“Warhammer,” a tabletop miniature war game that was introduced in 1983, has been adapted into numerous video games. It also spawned the follow-up “Warhammer 40K” which had its share of digital adaptations as well. But what if you took the franchise and combined it with “Total War,” giving it the last mention’s turn-based campaign strategy, resource management, and real-time battles? From the gameplay I’ve experienced in “Total War: WARHAMMER”. I would have to say that it´s a strategy game that’s fun to master.
This “Total War” game revolves around four Factions (five if you count the Chaos Warriors DLC): The Empire with its balanced human units, The Dwarfs who fight to regain their realm, The Greenskins which consists of the Orcs and Goblins of the Old World, and The Vampire Counts that can turn their fallen enemies into undead forces. Each Faction has their own play style with two heroes to choose from. When you start the game, you can either enter a tutorial battle with the Faction’s leader (which is good if you’re new to the game) or jump right into the campaign.
The campaigns can be the most imitating part of the game for those new to “Total War” or any strategy game similar to the franchise. If you took a bit of time to read about your Faction, however, you should have a good idea about what you need to do. During campaign mode, you’ll have mandatory objectives on each turn. Manage your provinces by selecting specific structures, which control income, populace growth (which is needed to upgrade keeps in-order to get higher tier structures), and what sort of units you can recruit. When there’s a full province under your control commandments can be issued, which can be used to your advantage if used wisely. And If you don’t meet the province’s Interests, then the public order will deteriorate and eventually lead to a revolution against you.
While managing your territory you’ll also need to decide on what technology to research. Technology will give you certain perks that will improve aspects of units and buildings. Much like the Technology trees (The Empire has more of a list) there’s also a Faction unique button to benefit your rule, such as Offices for lords within the empire to take or “The Great Book of Grudges” filled with objectives for the Dwarfs to be award upon completion. The last thing to manage is diplomacy, meaning you can’t just go whacking everyone and expect them to join. With diplomacy, you can set up treaties with other factions among your race or negotiate with another nation. You could work on getting better relations and try for a confederation or just declare war on them (if you have the balls for it).
Overall the campaign has a list of objectives for you to complete in order to win the game. These objectives include claiming certain provinces, allying or controlling other Factions, and making sure that Archaon The Everchosen stays wounded (trust me, you do not want to have that guy running around). Campaigns are done in turns so you can take as much time as you need to manage and strategize. However, in order to get things done you’ll need an army or two (or how many you’ll ever need to meet the military presence on the battlefield in question). Faction leaders and lords take the lead of an assembled force with heroes and army units making up the bulk. When your forces are ready, they can engage in battle, which is far less stressful compared to campaign mode.
Before the battle (yes, you can quick save youre progress before you enter the battlefield) you could see the likely outcome of how well it’ll turn out by a gauge (you could hit auto-resolve if you’ll most likely win). If you’re fighting for a settlement, you could encircle/siege the place to cut off supplies, weakening the forces you’ll be fighting (or wait long enough for them to surrender). When getting ready for battles, there’s a chance that the Winds of Magic will blow in your direction, which affects how well the mage lord in the force can cast spells (unless you’re playing Dwarfs). And here´s a word of advice. Before you kick-off any battles, it’s wise to go through the preparations: group certain units, set formations and orders, and position them for the strategy you have in mind. You can adjust the speed of battle mode as well as pause it if you need to get away from the PC (you can’t issue commands while paused; so there is no room for cheap tricks in this game).
There are plenty of subjects to follow, and it can be a bit overwhelming for some people. Fortunately enough though, there is an in-depth help guide that goes over the topics you need to know. And once you get to know the basics of the game (or when you want to match your wits, you can take the game online). There are multiplayer options for both campaigns and battles, which you can either host or find a game in the lobby.
This wouldn’t be a Warhammer game if they didn’t take the art design along with the lore. The race designs for both character models and structures are unique down to factions having small differences (mostly banners and color pallets). This is something that gamers such as myself usually geek out aboutm, since it feels like you’re playing with an army that’s unique to you. The campaign map normally feels a bit crowded with objects such as mountains taking up space, though it’s easy to find everything with banners for marching forces and settlements or using menus on top of the map window. The battlefields are average (though they feel natural in their respected locations), but the view of settlements or other landmarks is amazing to look at. Drawn artwork is used for the unit cards and loading screens, and they are pleasing to look at.
So, what about the music then? Well, the in-game music consists of an orchestra fantasy theme (like many other games in the same genre). And with that said, the soundtrack matches the tone of the events while having faction specifics scores. Sound effects are impressive as well, as they give some weight to a unit’s attacks. The voice acting is, naturally, unique to each race but the best part of it are the battle cries. Hearing units roar out a call to arms can get a player hyped for battle and beat their enemies to the ground.
“Total War: Warhammer” is made for the mouse and keyboard (like any good RTS for the PC). And the keyboard is mapped out with different functions. However, you are free to change your control settings via the game´s option menu. As for the mouse, it also has specific click commands in order to carry out an action, though the most common ones will be left button for selecting and right button for moving and attacking (in other words, no PC-player should have any problems on that front).
Well, that was everything that I had to say about TWW, and all in all (with all the pros Vs the very few cons in mind). “Total War: Warhammer” is one of THE best “Total War” and “Warhammer” game titles to date. So if you´re into “Warhammer” and RTS games, then you should give “Total War: Warhammer” a go with no doubt!
+ Total War: WARHAMMER´s addicting gameplay will hook you up from the very start
+ Races have different play styles and campaign mechanics to appeal to anyone
+ Art design and music are fantastic with war cries to encourager players to fight on
+ Features an In-depth Help Guide when needed
– The campaign mode can be somewhat intimidating to the unseasoned strategist who´s new to the world of Total War and Warhammer
– High Minimal System Requirements
Replay value: 4/5
“Total War: WARHAMMER” is a fun game none the less. And as I previously stated, TWW can be a bit off-putting for people new to this sort of genre, more so if going in blind (never a good idea). However, after some time reading up on the Factions and doing some play sessions, you can easily get into the groove of it. That said, pick a Faction, fight with honor, and remember to have fun as you soak the battlefield with your friends’ (or random people’s) blood.
Title: Total War: WARHAMMER
Developer: Creative Assembly
Genre: Real-Time Strategy
Resolution: 1680 x 1050
Release date: 2016-05-24
Difficulty: Moderate to Hard
Spent time: 10+ hours
Average grade internationally: 85.98% Gamerankings.com
PEGI/ESRB age rating: PEGI 16+/Teen
Robin Ek – Editor
The review code was provided by Kinguin.
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