Total War: Three Kingdoms – A World Betrayed

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Total War: Three Kingdoms – A World Betrayed Game Poster Image
Strong, smaller expansion wraps up the Three Kingdoms era.

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Kids say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Game is loosely based on key Three Kingdoms era in Chinese history. But these stories are exaggerated and romanticized to the point of myth. Gameplay actions can also cause events to diverge greatly from actual history.

Positive Messages

This expansion deals with aftermath of events of Romance of the Three Kingdoms, with characters looking to fill power vacuum. Some have more noble aspirations than others, but it's a world where diplomacy, combat, betrayals are the norm.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Some factions, old and new, are motivated by honorable goals such as protection of their people. But whether they are noble or simply power hungry, their ultimate goals are similar: to defeat opposition and carve out their own slice of Chinese empire to rule.

Ease of Play

A World Betrayed adds new factions and warlords, plus new campaign that takes place after events of the main game. Franchise's signature mix of micromanagement can be overwhelming for novice players. Also, jumping into expansion can be jarring for those who haven't completed the main campaign or have taken one of the alternate paths from history.


Combat is a key component, alongside various diplomatic mechanics. While proper diplomacy can prevent some conflicts, combat between warring factions is inevitable. Lots of brutality in these scenes, especially when players zoom the camera tightly in on the action. Cutscenes show more detailed depictions of violence, including impalement, other graphic death scenes.


A World Betrayed is a paid downloadable expansion pack, requiring players to have the main Total War: Three Kingdoms game to play.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Total War: Three Kingdoms – A World Betrayed is a paid expansion for the tactical strategy game Total War: Three Kingdoms, and is available for download on Windows-based PCs. The game serves as a sequel chapter, taking place in the aftermath of the events of the main game. It also introduces a new faction to the mix while updating existing factions to represent their standing after the resolution of the Three Kingdoms conflicts. Gameplay requires a lot of reading, an understanding of statistics, and lots of micromanagement of forces. Violence is a core component to gameplay, with characters using a variety of weapons against each other in brutal ways, shown both on the battlefield and in the game's various cutscenes.

User Reviews

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Teen, 13 years old Written byTotorothebro January 18, 2021

This game is dope!

I think that there are some parts that are a little disturbing when a like baby come into the room with bodies piled up, but you rarely ever have to fight battl... Continue reading

What's it about?

TOTAL WAR: THREE KINGDOMS – A WORLD BETRAYED is the closing chapter of the Total War: Three Kingdoms saga. The epic conflict between warlords for control of China seemingly came to a close with the death of the tyrant Dong Zhuo at the hands of his adopted son, Lü Bu. But while the Romance of the Three Kingdoms might be over, there's still a vacuum of power left behind in its wake. To fill this void, new factions will rise and old factions will adapt to a new and evolving future for the empire. A World Betrayed adds to the Total War: Three Kingdoms experience with two new factions with their leaders, Lü Bu and Sun Ce, bringing the total number of available factions to 13. Also, the expansion adds unique new units, new gameplay mechanics, new events and story, and a new campaign start date of 194 CE, two years after the assassination of Dong Zhuo brought about the end of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

Is it any good?

Historically speaking, wars might end, but that doesn't mean fighting won't linger. That's the case with Total War: Three Kingdoms – A World Betrayed, which serves as an expansion to Total War: Three Kingdoms' gameplay and a final epilogue to the Three Kingdoms story. The content here doesn't pick up until well after the events of the main campaign. Considering that the previous expansion was a prequel, allowing players to take their early progress through the main campaign, there's a little disappointment that this expansion is pretty much self-contained and limited to the events of a post-Three Kingdoms China. It's understandable, since time travel wasn't exactly available during the first century. Having said that, the expansion does still offer up a fair amount of content to tie up some of the loose ends from the campaign while still bringing something fresh to the overall experience.

The new units introduced here for both Lü Bu and Sun Ce genuinely feel unique. For example, Lü Bu's Camp Crushers look and feel powerful, carving a large swath through enemies with their massive swords. The new abilities are also interesting. Sun Ce's Reckless Luck is particularly fun, encouraging players to take a much more aggressive stance in gameplay. Existing warlords have also gotten some tweaks and such, but nothing dramatically different from what players are already used to. Finally, the additional story campaign is engaging and fun, but not terribly lengthy. The previous Mandate of Heaven expansion gave players a reason to revisit the entirety of the Total War: Three Kingdoms game. By comparison, A World Betrayed winds up feeling less like a complete package and more like the encore performance, although a good one, after the main concert is over.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in a historic context. Is the impact of the violence in Total War: Three Kingdoms – A World Betrayed affected by the fact that it's based on conflicts that happened hundreds of years ago? How has warfare and combat changed throughout history? What can we learn from the events of the past to keep similar acts from happening again in the future?

  • What are some ways that films, games, and other media based on historic events can encourage audiences to learn more about those events outside of entertainment? How can fictional representations or even alternate versions of historic events potentially confuse audiences?

Game details

  • Platforms: Windows
  • Price: $9.99
  • Pricing structure: Paid
  • Available online? Available online
  • Developer: Sega of America
  • Release date: March 19, 2020
  • Genre: Strategy
  • Topics: Adventures, History
  • ESRB rating: T for Violence
  • Last updated: April 24, 2020

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