Reigns: Three Kingdoms

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Reigns: Three Kingdoms (Steam) – Review

Reigns: Three Kingdoms is a roguelike game that takes you on a journey through historical political strategy. The game begins in the Han Dynasty of China, during the Yellow Turban Rebellion, a significant peasant revolt that marked the beginning of the end of the Han Dynasty.

From there, it transitions into the Three Kingdoms era, a period of disunity and conflict that has been the focus of many games, including the long-running series Dynasty Warriors and the recent release Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty. This particular instalment of the Three Kingdoms era was developed by Nerial and published by our good friends over at Devolver Digital.

When the game starts, players find themselves in the year 2024 as they are introduced to a lady named Lucy. She briefly explains that you have chosen to partake in the simulation, and then proceeds to knock you out having you awaken in the Han Dynasty with no idea of what is happening. You will be thrown into choices of interactions with known characters based on historical warriors such as Cao Cao, Lui Bei, and many others from Chinese history.

Players will make choices on topics by swiping cards for the answer, which can have a minor or significant impact and will result in how your demise will happen; there are four merits the player will be judged on wealth, army, charisma, and values. The ideal style to play would be to try to keep it all balanced as if they fall too much, or if you are known for one thing over the other, it will give you a death reflecting your leadership style and will restart the simulation as you will then be a distant relative to the last ruler.

The core objective is to clear challenging deeds, which can range from swapping religious views of the land, to being given specific titles to define the role of the character, such as warlords and more royal positions. At the same time, there is a heavy lean toward choices to better the land and the people you will have to fight. Combat is done with cards that reflect followers you have gained or hired to assist you in battle.

Each card will have an attack point and health counter, some cards will have unique icons next to the icon for attack or health, and some characters will gain a shield after a hit, which will negate direct damage and attack. For example, a character on horseback will have three arrows next to the attack stat which means it can attack in three directions.

The combat phase is played out within three turns as you rotate the cards in a circle to declare who is attacking, and how you win the fight by knocking out the cards and attacking the supplies in the middle of the card circle.

There is multiplayer to face off against other players and the cards they have collected. Sadly, I was unable ever to find a player to verse when I went into the instant match.

The animation is very basic as it is a card game that has downscaled details on the cards, but certain character designs will be unique when it comes to historical icons. Guan Yu was easy to spot and tell it was his card for example, the background art does change depending on what locations you are in but in terms of graphics and animation there ain’t much to be had. The audio does come across as fairly barren, also it could use some mild music when you are picking answers to topics, the combat sounds are ok but again needs music to be with it.

In conclusion, for a roguelike deck-building game, Reigns: Three Kingdoms is fun and has an outstanding balance of trying to keep the player as loyal as they could to their people in a leadership position; the concept was good, but overall, it felt lacking in some sections mainly audio wise for myself.

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The Good

  • Great concept
  • Features historic icons
  • Good use of stats to balance
  • Easy combat concept

The Bad

  • Easily repetitive
  • Lack of game audio
  • Graphically bland

Written by: Shane Walsh


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