- Total Score - 9/109/10
“Whether playing as the Han Dynasty, or stoking the flames of rebellion with the Yellow Turbans, the Mandate of Heaven expansion is great for new and returning players.”
Developer – Creative Assembly
Publisher – Sega
Release Date – January 16th, 2020
Platforms – PC
Three Kingdoms was a revelation upon it’s release early last year. A game that completely consumed me for months on end.
The combination of the Total War gameplay, married with the Three Kingdoms time period truly created something unique. The sleek interface and refined hero units created compelling, long lasting and satisfying campaigns.
Now Total War is no stranger to dlc or expansions, often releasing several for all of the mainline Total War titles. Three Kingdoms was no exception, and last year it saw the release of the 8 Princes. A great piece of content that explored the fall of the Three Kingdoms, and the mad grab for power within one ruling family.
While 8 Princes went forward, The Mandate of Heaven goes backwards in time. Taking place several years before the start of the normal campaign, Mandate of Heaven starts in the year 182, right at the beginning of the infamous Yellow Turban Rebellion.
This expansion adds the Han Dynasty, and the Yellow Turbans as new factions with several unique leaders each. Alongside the new factions come new faction mechanics, such as fervour and zeal.
Mastery of these new mechanics are how you will either expand the Dynasty, or see the rebellion stoke flames acros the nation to try and pick the larger factions apart piece by piece.
Not to be outdone, the three core leaders of the Three Kingdoms are also updated as well. You can play as Liu Bei before he even has a home of his own, and meet his sworn brothers. Or you can try Cao Cao, and unite under Yuan Shao and then strike out on your own to claim the Han for your own.
The expanded mechanics, and the new starting time isn’t a complete game changer like 8 Princes was, but the way it fleshes out the early moments that caused one of the greatest periods of history is incredible.
It all adds up to making the campaign cohesive and expansive from the beginning to the end, and is easy to recommend for new or returning veterans.
This expansion also comes alongside a free update that brings several big quality of life changes. It also hosts a bevy of new features, units and gameplay styles to enrich the strategic elements of the campaign map and battles alike.
The Mandate of Heaven is a rich, complete expansion with exciting new playstyles, commanders, and variety. This is the definitive Three Kingdoms experience and absolutely worth it for the price.