It all comes down to this. Your army is ready. The battle-lines are drawn. Your general has made his speech. Across the battlefield, your enemy awaits. But what’s your first move? Should you charge into the fray and try to shock your opponent into a rout? Or should you thin out their ranks first with archers? Should you keep your general back to command your troops, or throw him into the thick of the fighting, hoping his unique abilities can turn the tide in your favour?
All these questions and more are answered in our final video exploring the world of Total War: Three Kingdoms. Esports Legend Paul ‘RedEye’ Chaloner acts as our guide one last time as we delve into what happens in Three Kingdoms when sword and spear clash.
As with previous Total War games, battle tactics are still built around effective unit counters. In Three Kingdoms, many of these are as you would expect. Cavalry will cut through a unit of archers with little effort. Throw them against a wall of spearmen, however, and you’re going to have a lot of empty stables when your army returns home.
As the video explains, however, Three Kingdoms adds more depth and nuance to how units can function. Axemen, for example, are no longer a straightforward infantry unit, but a bespoke type of soldier that gains certain bonuses in particular situations. For example, they are much more effective at cutting through defensive barricades than sword or spear infantry.
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In addition, if you play Three Kingdoms in Romance Mode, then your generals can play a much more offensive role during battles, and thus form a lynchpin in your battle tactics. Generals can take on entire units on their own, wreaking havoc upon the enemy lines through their special abilities. They can shatter formations with powerful area-of-effect attacks, or provide huge boosts to your own units with offensive and defensive buffs.
Generals in your army can also turn the tide of battle by engaging in one-one-one duels with their counterparts. These duels play out automatically, although you can try to give your character an edge by triggering their abilities during the fight. Defeating enemy generals in single combat will deal a massive morale blow to the units under their command, potentially crippling a third of their army in one fell swoop. Of course, it’s worth bearing in mind that duelling is by no means a guarantee of success, so you want to make sure you character has the best chance possible before committing them to such a fight.
For the complete explanation of how battles work in Total War: Three Kingdoms, watch the full video above. Also, be sure to check out our other videos exploring the world, characters, relationships and armies that makes Three Kingdoms the most ambitious and distinctive Total War yet.