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Chinese Game Review: Total War: Three Kingdoms 全面战争:三国


StChris
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Platform(s): PC 

Where to buy: Steam

Release Date: 23rd May 2019

Languages: English and Chinese (both simplified and traditional characters, both audio and text), several other languages too

Chinese Level Required: ?

Proportion of play time where you'll be using Chinese: ?

Specific/specialised Vocab Learned: ?

Trailer: youtubeyouku

 

Quote

Total War: THREE KINGDOMS is the first in the award-winning series to recreate epic conflict across ancient China. Combining a gripping turn-based campaign of empire-building & conquest with stunning real-time battles, THREE KINGDOMS redefines the series in an age of heroes & legends.

 

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For those unfamiliar with the Total War series, here's a brief description of the gameplay. They are basically grand strategy games, mixing turn-based strategic map gameplay, with epic real-time battles. In the turn-based overhead map part of the game, you will research technologies, strengthen your empire by building various buildings, and position your armies for battle:

 

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Whenever any of your armies meet an enemy army on the map, you will be immediately transported to a real-time battle, where you will have to act as general and command your troops to victory:

 

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Until recently, the game was primarily historical based, being set in various periods of history, from Ancient Rome, to Shogunate Japan. But in 2016 the first fantasy-based game, Total War: Warhammer, was released. Three Kingdoms seeks to satisfy both sets of fans, with a more historically based Records mode, and a more fantastical Romance mode, featuring superhero type characters:

 

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There have been many tweaks to the formula throughout the years, and Three Kingdoms is no exception. In my opinion, the most interesting improvement this time round is the 关系 (guanxi - relationship) system. Although the Total War games have always had an RPG-style character development system, it looks to be much more involved now. Anyone familiar with the Romance of the Three Kingdoms story will know that attracting intelligent and capable generals/administrators is vital to success, and the game reflects this with its in depth relationship mechanic. Characters will have personal friendships, rivalries and grudges throughout the game and you will have to decide who to promote, appoint and betray as you seek to maintain loyalty and gain allies in your struggle to unite China:

 

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I think many people here will already be familiar with the Three Kingdoms period and story. For those that aren't, Sega have you covered with this short sponsored video giving you a simplified overview:

 

youtube

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Ok, so you can probably tell from the relative lack of info in the original post that I haven't actually played the game yet. However, I've been a fan of the Total War series since the original came out in the year 2000 and it has pretty positive reviews so far, so I think it's a pretty safe one to recommend.

 

Not surprising given the China setting, Sega/CA have decided to give the game the full Chinese localisation treatment, meaning full text and audio. Going by other games in the series, you will likely encounter lots of vocab regarding troops, building types, character/place names, orders/instructions etc. Also, this game has an in depth character/relationship system, so there will almost certainly be lots of related vocab. I've also heard that the heroes will often taunt each other during battle, so hopefully there will be some opportunities to improve your listening abilities.

 

Unfortunately, my laptop isn't up to running this, so I'll have to wait until I return to the UK and buy a proper PC. If anyone decides to give it a go, then please leave a review here.

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I just won a Limited Edition version of the game :) Though my laptop is also potato, and I don't think that I can negotiate with the IT department at my workplace to install it on my company laptop... The packaging seems nice, though!

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1 hour ago, ZhangKaiRong said:

I just won a Limited Edition version of the game :) Though my laptop is also potato, and I don't think that I can negotiate with the IT department at my workplace to install it on my company laptop... The packaging seems nice, though!

 

Nice! How did you win it? 

 

If you don't manage to convince your company's IT department and are feeling generous, maybe someone else could put that free game code to good use...😀  (not me obviously, with my potato)

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On 5/23/2019 at 3:29 PM, StChris said:

Nice! How did you win it? 

 

If you don't manage to convince your company's IT department and are feeling generous, maybe someone else could put that free game code to good use...😀  (not me obviously, with my potato)

There was a commenting game on a gamer site's Facebook channel and Fortuna smiled at me, they picked me as a winner :) Just received the package via post, so I will unbox it when I get home. I might snatch my girlfriend's laptop to play on.

 

I also saw the news that the game became an insta-hit in China: no wonder that a LoL and DotA fanatic nation with heavy PC preferences gets hooked on a strategic game based on their own history. 

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16 hours ago, ZhangKaiRong said:

There was a commenting game on a gamer site's Facebook channel and Fortuna smiled at me, they picked me as a winner :) Just received the package via post, so I will unbox it when I get home. I might snatch my girlfriend's laptop to play on.

 

I also saw the news that the game became an insta-hit in China: no wonder that a LoL and DotA fanatic nation with heavy PC preferences gets hooked on a strategic game based on their own history. 

