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I have to start with a couple of disclaimers for this one. Firstly, Iím only thirty or so hours into Warhammer: Total War - monster of a game - having tried out only two of the factions so far. That's nowhere near enough time. Secondly, my knowledge of Warhammer is twenty years out of date. People tell me that Games Workshop has done some funny things with their toy line since then, but from what I can gather the Total War version is fortunately a bit old fashioned.
I`ve played most of the Total War games, and Warhammer is a perfect fit into the core premise of the series, where in every iteration, the player steps into the shoes of an obsessively expansionist Emperor whoís just been handed an atlas to colour in. Warhammer expands on this by introducing a ton of new ideas to freshen things up.
Chief of these is the fantasy setting`s diverse races and armies. The Napoleon or Shogun Total War games essentially offer identical factions, and youíre basically just picking between a couple of buffs and the colours of the soldierís uniforms. In Warhammer, you can end up with an army of monster bats fighting Arthurian Knights, steampunk dwarven aircraft, and comedy illiterate orcs. On top of that, your tactical approach to fighting is heavily dictated by the faction you pick; maybe you hit and run with your army of fragile elven archers, or hold the line with heavily armoured dwarves, or simply send wave after wave of trashy zombies. There is something to appeal to everyone. For me, I fell in love with the Vampire Counts; a faction of Hammer Horror style villains who slowly coat the landscape with dead trees and spooky castles as their corruption spreads. Their gimmick is that they can instantly bring an undead army out of the ground, but also if their leader falls in battle, so too will the whole horde.
The other big addition is magical heroes. In principle they serve in battle by raining spells down on your enemies. In practise, itís a pig to micromanage these guys, and in the crucial few seconds youíre trying to figure out which spell is which, your hero is getting torn through like toilet paper. In fact, this is the big flaw with Warhammer; battles happen way too fast. They are over in a couple of minutes, with both sides slamming everything theyíve got into one another. You only have moments to make a few frantic decisions before the whole thing is over, which isn`t very satisfying for creaky old armchair generals like me. Fortunately, it is simplicity itself to install a mod from the steam workshop to slow down the pace of battle, which is what I went and did. There sadly isn`t a mod to remove the rubbish game title, or some of the weakly written humour the game works in, but I guess that is integral to the setting and tone.
I donít hesitate recommending Total War: Warhammer to anyone. These two franchises are a match made in heaven.
I could go on and on how amazing these titles are, but i'll just say I can't play history Total War games anymore. The sheer variety on display from all the factions, the amazing models and animations, it's just so amazing. Just watching two lines clash, the magical explosions, the monsters roaring, and everything is just such a treat to watch. I hope Creative Assembly will be making content for this game for years to come.
Just watch Mandalore's review of it.
When I heard that SEGA had acquired the Warhammer Fantasy license, I was overjoyed. I had longed to play Warhammer Fantasy before, but previous adaptations were lackluster and the actual tabletop game was overpriced. It was a relief that Creative Assembly could give the franchise the justice it deserved.
Unfortunately, the final product does little more than the bare minimum for this task. While Total War: Warhammer is a functional, playable, and generally fun game, it wastes the potential both of the license it is based on, and of the franchise as a whole.
Perhaps the biggest problem I have with TW:W is how shallow the campaign is. Features from previous titles, such as seasons, naval battles, family trees, and internal politics are all stripped out completely. This is most notable in the Empire's campaign, which is easily the worst of the playable factions. The Empire's convoluted and advanced political infighting in the lore is not at all simulated in game, with the various electors acting as independent states and having virtually no real decision making involved. Politics basically doesn't exist. Other factions get "unique" mechanics, but each mechanic is just a reskinned one from previous titles. Orc WAAAG Hs are basically just Crusades/Jihads from Medieval II with a little bit of horde mechanics thrown in. The Vampire Count's undead mechanics are literally just the mercenary system from previous titles (literally: if you look in the pack files you will see that they reuse the same tables and mechanics). The Dwarfs get what are basically Senate missions, but you can choose which mission to pursue. The problem is that each of these mechanics used to be accessible to all factions in previous titles, instead of being locked to each faction. From a purely gameplay perspective, this gives me zero incentive to play TW:W's campaign over previous campaigns.
Battles are also a bit of a mess. Magic is poorly balanced, with destruction magic being useless on higher unit sizes. Formation warfare is gone entirely, with most of the combat being decided by unit stats, buffs, and other meta mechanics.
The game is also plagued by ongoing problems in the series that have still not been resolved. The AI is terrible, especially in the campaign. It obnoxiously spams agents and uses the Forced March mechanic to run away from battle. It has no overall strategic sense, resulting in supposedly "major" factions like the Empire getting clobbered early in the campaign.
On more minor notes, the music is utterly forgettable, and the aesthetics are decent but fail to capture the look of either the models or the artwork all that well. Some magic FX look absolutely awful. Sieges have always been terrible experiences in this franchise, but here they are incredibly limited and may as well be auto-resolved. Some important units are missing from the rosters, or have been packaged as DLC.
Overall, TW:W succeeds at being passable, but it isn't quite what I hoped
Simply put it's the best Total War game ever. Best faction variety, best campaign, best artwork, really best everything. Veteran of both franchises, and this is the perfect melding of the two i've ever seen. I've seen people lie about certain aspects of the game, just because there angry history will no longer relevant after how good this is, just ignore them and read the super positive critic and user reviews of the game.
All the past games are now boring because of the insane replay value, and faction diversity.
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