• Total War: Warhammer Review



    Warhammer: Total War or Total Warhammer as itís begun to be affectionately called, takes all of the potentials of the battle map mechanics of the historical Total War titles, and turns the series on itís head with heroic characters, monstrous creatures, and personalized mounts, all for really ripping and engaging high fantasy action, with five unique play-styles and factions, and new tactical horizons that leaves one wishing that they were somehow compatible with the historical setting the series has become so loved for.

    Total War: Warhammer - Review

    Azhag the Slaughterer and Skullmuncha

    GENERAL REVIEW - By Lugotorix

    Using the northern part of the map from the established Old World of Warhammer and Games Workshop, the factions are the traditionally played Empire of Karl Franz, the mountain dwelling and stalwart Dwarfs of Thorgrim Grudgebearer, the ranged lacking but rapacious Vampire Counts of Manfred von Carstein, the Greenskins of Grimgor Ironhide, and the Chaos Warriors of Archaeon. In addition to these legendary lords, the Vampire Counts have access to Heinrich Kemmler, a Necromancer, the Dwarfs have access to Ungrim Foespiter, the Slayer, Chaos has access to the legendary lords, Kholek Suneater a Dragon Ogre, and Sigvald the Magnificent, a prince of Chaos, and the Empire has access to a metallurgist wizard named Balthazar Gelt. For the Greenskins, another Orc, Azhag the Slaughter is playable as a legendary lord, with his iron-plated Wyvern mount Skullmuncha, and Ďchoppasí ĎSlaggaís Slashers.í In both hands, and an ancient cursed crown of power that through voices in his head, slowly changes the cunning Orc into a spell casting warlock in comical fashion.

    To say that the campaign map has been simplified from Attila: Total War would be an understatement. A flat tax rate is applied to all provinces, offices and governors are gone, replaced with limited offices for the Empire and Vampire Counts, and food is no longer something that must be balanced. The Vampire Counts use dark energy as their income, while the remaining factions use gold, with the exception of the Greenskins, who use their literal teeth, or Ďteef.í Knocked out, presumably to grow back, as currency. A language familiar to fans of Warhammer is present for the Greenskins, a guttural cockney, that drives home that they are dim-witted and savage, so much so that the Vampires stay away from them, because even in un-death, they maintain their violent nature.

    The first factor that drove me away from the series was the setting, which is stereotypical and antiquated by further work on the genre. Then, after all the Warcraft series was originally planned to take place in the Warhammer high fantasy setting. Ironically, by the third and MMO iteration of Warcraft, that is one of Warhammerís strengths. In this game, Orcs are Orcs, as inhuman and chaotic evil as the only other remaining fantasy equivalent of their archetype, Dungeons and Dragons. They have their own hierarchy, lording over and eating their goblin masses, and submitting to the authority of the Black Orcs, and their roster reflects other cultural groups of Orcs such as the Savage Orcs of the western badlands. But what at first seems silly, is given enough polish, comic relief, and sheer atmosphere to be convincing and most importantly fun, immersing you in the gloom, chaos, majesty, splendor, and primitive furor of the individual factions, right down to the monuments of offal made by the Orcs to vandalize your sacked settlements, and the languages of the non-human factions. Although the blood mod hasnít been released for Total War: Warhammer in the beginning, the game doesnít pull any punches that fans have grown to love, and after battles, the Greenskins have the option to eat their captives. Greenskin society revolves around bloodlust, and if you win enough battles, your fightiness will attract an additional horde of camp-followers, Orcs attracted to your banner called a WAAGH!!! Which is also the warcry of all Orcs. The naming conventions of the brutes is honestly hilarious, and expect nick-names like Ďthe Dawi-haterí after the WH word for Dwarf.

    The family tree is gone for this iteration of the series, but itís for good reason. The Carstein Vampires have no children, and carry on their curse through Ďthe immortal kiss.í Creating new Carsteins in their quests for power, beauty and dominion over the Duchy of Stirland and beyond, their ultimate ambition being the empire. Your other generals for all of the factions are military minds from your realm, of full age, with traits that give them character, and a nickname, a pleasant return from titles such as Medieval II.

