What a mouthful!). Just like their renowned and long-running franchise Dynasty Warriors, Romance of the Three Kingdoms is based on the historical novel of the same name by Luo Guan Zhong. In a detailed environment where your military and political strategies influence the world of the Three Kingdoms, all depicted on a single exquisite map, you always get to choose whether to walk the noble path or the path of conquest… with rulers’ ‘Doctrines’ and officers’ ‘Policies’. And now there is even more content with the Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIV: Diplomacy and Strategy Expansion Pack! Which path will you follow, in the most recent expansion to the series?


Set during the waning years of the Han Dynasty, it tells the tale of rival warlords, heroic feats, amazing duels between historic figures, plots among the political elite, mysticism, and characters upon whom the fate of china rests. Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIV has numerous starting scenarios for you to pick from, from the battles between the Han Dynasty and the Yellow Turbans to the rise of Sima Yi and the foundations of the Jin Dynasty. These historical scenarios are accompanied by a short cinematic giving you a backdrop of the current situation. With famous officers and wonderfully elegant women, over 1000 heroes appear, the most ever in the series, and you can take advantage of each officer’s unique individuality to affect how you manage cities, governors, policies, armies, invasions and some politics. all this combined provides you with a wide variety to how you devise your own strategies and conquer foreign lands.

Overall this series seems comparable to the Total War Games. The Diplomacy and Strategy Expansion Pack is loaded with lots of new possibilities, including trade with great Eurasian empires such as Rome and India, which provide various unique Specialties and Tactics as rewards, allowing for even broader strategies to unfold on a path to unify China. The expansion pack also introduces cities of foreign forces onto the map. Apart from conflicts in the central area, your armies will now need to deal with intensified border clashes, upping the stakes in every skirmish.


The graphics of Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIV are varied between picturesque and underwhelming. On the one hand, we have delightfully drawn visuals of each character with still based cinematics, which are iconic in oriental themed games. On the other, you’ll be staring at a large topographical map with coloured in hexagons and the bare minimum of heavily pixelated features. It is that unfortunately typical sensation of “pretty from far away, but bland up close” that dominates the playing field of this title.


The soundtrack of Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIV is nothing short of magnificent. With oriental orchestral symphonies and operatic ballads in the background, there is a range of emotions. It’s gripping and moving to hear powerful music like this, while a little at odds with the gameplay pace at times, it creates feelings of nostalgia for the early years of Age of Empires, or Age of Mythology. Alongside characters’ individual cries and sounds denoting victory and defeat, we half expect to hear “Wololo” being cried out!


Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIV strives to be a strategic wargame that takes place on a single huge conquerable map. Sadly, it is not the most detailed of maps and the visuals, when compared to similar games on the market, feel like a more complex oriental-themed Risk, albeit with the added depth of characters influencing troop movement. It was a surprise when reading up on the previous installments, seeing all the praise and nostalgia for titles past, the feel of this title was a slow bit by bit coloring in of the map, with so very many random interruptions from officers and characters. Scenes felt few and far between, and many movements from orders put out seemed erratic and unpredictable. We can assume that this is the base game experience.

Managing a whole empire rather than smaller districts is an awe-inspiring feeling, which the game does its best to capitalize on. At every moment, each move must be considered, and political decisions can weaken your position and troop morale. While not to the level of complexity or detail as Civilization, the game proves challenging and engaging. That being said, there are a lot of functions to choose from, which can slow the pace of the gameplay if you are unsure how to implement a strategy. While it is simply a matter of practice makes perfect in most cases, there is a feeling that luck plays a stronger role than strategy. (Like a 99% chance to hit missing in X-com.)

War Chronicles are another addition. The latter is like a mini-campaign mode, where you start on a smaller map and only have a small pool of leaders to choose from. In these mini-campaigns, there are specific victory objectives, limited resources and failure conditions to mee (or avoid). Once completed, you gain a unique officer and a score. The War Chronicles are great for a quick game if you don’t have time for a longer play session, and are a simple means of practicing strategy without starting a whole empire campaign.

Further additions include new elements such as Geographic Advantages and Outlander Cities, making the strategy of conquering land more complex. Geographic Advantages provide penalties on troops based on the characteristics of each province. The appearance of outlander tribes creates intense battles for land when it is least expected, and smaller factions to contend with while trying to manage your forces against the larger opposing kingdoms.

The thing that is surprising as a new player trying to discern the new additions from the base game, is that many of them seem to be standard components in similar games. Quickplay mini-campaigns, terrain advantages, additional factions and characters, are all the features that in games from Total War to Age of Empires, have been simply included from the start.


Overall Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIV seems to benefit a lot from the additional content provided by the Diplomacy and Strategy Expansion Pack. To the point where, as a new player, we wonder about the quality and accessibility of the game without it. While we did enjoy the game overall, it is easy to see it as particularly appealing to long time fans of the series. Without previous knowledge of the series, it seems like a lot to spend on a game when there are more user-friendly, impactful and cheaper games on the market, on any console.

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Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIV: Diplomacy and Strategy Expansion Pack - Review, 5.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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