Watch Cao Cao drop the hammer in this Total War: Three Kingdoms gameplay video

Earlier this week, the first "in-engine cinematic" for Total War: Three Kingdoms introduced Cao Cao, a leader with a talent for grand speeches and strategy. Today, we've got a new gameplay trailer that demonstrates what he's capable of in a fight.

THE SCENE: Xiapi. Lü Bu is encamped within. He's one of the greatest warriors of the era but he's isolated from his allies, and the master strategist Cao Cao sees an opportunity to eliminate him before his power becomes too great. Laying siege to the city, Cao Cao smashes the walls, then launches his attack. The defenders hold the line until heavy cavalry arrives, led by a guy who ate his own eyeball to make a point. (Seriously.) The rout is on!  

But Xiahou Dun, the eyeball guy, has a personal beef with Lü Bu, and so it's not enough to simply crush his forces and sack his city. The two meet in a duel, a new feature in Total War: Three Kingdoms, to settle their differences one on one. The mechanics of dueling aren't clear in the video, but they'll enable players to "single out an enemy combatant, and turn the tide of battle." 

Total Wars: Three Kingdoms was initially expected to be out this fall, but was pushed back this week (when the cinematic came out, in fact) to the spring of 2019. We got some hands-on time with the game recently that you can dive into here

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.