Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIII Review

Review Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIII | For the first time the Romance of the Three Kingdoms (RTK13) comes to the Xbox console with number thirteen in the series. The game is based on the romanticized historical novels set in Chinese history from the end of the Han Dynasty to the Three Kingdoms period. But how does it play? Let’s find out.


  • Has a good historical feel, especially if you have read, or intend to read, the Romance of the Three Kingdoms novels as that will add more flavour and understanding. For those unfamiliar, think of a Game of Thrones in ancient China, based on actual events.
  • Offers more than just combat, a comprehensive system of diplomacy and relationship means you can win some conflicts by writing letters and presenting gifts.
  • Contains a lot of hours of gameplay. Hero mode acts as a sort of tutorial in a series of scenarios that introduce you to systems to the main game where you can tweak settings to make it more or less historical if you want. Every scenario is basically an entire campaign in itself, so if you play through everything, you can spend hundreds of hours.
  • Potentially offers a lot of replayability. You can play the exact same scenario again but pick some different settings or just try to win it in a different way.
  • There is a lot of customizing and settings, far more than what you typically see on a console. You can even set different background music tracks for dozens of specific events, like “battle: winning city/checkpoint battle”.


  • With all the person names flying at you, it is very easy to sometimes lose track on what is going on when it comes to diplomacy. I have had issues sometimes trying to figure out who is where on the screen where you can send letters to other heroes.
  • The game is rather expensive; especially considering this is a first entry on the Xbox One. Having said that, if you do let yourself get absorbed with this title, you’ll definitely get your money’s worth in playing time.
  • While the interface works pretty well, it will probably take you some time to get how to navigate to some parts of the screen. Reading the written tutorials, not just playing the tutorial games, is highly recommended.
  • You have to option of either controlling battles directly or let the computer play them out while you do other things like city management or even control forces elsewhere. The difference in results between these is too big if you ask me. Using a save game I played the same battle both ways, and the computer made me lose half my troops while I only lost five percent of them when managing units myself.


  • When playing the main game, you usually need to win through unifying all of China by beating everyone else. This means that the last part of a scenario can feel really dragged out, as by then it will be obvious you’re going to win before that happens.
  • This game is not easy to get into if you have never played any of the games in this series before. Some game systems are a bit obscure. Even things that are clear in a tutorial are harder to understand in a full scenario. If you are not a die-hard strategy fan or planning to become one, this game probably isn’t for you.
  • Though for most people not the biggest factor in strategy games like this, the graphics are unlikely to blow you away. When you zoom in on units during combat, the visuals are rather disappointing. Story scenes are mostly told using static pictures.
  • It’s not easy to micro-manage units during battles you control, especially when there are a lot of them close to each other. Until you get better at this, you will have to pause a lot.

Score: 74% | Between the historical setting and the strategic depth RTK13 offers there isn’t really much competition in this genre on the Xbox One. If you can look past the high price of entry and are up for a very involved strategy game that doesn’t do much hand-holding, Romance of the Three Kingdoms can keep you entertained for a good amount of time.

Patrick spent 43 hours on the game before writing the review, earning 210 Gamerscore. Thanks to Koei Tecmo for providing the review code.