The marriage of Total War and the Warhammer universe seemed like a match made in heaven. Fantasy units and armies running off of the Total War mechanics? What could be better? Of course, there was also the fear – would they mess this up, forever tainting both franchises? The game launches next week, and it looks like they did a good job.
Total War: Warhammer is brimming with exciting ideas, interesting characters, and outright, skull-stompingly delightful units and faction mechanics. The current roster of starting positions in the campaign feels thin, but each army therein is a distinctly different experience. Some factions (Vampire Counts, Greenskins) are more fun than others (Dwarfs), but none feel underdeveloped or unfinished. Deep hero progression and a well-executed Chaos invasion round out a campaign that, while it has some flaws in set-up and pacing, fulfilled all of my deepest fantasies of seeing giant, impossible armies clashing amidst the shrieking of griffins and the glow of flaming meteors summoned from the sky. It’s just a damn good time.
Total War: Warhammer is one of the best Total War games I’ve ever played, and fans of either franchise should find themselves with a winner here. Those looking for more historically rooted fare may find the fantasy over the top, but plenty of solid strategy lurks under the magic and mayhem.
Everything here hasn’t just been improved, it’s been damn near mastered. Total War has always been about balance–between strategy and tactics, realism and engaging play. Warhammer’s characters, its history, and its creativity is a shot in the arm for a series. My complaints from a few years ago with Total War II’s camera still hold. When pulling the camera out to get a better view, you can’t go very far before the game switches to a full overhead view. That be somewhat troublesome and limit how much of any give battle you can see at once, but it’s a minor frustration.
When you’re in the middle of a siege and you’re coordinating an assault with a friend, Total War: Warhammer approaches perfection. You’ll be tested on all fronts and asked to manage complex battles with broad, nuanced outcomes. Every system and piece feeds into others, and your choices make all the difference. It’s a triumph of real-time strategy design, and the best the Total War series has ever been.
Outside of Shogun 2, Total War: Warhammer is my favorite Total game to date. Developing this project must have been a massive undertaking, because it somehow manages to not sacrifice the core tenets of the series while staying true to the ever-expanding source material of the Warhammer universe. After nearly two decades of historical battles, having the chance to command a magical undead army is a breath of fresh air.
Warhammer’s fantasy elements add colour to Total War’s already impressive framework, with a strategy game that is both deep and tactical but also fun and attractive.
Pros: The strategic level map and real-time battles work as well as ever, but are greatly enhanced by the new role-playing elements and flying units. Excellent graphics and accessible controls.
Cons: The artificial intelligence can still do silly things and getting a good camera view can often be a bit fiddly.
Looks like a solid game that will make Warhammer and Total War fans very happy. Are you getting your hands on it when it launches next week?
Last Updated: May 20, 2016