Total War Warhammer Review: Is It Worth Playing?

Total War Warhammer Review
To Play or Not to Play??

Taking Total War To a New Level

Total War: WARHAMMER - Join the Battle 360° Trailer

To Play or Not to Play?

Total War: Warhammer is a turn-based, epic fantasy strategy game with real-time tactical battles. It is the 10th major release for the Total War franchise, which is developed by Creative Assembly and published by Sega. In this game, you are immersed into the world of Warhammer as never before. You can choose to play as 1 of 4 factions which are very familiar to those who are veterans of the Warhammer lore. Human Empire, Dwarve kingdom, Vampire counts, and Greenskin orcs. As each faction you will attempt to dominate the other factions in order to achieve dominion over the known world using special abilities and troops unique to each faction. So, let’s start with a simple break down of each faction, shall we?

Factions

Emperor Karl Franz prepares his army for battle

Empire – The Empire faction represents the last vestige of Mankind in the world of Warhammer. Always looking toward the next war, the Empire employs numerous ranks of highly trained professional soldiers. With the election of the new Emperor Karl Franz (who wields the mighty Ghal Maraz “Warhammer”) the Empire believes that it is finally capable of uniting the race of men and will once and for all defeat the enemies who wish to destroy her.

High King Thorgrim Grudgebearer is paraded in style

Dwarfs – The dwarfs are your stereotypical Tolkien dwarfs. Once rulers of a vast empire, they are now rulers of small strongholds which are mostly underground. But, just as in LOTR, they are some tough SOB’s. They are shorter than men, featuring long beards, rugged toughness, and advanced mechanical ingenuity. Their armies are defined by this quality of rugged toughness, which goes hand-in-hand with a virtually immovable stubbornness. This endows their race with a very strong defensive style of fighting, as the dwarfs also have thick, heavy armor and naturally high morale with which to hold their ground.

The Vampire Counts are pretty much the scariest dudes that you've ever seen

Vampire Counts – In the dark and mysterious lands of Sylvania, the Vampire Counts have harnessed the power of necromancy to gather large armies of undead soldiers. Employing other nightmarish monsters such as zombie dragons, bats the same size as said dragons, and giant vampires make this faction by far the creepiest and most fearsome of the 4 in Total War: Warhammer. The Vampire Counts field no ranged units whatsoever, so gamers who like to play with a lot of ranged attackers might want to stay away from this faction. However, their solid infantry units, hard hitting cavalry and some of the best flying units in the game produce a very fun campaign for those who wish to spread corruption and fear across the world of Warhammer.

Big fella looks a little hungry...

Greenskins – The barbaric orcs, goblins, and trolls of the Greenskin faction are renowned for their fearsome raiding abilities and lust for carnage. Using a “strength in numbers” fighting style the Greenskins are a sneakily formidable faction. Without any sort of hierarchy or organized form of government, the Greenskins usually adhere to and follow whomever is the strongest and nastiest amongst them. With an unquenchable thirst for battle and blood they are one of the most difficult factions to play with because they demand nearly constant battle, thinning your armies out through attrition along the way. Also, without this constant warfare they will end up devolving into tribal infighting which can quickly cripple a campaign.

Story

The story of this game is very dependent upon which faction you choose to play with. All 4 factions are fighting each other to rule their respective areas of the world, but all 4 have different and distinct motivations which become more important and significant to the player as the game progresses. Humans seek to unify their race and stabilize the Empire, Dwarfs seek to reconquer all the land that was once theirs and settle debts, Vampire Counts seek to spread their dark influence, and the Greenskins simply seek to raid and destroy as much as they possibly can. Each story is very compelling and puts you deeply into the shoes of your chosen faction. I found the story and cut scenes to be almost as entertaining as the actual gameplay, which leads us to…

Cinematics

This game has absolutely breath-taking cinematics. From the first intro cinematic until the end of a campaign you are immersed into the world of Warhammer by stunning graphics and very well designed cinematics. They really give you a good feel of what the backstories of each faction are and how best to use the tools of war which they are endowed with. Very well done.

Looks like fun, to me!

Adventure

Don't underestimate the power of the Dwarfs. They may be small, but they pack a very large punch.

