Total War is easily one my favorite series when it comes to PC games, and Warhammer is a great addition to it. Creative Assembly took a huge step away from their usual TW flavor by jumping into a world like Warhammer’s, and they definitely did not disappoint. This isn’t my review of Total War: Warhammer, that’ll come later once I’ve had some time to put into a few more factions and their campaign.
To be completely honest, I don’t know a lot about Warhammer lore other than the basics, but I’ve played enough of previous Total War games to know that this one’s a definite improvement over, say, Atilla or Rome II. But, with all of the good that TW: Warhammer brings, there are also some things that I feel need a little tweaking.
Since Warhammer was released, I’ve put about 20 hours into a 300-some turn Vampire Count campaign on hard, and I can safely say that things haven’t started to feel like they’re dragging, yet. That said, it’s been a little rough with every other faction completely hating me just because I’m not entirely alive… Fun as hell, but rough. I’ll touch on that later, though.
As it currently stands, there are 5 playable factions, 1 being a DLC that you get for free if you preordered or bought Warhammer within the first week. 5 factions might not seem like much compared to Rome II’s initial 12, but the massive variance in playstyles between each of Warhammer’s factions definitely makes up for a current lack of choices. For instance, the Vampire Counts have no ranged units at all, so you have to use your air units or cavalry to counter your enemies’ ranged, but the Counts have very strong “monsters” and lots of magic that completely dominate the battlefield in melee. Each faction is also limited in their choice of territory, Dwarves can only settle in territory founded by other Dwarves or Greenskins, The Empire can only settle human/undead territory, and so on. Personally, I think this is relatively well-balanced and that it adds a nice dynamic to the actual campaign.
Speaking of the campaign, It’s not until you’re 50 or so turns into one that you’ll start to notice some minor flaws. Maybe you’ll notice them sooner, but I definitely didn’t. One of my biggest gripes, with the Vampire Count faction at least, is the really lacking town expansion. In previous Total War games, when you would expand your town with another sector, you would actually see the expansion of your town and the construction taking place, but in Warhammer this seems to have been completely axed and the only upgrade that’s visible is your primary building. From a level 1 “Crumbling Hamlet” to a level 5 “Dark Castle”, the only real difference is that the primary tower gets taller. When it comes to minor settlements, I don’t think that they change at all regardless of the buildings. You can even add walls to minor settlements eventually, but you can’t actually see them on the campaign map, not when you’re playing the Vampire Count faction at least…
Another gripe I have is the level of attrition damage your troops suffer. Almost any time that you’re venturing into an enemies land to raid/capture a settlement, you’re taking massive amounts of casualties due to attrition. There are ways to counter this with agent skills, items and tech advances, but in the early game, it’s a killer to have half of your army die after a few turns raiding in enemy territory. Even in the later game you can be completely ruined by attrition due to the long distances you’ll have to push into areas that literally kill your troops. Item quests also tend to send you deep into someone else’s land to fight a random battle after taking 10 turns of attrition damage. Maybe if the level of attrition was toned down a little, it wouldn’t be so damn unforgiving to go raid your neighbor!
Total War’s diplomacy system is something that I’ve always enjoyed about the series, and I think it’s been executed quite well in Warhammer when compared to recent installments. But, there’s a lot of room for expansion on the system to really make things interesting when parlaying with the Norsca. One thing I’m really missing from the diplomacy system is the ability to give away or request settlements; sometimes you just don’t need that chunk of land, but it’s really developed and razing it would be a waste, so, capturing it and then passing it to an ally (or whoever) should be an option.
The battles were the whole reason that I got into the TW series way back when the first Medieval came out, and I can still say that the TW battle system is second to none. Even the campaign AI in Warhammer is really decent compared to previous games. As an example, when you’re being harassed by the Norsca, they’ll make damn sure to ALWAYS end their turn just outside of your reach, so you can basically never catch their army, and if you take the bait they’ll slip another army in behind you just to sack the settlement you just left… Tricky Norsca… Other AIs also perform the way you would expect them to, like the hordes of Chaos just not giving a f*** and rarely backing down or retreating. Or the Greenskins fighting everyone everywhere, just because.
There’s a lot of other things I would like to mention here, but this post is already wayyy longer than I originally anticipated, so I’m going to shut this ramble down right now.
All-in-all, Warhammer seems like it’s going to be a really solid addition to the Total War series, especially when some crazy overhaul mods start hitting the marketplace, and you know they will. I wouldn’t doubt that someone’s already working on a LoTR overhaul as I type this out. As of right now, there’s already well over 300 mods for Warhammer on the Steam marketplace, and the games only been released for 6 days!
Have you played Total War: Warhammer? What do you think? Let me know below!