Total War: Three Kingdoms Eight Princes Review
The new DLC for Total War: Three Kingdoms, Eight Princes, is out and as with all additional content for video games, I will try to answer two questions about your expectations right off the bat: does this downloadable content bring anything new to the table, and is it worth it?
Firing up the DLC will allow you to start a new story separate from your main game where you’ll pick one of eight available princes to lead their army to victory. I chose Sima Ying, a governor beloved by his people. The game description told me he’s a handsome fellow but incredibly stupid. I have a weakness for beautiful, dumb people so I said what the heck and went for it. After my choice I was treated to a beautiful cutscene that sets up the new story. Eight Princes takes place 100 years after the main campaign where the Jin dynasty you worked to build has fallen into disarray and some factions are in support of the Empire or against it. As you play, a new system quickly appears that provides you with four choices called Alignments that each drive a different stat: Wealth, Spirit, Might and Mind.
Whatever choice you pick will also cause your Empress Dowager to approve or disapprove of it, like a rude judge waiting to throw shade at your cause. Let’s just say she was not a big fan of my beautiful idiot as he chose to save lives, recoup towns and build some alliances. The system has further repercussions down the line of your campaign which can provide nice surprises and will determine certain decisions. You’ll also get faction bonuses depending on which stat you choose to max, so Wealth will give you more available money for example. The voice acting and all the pomp that was in the base game is here again in full force and even after my time away from Three Kingdoms I still love it. If anything, Eight Princes’ new cast embraces the absolute whimsy and campiness to an even higher pedigree than the base game.
The sound effects of armies charging at one another, the trash talking between faction heads, it’s still all in top form and I found myself engrossed into the story once more. At least for a bit, anyway. But eventually it all starts to really feel more like a side-story than a full new DLC or expansion. The map is the same, the combat mechanics are the same, and apart from some of the new wrinkles and story beats, this is the game you know already. Even our new Eight Princes are based on the classes of the main game.
So while the new wrinkles of Alignment present some fun twists on gameplay, and being able to become the Emperor yourself is another cool twist, it’s not going to be enough to bring you over if Total War isn’t your jam already. It’s more of the same with some changes throughout to keep it pretty fresh. If you enjoyed the main game and have an itch to come back, I recommend picking up Eight Princes if you were aiming to do another playthrough. If you are waiting for something different and novel to come along and really shake up Three Kingdoms, then I would say hold on to your dynasty hat for the time being.
**A PC code was provided by the publisher**
- Good price point
- Whole new campaign to undertake
- Alignments add depth
- No real groundbreaking changes
- New princes feel a little samey