The biggest sense of adventure in this game comes from the vast fantasy scope and fantasy elements uncharacteristic of the classic Total War adventure. Sure, the RPG element of leveling up your heroes is improved from the last Total War game (Attila) but it just feels different than previous installments of the franchise. Now, your hero is truly more than just a general on the battlefield. Creative Assembly has made your heroes your most important weapons in battle, as well making them of absolute importance to the morale of your army. If your hero routs or is killed, then your army will most certainly break and flee. They are so important that you need to keep an eye on them at all times, which gives you a sense that you are actually fighting as your hero instead of just leading troops with him. This makes this game feel more RPG-ish and adventurous than any Total War game before it. A very cool addition to the feel of Total War in a fantasy world.

Quest/Missions

Missions are issued throughout the progress of the main campaign. They usually include tasks like “take X settlement” or “destroy X army”. However, there are now personal quests to accomplish for the Lords (heroes) of your armies. These quests reward the Lord with powerful weapons and gear. The Dwarf faction also has quests called “grudges” which come from a book of grudges kept by the dwarfs to remember and avenge the loss of a settlement or army. If you do not avenge these grudges then your public order will increase, making a rebellion much more likely. I think the mission system is very similar to the previous Total War games, but, once again, the fantasy nature of this game makes the missions and grudges seem very much more enticing and immersive than in any previous games.

World of Warhammer (maps)

The capital of the Empire rests and recruits warriors for the next battle

The main campaign map in Total War: Warhammer is vastly different than it’s predecessor installments. Although smaller than most previous campaign maps in the Total War franchise, the new map is stunning in it’s visual display and in the intricacies of the many different landscapes. Ranging from evil, vampire influenced wastelands to soaring, snow covered mountains this game has virtually any type of terrain that you can imagine, and each of these different terrains have different offensive and defensive buffs for certain units. For example, if you fight with a regiment of Dwarf miners in a cave or mine then they will receive an additional buff.  This campaign map has to be one of the coolest new improvements to the game. Total War seems to have improved it’s campaign maps with each successive game. Bravo.

Combat

Yea, there are huge winged things flying around us... Probably not good

The combat in Total War: Warhammer is very different from past Total War experiences. The epic fantasy combat has much more of a cinematic feel to it than the traditional historic combat we are used to in Total War. Now, the front lines of many regiments will leap into the fray, or literally jump at each other when beginning combat. This has a very dramatic and pleasing appeal to us fantasy lovers. Also, the new combat mechanics are very smooth and fluid, making each 1v1 battle nearly as interesting as the larger battle taking place all around them. It’s easy to get caught up in the great animations of the combat in this game, but it’s also an easy way to lose a battle.

Sounds

BOOM

The sounds on this game are very well put together. From title screen sound effects and music to the cheer of charging regiments, this game has stunning audible qualities. Like the cinematics and combat animations, the sound effects and music just suck you deeper and deeper into the depths of this epic fantasy world. They allow you to fully immerse yourself into this game for hours and leave you wondering where all that time went.

Price

Wait a minute... Nobody said anything about spiders...

At the now often expected $59.99 for most AAA games, the price of this game is… well, what we expected.

Final Verdict

Yea, that spear isn't going to do much to stop that...

9.5/10

In conclusion, I’ll put it very simply - buy this game! You will not regret purchasing this game if you enjoy the Total War franchise or other fantasy and/or strategy games. I have to admit, being a huge fan of the historical aspect of previous Total War games, I was a bit of a doubter when it came to the playability and lasting enjoyment of this game. Then, the more I started digging into it and playing it, the more it started to grow on me. As usual, the people at Creative Assembly have done an amazing job. This game has all the classic feel of Total War, as well as many new, very fun, and interesting additions. This is a game that you will be able to play over and over until the next Total War! Plus, there are sure to be new DLC and expansions to come out over the coming months as there has been in the last few Total War installments. So have fun, and we'll see you on the battlefield! 

More on this topic:
Gamer Since: 1990
Favorite Genre: RTS
Top 3 Favorite Games:, ,
This article makes me feel:

More Top Stories