 

While it's always been a big selling series, I think it's fair to say that the focus on a Chinese setting this time has enabled it to reach a new level sales-wise:

 

Three Kingdoms breaks Total War records with 1m sold: Strength in the Chinese market pushed Creative Assembly's game to a new launch week record

 

Hope you have fun with the special edition.

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  • 1 year later...

@StChris, I am coming. Although I havent played this game, as a fan of Three Kingdoms and its loyal reader, I have been following this game since it was released until the DLC of Eight Princes. Thus, I would like to analyze this game from two aspects: content and form, of which the former one is used to analyze the game itself and the later one for the Chinese translation. 

 

Content: Actually, I would like to call the foreign production of this kind of Chinese-themed games as cultural appropriation, such as KOEI company's Romance of the Three Kingdoms and CA company's Total War: Three Kingdoms. These games are produced by foreign developers based on their understanding about Chinese history and characters. Then, it poses a problem for the accuracy of the game content. For example, the DLC of Eight Princes tells the chaos in the late Western Jin Dynasty (A.D. 291-306) while Three Kingdoms is the historical period of A.D. 184-280. It means that these eight princes started to chaos after most of the roles of the Three Kingdoms died. In this way, how can this DLC is included within a game named Three Kingdoms. On the other hand, I have to appreciate the creativity of this game partly because the developer is called Creative Assembly. I learn there is a female warlord Zheng Jiang, which is hard to find in the Romance of Three Kingdoms written by Luo Guanzhong. Besides, from my previous playing of Three Kingdoms games, there is no one called this governing an area. Except for this, I wanna tell a joke that was popular when this game was released at the very beginning. Since there is a plot, in which Liu Bei and Liu Hong appear together competing for dominating the world, those players would choose Liu Bei, shouting the slogan of Reviving the Han Dynasty while invading Liu Hong's territory. That's how a royal uncle who was loyal to the Han Dynasty is shaped in this game. 

There are many complaints about these similar content designs and here is one of the links: https://zhuanlan.zhihu.com/p/67183584

 

Form: Here, I would like to analyze how those English information is translated into Simplified Chinese in bad quaility. In spite of the Mainland players' not satisfying with the Simplified Chinese translation, the Traditional one is quite nice and most players like it. The following words are from Tieba, which is a kind of forums for posters' exchanging ideas. And here is the link: http://c.tieba.baidu.com/p/6525245456?pn=2. However, the poster doesnt show the source text and I can only comment on the target text. 

TT 1: “不仅是一位声名显赫的将军--也许是黄巾军的祸根--而且还是一位精通文法的作家。” Here, I assume this sentence was directly translated by machine translation because the logic is confused. And I also guess this source text should be "not only a famous general, maybe the bane of the Yellow Scarf Army, but aslo an excellent writter" something like this. There is a parenthesis in this sentence, located between two commas. The role of parenthesis in English is apposition that is used to supplement the modified sentence components. However, it can not be simply translated into Chinese with two commas or hyphens since the function of brackets in Chinese is similar to the parenthesis. This is a minor mistake about the punctuation. 

TT 2: "一个有前途的年轻头脑". The source text should be "a promising young mind", which is to describe a scholar. The term mind is directly translated into 头脑 instead of being paraphrased as "人" or “学者”. The feeling of reading this official translation is like playing a fresh brain in front of you and waiting for your recognition. 

TT3: "你会用英俊的外表眩晕他们吗?" The source text may be "will you stun them with a handsome appearance", in which the term stun is a verb. However, the term 眩晕 in Chinese is always used as a noun or adjective, such as 我不久前得了眩晕(症)(I got vertigo a few days ago) or 我感到眩晕 (I feel stunned). Well, in this official translation, 眩晕 is used as a verb so that a native speaker may feel weird when reading it because its usage is far from our daily one. 

 

Nevertheless, I also heard that this dissatisfied translation was produced by a reorganized translation team, of which every member was quite new and unfamiliar with others. Therefore, our players should give them some time and forgiveness and expect their better performance. 

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@If_IwasaLinguist Thanks for chiming in about this game.

 

Don't take the historical inaccuracies to heart, it has always been like that (I believe the creators describe the games as "authentic rather than accurate"). I remember playing a lot of the first Rome version back in the early 2000s, and that was full of inaccuracies too. CA is a British company, but they still added units such as "head hurlers". I mean, I'm sure the barbarian tribes may have thrown the heads of captured enemies to intimidate the opposing army on occasion, but having entire parts of your army made up of such units is a little fanciful. The developers definitely prioritise fun over historic accuracy.

 

I'm surprised that there was such a large difference in quality between the simplified and traditional translations. I would have assumed that they would just make a single simp/trad translation first, and then simply machine translate the result into the other one. It seems a little wasteful to do two separate Chinese translations. If the traditional is so much better, then I will choose that whenever I get around to playing the game.

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