Developer: Creative Assembly
Release date: 24 May 2016
Drums of war beat in the distance. Hundreds of troops stand side by side, swords drawn, and shields up. Thunder? No the sound approaching is the running of thousands of Orks. Now a new thunder, mortars firing from behind, bouts of fire and corpses fly into the air, shot after shot, thinning the horde as it approaches. One last sound is heard before steel meets steel… “WAAAAAAAAGGGGGHHHH!”
This is just a small description of some of the great things you can see inside Total War: Warhammer, my newest and current addiction. It has been a long time since a game has so thoroughly held my attention as of late. Well there’s one other, but that’s for another time.
I think it’s no surprising fact that I love Warhammer, everything about it has just fascinated me for a long time, the lore and the stories that have come from it. From table top to video games, Total War Warhammer in my opinion gives a good taste and look at the style and kinds of epic battles you’ve only imagined when thinking of fantasy.
I recently got my hands on this game, and I’ve wanted to play it for quite a while, I enjoy total war in general so the notion of a Warhammer fantasy theme sounded absolutely fantastic to me. I can happily report, after quite a bit of time spent with it, that the game is quite amazing, though it does have some issues, but they are mostly nitpicks.
So let’s start off by looking at the basic story of the game itself. One common theme to each story for all the races is simply this. You are the new leader of a city/clan/town etc, and you must work your butt off to bring the world under your control, either by force, or diplomacy. However that’s where the similarities for each race ends. From the start on you’re faced with a different play style and mechanics for each race, and each has its downsides as well as it’s upsides. I’ll give my impressions on each race from my personal experience so far with the game, 50 something hours in.
The Dwarves are probably my preferred to play race, but that does not mean they are the best. The dwarves specialize in long range artillery and gunners. They are also from what I’ve seen the hardest to get rid of unit wise, it takes a lot of work to wither down their unit’s hp and moral wise. The Dwarves also are one of the two factions that have the ability to research tech and upgrades without the requirement of specialized buildings. However they are not without problems. They are probably the slowest race in the entire game, when you engage with dwarves, do not expect to be able to outrun your enemy in any fashion. Campaign map wise, they have a fairly interesting mechanic known as grudges, any action taken against your faction, small or big, will warrant a grudge. If a grudge is not fulfilled and sorted out quick enough, it will begin to cause a massive detriment faction wide.
The Orks play a lot like how you’d expect. You want to raid and fight as much as possible. Building wise you almost need to have something giving public order and everything else giving money, that way you can churn out as many armies as possible. Once that’s sorted you can go about squashing all the other factions with ease. They sound incredibly strong, and such I’m sure, however they’ve got their problems just the same as dwarves. The Ork unit’s tend to not run away as soon as other factions, this is a big problem because it tends to lead to your units getting wiped out completely. On top of that while the Orks are strong melee fighters, their ranged and artillery leaves a lot to be desired. The biggest problem Orks have from gameplay wise, is the fact that they have no diplomatic ability for trade what so ever. The only money you’re getting is from buildings and raids.
The Vampire Counts are a fairly interesting faction, in the early stages they can replenish and raise a full 20/20 army within a turn’s time. They are also very strong when it comes to defending their and provinces. This is due to the vampire corruption that they spread, it causes all races aside from vampires to suffer attrition and losses when having to stay and traverse through their lands. The Vampire Counts also possess a large group of horrors to both demoralize and destroy any who oppose. From a simple bat to the mighty Vargulf, a ghoul to wraiths, their armies are truly that of fear and one to beware of. The Vampire Counts are also the second race that does not require specialized buildings for research on tech. However, they have a very clear and strong weakness. Outside of lands that have vampire corruption, they suffer very heavy attrition. Not only this, but it should be noted, that while their units can hit fairly hard, in my opinion after playing with them, their units seem to die the easiest.
Finally we have the Humble Humans, otherwise known as The Empire. The humans are, in my opinion, one of the most well rounded and versatile factions in the game. They have a little bit for everyone, and offer a lot. However I’ve found that their strength comes from their cavalry units and their ability to charge into enemies and utterly disrupt their formations, I’d argue that the mounted combat is their specialty. Along with this, I found that their heroes are as diverse as them. However at the end of the day, they’re a jack of all trade, master of almost none.
Outside of these races there are a few others that are not included with the base game and must be bought separate as DLC, however these other races will appear in your game still to be interacted with.
Moving forward, let’s talk about the game mechanic’s and what you’ve got to look forward to within this game. I have to say of the total war games that I’ve tried, this has felt the easiest to understand in terms of how everything works in the campaign map. Everything you need to know is shown readily when you need it, and the information of what each thing does is very clearly shown allowing for you to make the best choice possible. As well as this if you need more information you can hover over icons, and it will give a more in depth description of what you’re dealing with. The game also has a nice touch to it for anyone who might not be familiar with the Warhammer universe, the game comes equipped with a window in game that connects to a wiki that gives an very descriptive lore read out on units, and buildings if you happen to be curious about them.
Outside, or rather inside, the main campaign map, you have what I consider to be the main bread and butter of this game, the battles. You can take control of monstrous and incredibly large armies of creatures and units that are shown off in lovely detail, on a massive battlefield. This part of the game comes equipped with view speeds, you can go from normal, 3x speed, to even slow motion so you can zoom in and watch some amazingly brutal moments. You can even pause the encounter at any moment so you can assess what is going on and make the best decisions possible to ensure the best outcome for your battle.
One final thing to note within the games mechanics is, that there is in fact the ability to play a co-op campaign, and there are no restrictions you can play any race co-op-ed with any race, it may make things very interesting, and possibly even difficult depending on combinations.
Now then, while I am absolutely in love with this game, I have to say that it does have some small problems that bothered me while I played it, but they’re not massive issues. The biggest problem I had with the game was the diplomacy and interactions with other factions while playing. More often than not there were times when I got pestered by a group turn after turn to enter a war against another group I just had no interest in fighting at the time, and it becomes easily frustrating when this continues to occur, especially when declining them causes the relationship with the faction to deteriorate to a degree.
Another issue I had was a very lacking system to deal with raiding parties. Many a time I found myself, especially after a certain event occurs, being raided by factions, and unless I declared war upon said factions, I had no real way of getting rid of them, at least from what I’ve experienced, and it was very frustrating to deal with as it causes the settlements in the area to begin to lose control, and it also impacts your income.
To wrap this all up, the game is certainly far from perfect, and it can feel daunting to try to get into it if you have no experience with the Warhammer Fantasy universe at all, but I encourage you that if you’re interested in this game, to give it a try and see if you like it, I personally had and will probably be, having a blast with it. If you’re a fan of Warhammer, you’ll love getting to play as factions you know, and getting to control massive armies of those factions. If you love Total War, there’s plenty here for you to sink your teeth into.
You can pick this game up on Windows, Linux, and Mac for 59.99 USD or your regional equivalent
Total War: Warhammer has a Pegi rating of 16, and an ESRB of T for Teen.