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Total War: Three Kingdoms rides again in August with Eight Princes

Three Kingdoms, Eight Princes, Arsenal Nil.

Apparently conquering ancient China once isn't enough for some of you. Fortunately, those still hungry for conflict in Total War: Three Kingdoms only have a few weeks to wait until its first big DLC. Due on August 8th, the Eight Princes chapter pack adds a new campaign continuing some years after the events of the main story, and resumes the war-totalling from the year 291 CE. Unsurprisingly, given the title, Creative Assembly are giving us eight power-hungry princes to play with, and a land once again needing unifying. See the very dramatic debut trailer below.

Despite a relatively low price-point, the Eight Princes campaign sounds like it mixes up the strategic core of the game more than enough for another round. The titular eight princes are the new faction leaders, each with signature units and a play-style tied into a unique resource. Sima Jong plays it straight, with heavily armoured guardsmen and crossbowmen, and his resource is Control. The more you have, the more nobles support you and the more corruption is suppressed, and this can be helped by Sima Jong's unique ability to boot out troublesome ministers.

Cover image for YouTube video

More excitingly, Sima Wei has fast assault units, and has the Fury resource, which you gain through victory and decreases upkeep and increases unit replenishment. Fury decays over time, too, so once you pop, you just can't stop - while not quite a 'mindless horde' faction like some in Total Warhammer, this seems the next best thing.  For all Sima Wei's anger, he can keep people on his side by giving them lavish gifts - turns out he knows exactly what to get people for their birthday.

As well as mixing up how each faction plays, there's a four-way alignment system. The paths of Wealth, Spirit, Might or Mind provide bonuses, and reactions to new events and dilemmas shift your alignment. There's some more sweeping changes, too. Reflecting the era, the public order system is switched out by a measure of support from the nobility. Let it get too low and minor nobles may raise an army in revolt, which sounds a bit tougher to deal with than peasants. Keeping the wealthy in check is harder, to, and a Lu Bu style 'stab everyone complaining' plan doesn't seem viable.

Total War: Three Kingdoms - Eight Princes launches on August 8th for £7/€9/$9 on Steam and Humble. It's published by Sega.

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Dominic Tarason