Today marks a glorious day in gaming as the latest installment in the Total War franchise released today, and I’m here to give my Total War: Warhammer first impressions.
We’ve covered the game for the better part of a year, so I won’t delve too much into the general information, but Total War: Warhammer is the latest installment in the Creative Studio’s Total War franchise. It is an RTS PC game that allows players to control the armies of one of four races in the Warhammer franchise. It is a massive game that not only brings the world of Warhammer to life, but lets you control your army in a way that can only be found in the Total War series. As this game is massive and has a notable learning curve, this is just our Total War: Warhammer first impressions.
Total War: Warhammer brings the tabletop game into a massively rendered PC world. Lead by Andy Hall, the game brings players into one of the many renowned campaigns from the tabletop version of the game. I played the human campaign of Emperor Karl Franz and his quest to become a great emperor to his people. He leads his army to rid the lands of any dangers that pose a threat, or enemies. The campaign eventually leads to Karl Franz to acquiring the Warhammer (I didn’t get that far). I read up on the franchise, and discovered a lot about the Warhammer lore, and from my time and coverage of the game, it seems that Creative Studios did an outstanding job translating it into a campaign mode. What I think is brilliant is how your battles can greatly affect the outcome of the story.
I am not an avid player of strategy games, mostly because there are far too many buttons to remember. Total War: Warhammer is one of the most complex games I have ever played, yet it did not feel overwhelming. The controls are fairly intuitive, especially considering how much you can do. Then there are the different units you need to learn about, different formations, different races, then. of course, the terrain. It is extremely intricate, but amazingly well melded together. I spent hours after my initial run learning about the units and am a much better player now (although still less than mediocre overall). I have failed the campaign a good three times already… But I learn more each time and feel my competency increase with each play through. I am getting much more in tune with the controls and strategies with each match and it feels very natural. It’s almost like driving. Where I happen to do decently well at, is making deals with other kingdoms. I cannot wait to until I get to the point where I can screw over the cheapskate who declined my military alliance because I asked him to pay for my bigger army. It is an extremely intricate game, that seemingly covers all facets of war. There are even politics and PR involved in the campaign! It is a lot, but it always feels like a grandiose amount of opportunity versus unnecessary burdens.
Visually the game is amazing. I am a bit disappointed because the cutscenes look far better than the gameplay, but it is completely understandable due to the sheer scale of the battles. The ability to go from full field coverage to individual battalions is awe-inducing. Picture being able to control the camera during LOTR The Two Towers final battle. The sound quality matches the visuals with its flawless transition of an open space to a small skirmish. The reference frame of view determines the depth of the sound; it is a seamless blend of both. The campaign’s objectives and empire governing systems are truly impressive. It adds a Sim City like aspect into not only raising your army but your campaign and its story. The only issue I have is that when using dual monitors, you lose the ability to turn the camera in the direction of the second screen, and are forced to press and hold the middle mouse button to look in that direction.
Total War: Warhammer is my first foray into the Total War franchise, as well as Warhammer. I’ve known about both for awhile, but it was one of those things that tended to fly under the radar. However after playing the game, it baffles me how I could have missed these long time franchises for so long. The game has a pretty big learning curve, but it is easy to learn. The game has seemingly endless outcomes, infinite strategy, and all the aesthetics needed to compliment and enhance the experience. If you’re a fan of strategy games, and/or of either franchise this game is a must play. This is all from playing only 1 of the many campaigns that I’ve failed. I give Total War: Warhammer a 9/10