    Each factionís leader remains constant throughout the course of the campaign, although you have the option to start with either of the two available legendary lords for each faction. For my playthroughs, I used Balthazar Gelt, the Goldfinger of pike and shot fantasy, Azhag the Slaughterer, a cockney prototype of Nerízhul of Warcraft fame, and Manfred von Carstein, a vicious and powerful warrior with the ability to ride a Zombie Dragon, a dracolich, while having magical skills at his disposal as well.

    A new introduction to the series are the heroes, which fall into three or four categories for each race. For example, the Vampire Counts have access to Necromancers, Vampires, Banshees, and Wight Kings, with the Wight Kings, the warrior class, being the hardest to attain. Your agents, which can be ranked in a character advancement tree similar to your lords and legendary lords, can be present on the battlefield, and really make the difference between victory and defeat. Each lord or general, for your faction can be equipped with an entire set of inventory, banners, and household that add to his and his armies abilities and tenacity. There are rare and unique items with game-changing power gained through battles or defeating enemy lords, and itís those kind of touches that make the player feel like heís in a high stakes epic.

    Building chains remain similar to the previous two titles, with slots rather than a full range of options, but each has been tailored to their faction, so no gold mine, vineyard or tannery will be alike for the resources available through trade and buildings on the map, depending on your faction, each with tiers that improve their effectiveness. The building process is streamlined and itís much easier to convert a settlement to your given faction, and youíll find many settlements are already upgraded to their previous equivalents in your faction after conquest, sometimes putting you with the advantage of highly upgraded infrastructure in newly conquered regions, which makes the late game more of a steamroll and chore, auto-resolved for the most part in my case, after the chaos invasion has been resolved. The game is astounding visually, and very cinematic despite the emphasis on fantasy portrayals and uniformity rather than realism and most fans agree itís the best optimized title yet for machines that can run it. I was playing on a 970 GTX and was able to play on the Ultra settings with minimal roadblocks. The Games Workshop has given CA constraints within the license for the fantasy world, but the models are spectacular and well rendered in DX12, with details anywhere from the warts and gnarls of a troll, the flies of a giant, to the wyvern hides that adorn your Orcish Warbosses. Bretonnia acts as a sixth faction in custom and multiplayer battles, although with a simpler roster than the other factions.

    One canít talk about Total War: Warhammer without talking about the battles. The idea of flying mounts bringing your general to strategic pressure points on the field, or to enemy artillery, or to absolutely smash and scatter units not well equipped against their size is impressive and doesnít feel like a gimmick, but the core of the game itself. Yes, it makes the battles more arcade-like, but thatís the idea, your characters are the strength of your armies here, and elite cadres would be a great addition to future historical titles, such as the Teutonic Order with Zweihanders, albeit not with the fantastical advantage of Pegasi and Griffons, and Wyverns to bring them where they are needed. This idea in Total War has been tried before, with the ninjas of Shogun II, and their capturing abilities, and even the fantasy arcani of Rome I, but never so effectively, and never giving the player such an emotional stake of using a character youíve nurtured from the beginning of your campaign into a dominating terror.

    A mix of artillery, gunpowder, flying units including gyrocopters with bombs is ideal for the Warscape engine, and any issues people were having with unit collision have not only been resolved, but are spectacular, with your single lord generals knocking clusters of enemies through the air with power and finesse. Charges have never looked so good as well from the wide array of cavalry available to all factions. Only the undead are bereft in ranged units. Your lord, not only legendary lord will receive a better mount, from a variety of mounts including wolves, boars, and barded nighmare steeds, to a flying monstrosity as he grows in rank.

