The Warhammer series has been sentimental to me. It was the first entity that opened my window to the Medieval-Dark Ages-Fantasy-Swords & Sorcery setting.
Although Dark Omen and Mark of Chaos were good games, the idea of integrating the Warhammer Fantasy Lore to the Total War system, is just so tantalizing. I had always imagine the epic scale battle of the Armies of Altdorf going against the Greenskins. And now, it all came to pass.
CA has included 4 factions with the launch of the game. The Empire, is similar to the units and playstyle of the Total War series' factions we have come to be familiar with. They are a balance faction with good infantry, cavalry and artillery units.
The Vampires, probably my favourite faction, comprises of undead and monster units.What they lack in artillery, they make up for their terrifying flying monsters. Their Terrorgheist and Vargheist are some of the best and hardiest units in the game.
The dwarves are somewhat defensive in their playstyle. Since they have really awesome artillery, they excel in peppering the enemy units from afar, dig in their infantry units, and finish off whatever remains of the advancing enemy forces. The book of grudges, a book that lists down all those that transgressed against the dwarves, functions as the faction's quest log.
The Greenskins are very interesting faction. They are focused on fightings and raidings. There is this nifty little feature called the "Fightiness" meter, which requires you to keep on filling it with fights and such. Fill the meter enough and there's a call for Waagh, where armies of allied Orcs appear to lend a hand on your fights. Failing to fill the meter will resolve in civil war.
The Chaos faction, the antagonist of the whole game, is playable too. Their game mechanics resemble the hordes from previous Total War series similar to the Mongols or the Huns. They invade and fight, which is true to their faction's objective; they just want to burn everything down.
Warhammer brings refreshing mechanics to the table. Gone are the "conquer every settlement". Each factions brings about its own objectives. What I like is that many quests are added too. For example, with the Empire, their quests have you searching for legendary weapons and such. As each faction are lead by a Legendary Lord, you can equip these characters with magical items and weapons. Creative Assembly (CA) also brings RPG elements to the game, leveling these characters up as you progress into this 40 to 50 hours long game.
While infantry, cavalry and artillery units make up the core of each faction's army, Warhammer focuses on individual characters too. As you can hire hero units such magicians, vampires, battle priest, necromancer, etc for you to execute tasks such as lessening the cost of upkeeps or assassinating a character from an army (just like previous titles), you can now make these characters part of your fighting units in your army.
The same diplomacy system is brought back from Attila. It is decent but again, not deep enough. My frustrations with the Total War series has always been about diplomacy. They should adopt systems from Crusader Kings 2 or Romance of the 3 kingdoms to make diplomacy a huge feature in the series.
SWORDS & SORCERY
With magic a big part in the game, you can now make hero units (battle priest, magician, necromancer, vampire, etc) part of your army. You can embed a Bright Wizard (fire magic magician), into your army and even the odds of battles. These units, together with the Legendary Lords, are individual units in the battlefields. If you remember your generals from previous Total War titles, they are usually surrounded by their own guards and you usually keep them out of harms' way as you don't want them to die. Warhammmer has removed them and replaced with the said hero units or Legendary Lords. They are much more powerful, and can usually handle a single enemy unit all by themselves. Take Emperor Karl for instance. Armed with his Ghal Maraz, mounting Deathclaw and at max level, can simply ride into battle and face 1 or 2 elite enemy units and still being able to buff his own forces.
Warhammer Total War brings new, fun and refreshing challenges and features to the series. It is by far, the best Total War title to date. If CA is able to successfully develop a good title in the lore of Warhammer, I am very sure they can further delve into the likes of Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones universe. Fingers crossed!
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