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As the name suggests, this is the fifth game in the epic Romance of the Three Kingdoms series and although it is undoubtedly an exhaustive bit of strategy fun, be aware that it has never been officially translated into English. So, unless you're fluent in either Chinese or Japanese, you might want to look at Civilization or Rise and Rule of Ancient Empires instead. The game is similar to previous entries in the series, being a turn-based historical strategy game, where you control one of several military leaders and seek to take control of China by defeating all the others and then uniting the country. This requires a mix of skills, including diplomacy, trading and military might, and you're going to need to be good at all of them if you are to succeed. There are a couple of new features here for those who played earlier versions, including the Reputation parameter, which measures public opinion of your leader, while there is also an eight player option, where human players take control of each of the leaders. Language issues aside, this is a pretty solid entry in the strategy genre. It doesn't offer much that is radically new for the series, and is a familiar mix of elements but which is executed reasonably well. It's quite an absorbing game and gives you plenty to get your teeth stuck into, while the variety of skills needed means it's suited for varying types of player. The visuals are nothing to get excited about but certainly do their job well enough, and overall this is a solid if unspectacular entry into the series.
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