    Introduced to the game are monstrous units, such as giants, trolls, wyverns, vargheists (flocks of giant bats), chaos hounds, dire wolves, varghulfs (vampires overtaken by animal desire), terrorgheists (giant drake sized bats) demi-gryphs (wingless gryphons), pegasi, zombie dragons, chaos monsters, gryphons, manticores, steam tanks and whole array of flying units to harass the enemy from the air like fell bats and gyrocopters, who lay down their payload in areas of effect.

    Part of what makes the player so attached to their legendary lords is the system of quests attached to each one, usually around an arcane item that they must acquire to progress the story, gained at a certain level of advancement. Generally youíll have to send a hero of a certain class to a location, at which point and unique battle will be presented at an exotic locale to your faction. If you canít make the journey given the logistical or diplomatic constraints of your armies at the time, the legendary lords army will be given the option to teleport to the location, and safely back, for five thousand in currency. The ranks gained feel like an RPG, as each bonus adds something to the generalís abilities, whether itís combat prowess, the ability to perform lightning strikes, denying reinforcements, or cast new abilities and spells.


    THE MAP AND THE CAMPAIGN

    The map of the Old World is an adaptation of medieval Europe, with Estalia and Tilea, Spain and Italy, on the south of a peninsular area whose north is occupied by Bretonnian Kingdoms, the French. To the east of this is the Reikland, the Germanophonic Elector Counts that rule over the duchies that must be secured by confederation or conquest by Karl Franz and the Empire. Naturally Talabecland is Poland, while to itís east, Kislev has more Russian influences, and the north extends from northern ĎSaxoní kingdoms to Trolland and Norsca, a distorted version of Scandinavia where the people of Chaos reside. The Chaos faction itself, has been sent by the dark gods themselves, and are a horde, with only the Varg, Skaelling, and Norsca to rely on as allies. To the south of Tilea are the Border Kingdoms, and after that, the Blood River Valley and the Badlands, where the Orcish menace grows. Interlaced through all of these lands are mountains and high hills, over a network of underway that can be transverse by tunneling dwarfs and Greenskins in their stance, inhabited by Orc clans, goblins and Dwarf clans. In the vanilla version of the game, the Empire can only conquer other human factions and undead settlements, and vice-versa, while the Dwarf Kingdom can only conquer Greenskin steads and vice versa. Which isnít to say that you canít raze and sack the settlements belonging to your taller and less savage counterparts. The Vampire counts have a building and faction attribute called corruption, and it spreads darkness and pestilence over their territory, encroaching into enemy lands. The living cannot trespass in corrupted areas without suffering attrition, and likewise, your undead armies will crumble if they spend too much time in the bright skies of the living. Abilities can be gained through leveling that diminish these effects on your armies.

    Even to the north of Lyonesse is an undead realm of Moussillon, the vampires of the west, while Sylvania, the heart of the Vampire Counts power, lies to the east of Stirling, not far from the mountains of Zhufbar.One thing all of the factions have in common is the invasion of the Chaos demons, led by Archaeon the Everchosen, the leader of the Chaos invasion and Saorthiel, a giant anthropomorphic demigod of change in the style of Horus, which act as a scripted horde similar to the Huns in Attila: TW. As they grow in power, razing whatever falls to their hordes, the factions will form temporary alliances to make it through and defeat the ultimate threat, and once it has been quelled and is completely extinguished, turn on one another once more. The challenge is real on High difficulty and higher, and this is one of the harder Total War titles to a novice, and even veterans will find themselves overwhelmed if they donít take things slow and calculated.The victory conditions are quite immense for the long campaign victory, and most players will find themselves having to defeat the Chaos invasion before even the Short victory can be attained. What is notably missing are ending cinematic for each of the five factions. Victory is treated only with your statistics and a timeline of your exploits in the Old World.


    THE VAMPIRE COUNTS EXPERIENCE


    Manfred von Carstein on his zombie dragon, hurling acid at Slagga's orcs
    .

