Dynasty Tactics (series)
Dynasty Tactics (三国志戦記 Sangokushi Senki?) is a series of strategy games for the Sony PlayStation 2. The titles are set in the same time-period as several of Koei's other series, including the action-oriented Dynasty Warriors series and the strategy Romance of the Three Kingdoms series. Dynasty Tactics allows players to play as Liu Bei, Cao Cao and Sun Ce, while Dynasty Tactics 2 adds Lü Bu as an unlockable playable character.
Games in the series
The series is set in China, during the Three Kingdoms period. Players take command of one of the three kingdoms and its leaders in a quest to unite all of China under a single ruler. Individual scenarios, with objectives such as conquering certain cities or capitals, are strung together to form a longer campaign (one for each kingdom). In most cases, any generals (and their associated experience levels) acquired during a previous scenario/mission can be carried forward to the next.
Each turn, players plan the moves for multiple units (armies) between locations on the larger strategic map. Players may also use generals to attempt to recruit unaligned generals or to attempt covert operations. During the resolution phase of the turn, any units coming in contact with enemy forces initiate a smaller tactical battle, consisting of some number of friendly and enemy generals, each in command of thousands of troops. Combat typically proceeds until one side has been eliminated, although enemy generals usually slip away when their unit is destroyed, rather than being killed.
With the exception of basic supply line management (i.e. troops caught behind enemy lines cannot replace casualties), the titles contain no additional resource management, research, or city building aspects.
The bulk of the gameplay revolves around the tactical battles between armies. Each general in an army heads up a number of troops, initially equal in number to a thousand times his or her experience level. Troop types can be adjusted during the strategic planning phase, but each unit consists of a single troop type, such as infantry, cavalry or archers. Units also possess a morale value, which can positively or negatively affect their performance.
Generals (and their troops) move individually according to a fixed order, rather than moving as an entire side at once. Once issued, each order or attack is resolved immediately. If a unit is reduced to zero troop strength, it is eliminated from battle. While normal attacks are possible, the majority of attacks in the game are made through the use of tactics.
Each general in the game begins with certain tactics, and can also learn additional tactics. A certain number, based on the level of the general, can be readied for use in battle ahead of time. Once a tactic is used, it normally cannot be used again for the remainder of the battle, although tactics can be restored through various means. Tactics consist of a position and orientation for the initiating unit versus the target unit, as well as an effect. For example, a "Charge" tactic might require that one be next to and facing an enemy unit, and the result might be that, after damage is dealt, the friendly unit moves forward one space while the enemy unit moves backward one space. While the majority of tactics are offensive, some tactics are intended for use on friendly units, for example, to raise the morale of all adjacent units. The effectiveness of a tactic depends on the statistics of the general using it.
When tactics inflict damage, they almost always inflict more damage than a normal attack would. However, in order to increase tactic effectiveness, they can also be chained together. A tactic chain is initiated by using a tactic, and in doing so, causing the pre-condition for the tactic of a nearby friendly general to be fulfilled. Thus, an archer "Volley" tactic might drive an enemy unit backwards into another general who has a ready "Charge", automatically activating this tactic. As the chain increases, the damage done by each tactic also increases. In this way, careful planning can lead to massive amounts of damage being dealt to the opposing force.
Differences between titles
Dynasty Tactics 2 generally expands upon the original Dynasty Tactics, with relatively little of the original game being replaced with entirely new mechanics. Released just a year apart, the graphics are similar between the two titles, although Dynasty Tactics 2 does add Dolby Pro-Logic II audio. Some of the other additions include:
- Additional tactics - The newer title includes roughly twice as many tactics as the original.
- City exploration - When in a city, ability to visit training schools and mystics.
- Evaluation system - Play performance evaluation based on various criteria.