Reigns: Three Kingdoms Review – Swipe Left to Survive

Exploring the Han Dynasty in Reigns: Three Kingdoms

Nerial’s card-swiping series returns with its newest entry, Reigns: Three Kingdoms, which takes a bold leap beyond the familiar settings of kings, queens, and the land of Westeros. In this installment, players find themselves in the year 2024, taking on the role of a character who, with the guidance of a woman named Lucy, embarks on a simulation journey into the waning years of the Han Dynasty. This unique premise allows players to rise from ordinary citizens with futuristic knowledge to potentially becoming the emperor or empress of ancient China.

Reigns: Three Kingdoms

Reigns: Three Kingdoms offers an array of roles beyond the royal title – from a governor to a duke or duchess and even a Buddhist monk. However, achieving these positions comes with its own set of challenges, as the game is fraught with dangers like betrayal and rebellions, which could lead to a sudden and gruesome end.

The Gameplay Mechanics of Reigns: Three Kingdoms

In line with its predecessors, “Reigns: Three Kingdoms” is a game where survival is fleeting. Players make decisions by swiping through a deck of cards, each choice impacting four critical bars on the screen: army strength, wealth, charisma, and values. This mechanic requires a delicate balancing act; failing to maintain equilibrium in these aspects results in the death of your character, leading to a restart in the simulation as a new figure, potentially related to your previous character.

The game begins at a measured pace but can quickly escalate in intensity. During my gameplay, I often found myself on the brink of disaster, struggling to maintain my growing army and virtues. The frustration is palpable when a misstep leads to the premature end of a character, especially when it interrupts the pursuit of specific goals.

A Set of Complex Deeds to Complete

Reigns Three Kingdoms 2

The core objective in Reigns: Three Kingdoms is to accomplish a list of challenging deeds. These tasks range from accumulating items to converting to different religions. The difficulty lies in making the next decision without inadvertently sealing your character’s fate. I found that pausing and contemplating the implications of each choice, like resolving a citizen dispute or assisting a troubled child, eventually led to sound decisions that prolonged my character’s survival in the dynasty.

However, players must be cautious. Not all decisions have positive outcomes. Sometimes, irrespective of your choice, your critical bars will be affected, a predicament I frequently encountered during my reigns in the Han Dynasty.

Introducing the Art of Dueling in Reigns: Three Kingdoms

A notable addition to “Three Kingdoms” is the concept of dueling. Players can form a group of up to nine NPC warriors, selecting a few for each duel. The objective is to deplete the enemy’s resources before they do the same to yours, often by exploiting weaknesses in their ranks. These duels are challenging, requiring strategic planning and quick adaptation to enemy tactics. Despite their difficulty, I found that identifying and targeting vulnerabilities in the enemy ranks often led to narrow but satisfying victories.

Dueling also extends to the game’s multiplayer mode, allowing players to engage in battles against others with formidable groups. This feature adds a refreshing dynamic to the game, enhancing both the pace and challenge of the Reigns experience.

Exploring Diverse Regions of China

Reigns: Three Kingdoms expands on the travel aspect, offering visits to various parts of China like Jingzhou, Chang’an, and Luoyang. Each location introduces unique events, enriching the gameplay experience. However, travel isn’t always under player control; it often requires an ally’s invitation following the initiation of a new event. To aid in navigation and event completion, the game includes event trackers, indicating where and when certain activities take place, thereby reducing confusion and frustration among players.

Reigns: Three Kingdoms offers a compelling dive into the Han Dynasty, where each decision could be your last. The game encourages thoughtful decision-making, requiring players to frequently check and balance the four critical aspects of their reign. This constant threat of demise keeps players engaged and on their toes, providing a thrilling and challenging gaming experience.

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Reigns: Three Kingdoms is a masterful continuation of the Reigns series, offering a unique blend of historical intrigue and strategic gameplay. Its innovative mechanics, coupled with the rich historical backdrop of the Han Dynasty, provide an immersive experience. The addition of new elements like dueling and expanded travel opportunities further enhance the game’s appeal. Players looking for a game that combines strategy, history, and the thrill of survival will find Reigns: Three Kingdoms an excellent choice. Its ability to keep players constantly engaged, balancing on the edge of survival, makes it a standout title in the strategy genre. Whether you are a fan of the Reigns series or new to the franchise, Reigns: Three Kingdoms is a journey worth embarking on, offering hours of challenging and engaging gameplay.

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A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

Reigns: Three Kingdoms (PC)

Fans of the previous Reigns games will enjoy this new title which improves on certain aspects from it's previous entries and adds new mechanics to keep the series fresh. With new deeds and goals to reach, Reigns Three Kingdom will cause players to spend countless hours completing every task at hand as they live through the final years of the Han Dynesty... If they manage to live that long.

The Good

  • Unique Historical Setting: The game sets players in the Han Dynasty, offering a fresh historical backdrop different from previous installments.
  • Strategic Gameplay Mechanics: Decision-making impacts critical aspects like army strength, wealth, charisma, and values, creating a challenging balancing act.
  • Innovative Dueling System: The addition of a dueling concept, both in single-player and multiplayer modes, introduces new strategic dimensions to the game.

The Bad

  • Frustration from Sudden Character Deaths: The game’s survival aspect can be frustrating, as missteps lead to sudden character deaths and restarting the simulation.
  • Difficulty in Achieving Objectives: Completing complex deeds and tasks can be difficult, adding to the game's overall challenge.
  • Complex Decision-Making: Making choices without adversely affecting the character’s fate can be challenging, potentially leading to frequent restarts.
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