    The mounted hexwraiths mount an offensive with terrorgheists and the vampire count honing in

    My experience with the Vampire Counts, headed by Manfred von Carstein was one of the most fun high fantasy experiences Iíve had in a very long time. To start the campaign, I had to take back Sylvania from a rebellious necromancer, and in doing so, liberate a neighboring dark keep back into my control. Manfred is a bestial warrior with spellcasting abilities in two lores or schools of magic, death and vampiric lore, so heís generally considered one of the best Legendary Lords to command, and I thoroughly enjoyed leveling him from a deployed on foot lone dark knight, to a barded nightmare riding cavalry commander, into the use of a flying nightmare, the hellsteed, finally to the use of a Zombie Dragon that crashes into enemy formations and spews a torrent of acidic sulfur at his foes.

    As the vampire counts, if you can stomach the dreary and morose atmosphere that shrouds their haunted lands, youíll feel like youíre truly a dark lord of the likes of a fantasy arch-villain like Sauron, or, you know, Vigo the Carpathian. The cornucopia of lore immerses you in a gothic world not unlike Ravencroft of D&D fame. The source material allows for expansion, as the lands where the vampiric curse of Nagash, or blessing as the tyrannical lords of the dead see it, was discovered, along with a potential playable race in that far south. The vampires start in Sylvania to the east of Stirland, a duchy who Manfred was once the elector count of. The vampires are covetous and selfish, using their fallen enemies as fodder through the raise dead mechanic, and ruling over mortals with an iron fist to be preyed upon for their blood, with only a few personalities emerging other than the vampires, in the form of spirits that can be commanded like banshees or wight kings, or mortal necromancers. There will be infighting by the human kingdoms that neighbor Reikland, the Empire that Manfred wants to turn into his slaves, and you can seize on their internal disputes, as one will likely overtake the other by the time youíre ready to expand into the lands of the living, beyond the quests that are assigned to you.

    Nearby is Averland, and it was this fief that took the longest to subjugate, as capable was itís bolstered garrison, and only with the aid of vampiric corruption spreading like a cancer from all of the surrounding territories, did I diminish the attrition of daylight on my undead armies.In some of the lands to the north of the rebellious vampire territory, there was a forest building tree already started, in the appropriately named Waldenhof, I made sure to improve on the building here until I could recruit the entire bestiary afforded to the undead. Out of the four technology trees, one is dedicated to the savage efficiency of the beasts from the forest building chain. Other chains include the barrows, and barracks, who recruits ghouls, crypt horrors, and cairn wraiths, with the barracks recruiting the zombie and skeleton infantry including skeletal dread knights, their mounted equivalents, the black knights, and a variant of these that can wield great two handed weapons. These were to be the backbone of my armies, while I initially relied on Vargheists and later Terrorgheists for shock aerial effect. The giant wyvern like bats, Terrorgheists and their landed vampires that have given themselves to brute instinct, the Varghulfs, are such devastating combatants on the battlefield that they almost seem to be heroes in their own right, worth protecting. The first patch of the game brought the Blood Knights, vampires that have become an elite tier 5 cadre of heavy cavalry, and a Blood For the Blood God blood and gore DLC is on the way as well.

    The Vampire Counts are given two types of lords to choose from, Vampire Lords, and Necromancers, archetypes represented by the two legendary lords, Manfred and Heinrich Kemmler. By the time I was defeating the empire, I was able to begin leveling Kemmler while von Carstein was already maxed at the thirtieth level. The raise dead mechanic allows a marker to be placed in provinces were a mighty battle has taken place on the campaign map. Depending on the casualties of the battle, youíll be able to recruit a greater variety of undead within a single turn to replenish your ranks, assuming you have the dark energy to afford it, which is the economy of the vampires. You grow attached to your lords, and they are given names that compliment their traits, such as Felix von Carstein the Bloody and Gregor von Carstein the Puppetmaster. I even had a blind vampire lord, clad in black armor and a horned helm.

