With Warhammer II around the corner, and with nearly 400 hours logged on Total War: Warhammer, I figured it was about time I reviewed the game. The game does have a few issues, but if you have been looking for a fantasy-themed strategy game then I highly suggest picking up Total War: Warhammer.
Warhammer hit it pretty square on the head in terms of graphics. To truly enjoy the game in all it’s glory, you’re going to need a decent video card. I originally played the game on a GTX 750 and was able to play with most settings on medium. However, I soon upgraded to a 980 just for this game and was blown away. The detail on each unit and character is supurb. The developers really did thier homework to ensure the units accurately reflect the tabletop detail of each specific race. That’s not to say it’s all great though. The terrain seems to lack some detail in the graphical department even when set to high detail. It’s also repetitive; expect to see terrain similar to other Total Wars with fantasy elements thrown in. Details on the over world are superb and well done. Small details like dragons flying around mountain peaks or the soft glow of the winds of magic flowing over fields really add to the atmosphere that the Old World should.
For the most part, all the audio is intense and matches the theme of the game. For the longest time I would turn up the music because at certain points, it was very ‘epic’ if you will. But the same music does get old after a bit, and there does not seem to be much variation in music. Sound effects are what you would expect and add immersion to the game but it’s nothing over the top. It’s good, maybe even great, but not excellent.
The game plays like many TW’s with some exceptions. The exceptions are the main reason why this game didn’t get a perfect 10. Creative left one KEY aspect out of the game, NO VILLAGE BATTLES. Yes, you can seige castles and large cities (if they have walls), but when you surround a town and decided to attack, you will be met with a flat landscape on the battle map. This can be very frustrating during the campaign because in other TW’s, the town’s defenses would at least give you the chance to put up some sort of resistance even against an overwhelming horde. In Warhammer, if your town is small and not built up, even the smallest armies can destroy you since it turns into a straight 1 on 1 battle on flat terrain with the AI.
Speaking of the AI, it seems creative has not done much to improve it. You may frequently come across AI armies made entirely out of artillery, or notice that the army you are chasing can somehow stay right out of your reach. I have also noticed the AI will rarely siege settlements. They would rather wait you out which is very disappointing as I find defensive battles to be quite enjoyable. Expect your typical Total War AI silliness. (Also, would it kill Creative to make the Greenskins not spawn SO MANY AGENTS? Thx.)
On the other hand, tactics do play a very large part in the single player campaign. Many races have certain abilities that can be utilized during the game. Dwarfs move underground which can be great for making up thier general slowness on the overworld map. Elves utilize ‘forest paths’ to quickly move about the map making ambushes quite common and unpredictable. Agents play a key role in the game and can be utilized in your army as an actual unit. Magic is a new and welcome addition to TW, and for the most part adds to the enjoyment. Some of the spells are underwhelming and have a random aspect to them, but many can make or break a battle if cast at the right time and place. If your race uses magic, don’t discard it.
In the end (Get it? It’s the end times!) the game is very enjoyable and well worth the money for both the game and a few of the DLCs. The Blood DLC is would say is a must at the minimum. Race DLCs are not mandatory and even if you don’t buy them, you can still see the new races in game (You just can’t play as them in SP or MP). The gameplay, paired with the amazing graphics really make TW:W something special. If your a fan of the fantasy setting or Warhammer in general, you might find yourself playing this game for quite some time.
Special Note: It has been confirmed that with Warhammer II, there will be an option for a ‘Grand Campaign’ that will combine both the Old World and Lustria into one massive game if you own both. So even if you planned on getting TW:W2, it may still be worth it to pick up TW:W1 just for this additional content.