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Total War: Three Kingdoms scores - our roundup of the critics

The embargo is up so here's what the critics make of the latest historical Total War

Total War: Three Kingdoms on Game Pass: Dong Zhuo holds a sword to a prisoner's throat

Total War: Three Kingdoms releases in just one week’s time and the embargo has just dropped, so it’s time to take a look at the internet and at what the critics reckon.

In our Total War: Three Kingdoms review, our old colleague Phil really enjoyed the deep and thoughtful changes to the strategic layer, which greatly enriched his up-and-down, centuries-long tussle with Yuan Shao. He was less thrilled by the real-time battles, which he felt were lesser than those in Warhammer or previous historical Total Wars.

Fans of the series can likely jump in with confidence, especially if you enjoy the campaign side of things more than the battles (as I do). Thus our score of 7/10 is at the lower end of a nonetheless tight critical consensus: Three Kingdoms is currently enjoying a 79 on OpenCritic and an 83 on Metacritic, with IGN one of the few major outlets to award a score higher than an eight.

Here are the Total War: Three Kingdoms review scores:

Not half bad, then.  Common criticisms include typical strategy niggles, such as AI and the difficulty of explaining what is now the series’ most intricate feature-set. But that won’t be anything new for long-term fans, who will likely enjoy all the added depth and the undoubtedly gorgeous aesthetic.

Related: some of the best strategy games ever have been Total Wars

The Total War: Three Kingdoms release date is May 23 – one week from today. If you’re already sold, here’s the Steam page, where it will set you back $59.99 (£44.99).

If you’d like to read more in the meantime, did you know Three Kingdoms has dragons? They’re a new category of multi-role elite unit, inspired by mixing elements from the Wu Xing system that underpinned Chinese thought at the time – click here to learn about their design and browse some screenshots.