Maybe you’ve heard of Romance of the Three Kingdoms 13 — not only has the historical strategy series been around for a while, it also has several spin-offs, such as Dynasty Warriors. Well, now Romance of the Kingdoms is tearing up the Steam charts.
Based on the 14th century Chinese historical novel, the first Romance of the Three Kingdoms was released in Japan for the Amiga in 1985 by Koei Tecmo. Since then, the series has amassed a loyal fanbase — which explains why a niche title is doing so well on Steam right now, beating out more well-known games, such as Grand Theft Auto V.
Curiously, the game hasn’t been translated to English — which makes it hard for Westerners to play the game. Unless, of course, you happen to know either Japanese or Chinese. It doesn’t seem like a stretch to suggest the game’s success is likely being propelled largely by Steam’s Asian market, given the language barrier and subject material. It’s kind of cool to see the Steam charts reflect more than typical Western tastes, though.
The price-point may seem remarkable — $US89.99 is way above what a typical PC title on Steam costs — but it’s not so unusual for Romance of the Three Kingdoms. It’s about on par for what these games retail for overseas, too. Also, it’s worth noting that Romance of the Three Kingdoms 13 celebrates the series’ 30th anniversary, so it’s a bit of a special entry in the franchise.
From the game’s store page:
The ultimate depiction of the Three Kingdom. A heroic drama of a gathering of Legends.” Based on this concept for Romance of the Three Kingdoms 13, we have compiled an experience that will immerse the player deep into the historically turbulent world of the Three Kingdoms, with “human drama,” seen through daily interactions both on the battlefield and off between the many heroic characters of the time (all playable), “spectacular battles” shown in majestic battle scenes, “dynamism” expressed across the great land of China in full 3D as each character plots and battles to expand their territory, and much more.
Players will become one of the heroes that lived during the time of the Three Kingdoms and through their actions and decisions will forge their own unique history in that turbulent yet period.
And, in case you need a quick lesson on what, exactly, the Romance of the Three Kingdoms is based on, here’s a Wikipedia excerpt:
The story — part historical, part legend, and part mythical — romanticises and dramatises the lives of feudal lords and their retainers, who tried to replace the dwindling Han dynasty or restore it. While the novel follows hundreds of characters, the focus is mainly on the three power blocs that emerged from the remnants of the Han dynasty, and would eventually form the three states of Cao Wei, Shu Han, and Eastern Wu. The novel deals with the plots, personal and military battles, intrigues, and struggles of these states to achieve dominance for almost 100 years.
Romance of the Three Kingdoms is acclaimed as one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature; it has a total of 800,000 words and nearly a thousand dramatic characters (mostly historical) in 120 chapters.The novel is among the most beloved works of literature in East Asia, and its literary influence in the region has been compared to that of the works of Shakespeare on English literature. It is arguably the most widely read historical novel in late imperial and modern China.
And finally, a trailer!
You can check out Romance of the Three Kingdoms 13 on Steam here. Worth noting that while half the reviews berate the game for a launch issue, I was able to download it and play it just fine.