Join us as we take a look at the latest expansion for Total War: Three Kingdoms called The Furious Wild. We also revisit The Riftbreaker by EXOR Studios, a year after our original preview.
Total War: Three Kingdoms – The Furious Wild is out now
There seem to be two flavors of Total War games these days – self-contained titles like the recently released Troy or the even grander experiences that the developer keeps building on. The Warhammer crossovers were great examples, and Total War: Three Kingdoms fits into that category as well. Its latest expansion, The Furious Wild, features a more or less contained campaign, but it’s one that later branches out and seamlessly integrates itself with the larger story we’re already familiar with.
The Furious Wild is about the Nanman people and features a campaign that starts in either the year 190 or four years later – which makes a difference mostly in terms of how much you want to shape the events in the ‘prelude’ phase, before your exploits connect with those of the Han dynasty. You start by picking one of four leaders of a tribe – all of which belong to the Nanman culture.
With outside threats looming on the horizon, the call to unite the tribes gets stronger and stronger, and each leader will push to claim more and more territory through alliances and conquest, thus creating a Nanman kingdom that is hopefully strong enough when the time comes. Which leader you choose affects your gameplay style and approach, with different units and perks available to you – encouraging replays much like the base game did. In that sense, it’s good to point out that The Furious Wild is the largest expansion for Three Kingdoms to date.
While the Nanman ultimately conceded in real life, your goal is to make sure you’re not overrun by the Han empire, and you have a few interesting tools at your disposal that can help you. The homeland for the Nanman is the jungle, and while it’s a level playing ground during the preliminary campaign phase this means you’ll see some interesting clashes once you lock horns with the Han. Animals play a large role here, and although it borders on fantasy it feels pretty great to send an armada of tigers after the opposing troops. There’s a very tribal feel to the Nanman, and it shows in both their combat abilities and their way of life – both of which clash nicely with the Han.
The Total War: Three Kingdoms – The Furious Wild expansion is the largest and perhaps most interesting one yet for the game. It doesn’t rely as much on the intrigue and politics as the base game did, but the clash of cultures and styles is one that really reignited my interest in the game.
The Riftbreaker progress report
It seems like ages ago at this point, but the last game we had a physical Gamescom appointment for was The Riftbreaker by EXOR Studios. We wrote a preview for the game last year, but a lot has happened since then and the game is now approaching the later stages of development. We briefly went hands on with it last year already, but had another chance recently when we tried a brand new build of the game.
We also checked out the changelogs for the most recent updates for the game, and a massive amount of work has been done since last year’s Gamescom demo. While many of these are updates and optimizations to the various gameplay elements as well as little UI tweaks, what stood out to us most of all was how much richer and vibrant the visuals were compared to a year ago.
Where last year’s build was a fairly basic demo that showcased some of the mechanics that go into The Riftbreaker, the landscapes we now traversed were full of color and life, with lush vegetation providing a nice contrast with your own, more industrial, base-building exploits. Things like lighting and particle effects have also been drastically improved, making for much nicer clashes and explosions.
But perhaps what is best of all is the fact that you can now try all this out for yourself! A demo for The Riftbreaker is available through Steam, as a prologue chapter that introduces the core mechanics and showcases how good this top-down hybrid of gameplay styles looks and feels. It’s scheduled for release later this year.