    The heroes available are the banshees, necromancers, vampires, and wight kings, with the vampires and wight kings having the highest building requirements, and being an impressive force to bring to agent actions or the battlefield. Occasionally, with or without the building requirements, you will be granted a low level hero as part of a mission, that are often required for the initial stages of quests, which tell interesting stories and help the character progress through legendary arms, objects, and armor.

    In my campaign, there was a lull in the fighting while I was at war with the Empire, for both of us to concentrate on the Chaos invasion. Once we had both re-cooperated, in my case from a direct invasion that razed my provinces all the way to my capital at Castle Drakenhof, the no-mans land was recolonized and we were back at each otherís throats, finally requiring no less than five stacks of high tier undead to capture Altdorf, the capital of the empire, and von Carsteinís ambition.

    The late game isnít as exciting as the Chaos invasion and early game where you are learning the full strength of your faction, but once you have learned it, it becomes devastating, and one is tempted to opt for quantity over quality, as the auto-resolve feature favors numbers. Also, youíll have access to higher tier units away from your homeland, as converted buildings of the human factions can quickly become highly upgraded.As the Vampire Counts, youíll be expected to destroy Bretonnia, The Empire, and the Dwarves, who if youíre lucky, will not confederate with their western cousins, though theyíll certainly control all of the eastern mountains in their war with the Greenskins. I was able to achieve the objectives, which also include destroying Archaeon the Everchosen and stopping the Chaos invasion, and felt very powerful and strong over the breadth of the map by the long campaigns end. In irony, I saved the Greenskins from complete dominion by their blood enemies, the dwarves, and earned a few Dawi-hater titles for the long list of vampires that had to be brought in to bring the dwarf halls to ruin

    .All in all, the campaign is simplistic, but a thrilling divergence into dark and evil fantasy for the Total War series, and the Vampire Counts campaign was satisfying for the use of flying units, and staples of the undead and occult fantasy genres that make you play the part of the bad guy very well.


    THE GREENSKIN EXPERIENCE


    Rook the Wyvernfeeda will go over great in Tilea, with the dwarf skull skewered on his rhino like horned helm. The game lets you rename your characters however you wish: I chose an MMO character


    Archaeon the Everchosen is devoured

    The Greenskins campaign was my first play through of Total War: Warhammer. Iíve been a fan of Orc mythology since the first Warcraft was released, all through Dungeons and Dragons, so itís good to see these savage green guys given their due in a fully fleshed out playable race. I chose Azhag the Slaughterer as my legendary lord, preferring his dual wielding of Slagga the Savage Orcís Ďslashasí, his wyvern mount Skullmuncha, and his dabbling in magic to the brutish bowling ball that the leader of the Orcs, Grimgor Ironhide provided. One thing worth noting is that your faction leader stays consistent with the lore, and thereís no way to become the leader with your chosen lord, which perhaps had be improved upon in the two expansions planned for the game.

    Greenskin hierarchy is based around the strongest surviving, with the goblins at the bottom rung, subject to the same cannibalism as the dwarfs or anyone else unlucky enough to be captured by the orcs. The Greenskins thrive through war, and your flightiness level must be kept high, and when it reaches a certain point, it will trigger a WAAGH!, a lower tier secondary army of units to escort the army giving it twice the strength, or to be ordered to another target through the diplomacy WAAGH! Targeting. The goblins ride wolves, spiders, and chariots, which makes for nimble archer cavalry, and their giant unit is the Arachnarok, a colossal spider. The Night Goblins are cleverer versions of the more numerous goblin units, which are easily broken and cowardly, but able to swarm over enemy lines. The Orcs are led by the ironclad Black Orcs, and you can choose from the berserker Savage Orcs, once you have gained possession of the western Badlands where they dwell. The larger Orcs, the Bigíuns, are a second tier of Orc infantry, with the Black Orcs being the elite, and their appearance is reflected in the Orcish Warboss lord characters which are the generals, alongside the Goblin Big Boss, a caster and rogue general. The orcs have boar chariots and boar cavalry, with their giant unit literally a dimwitted giant with a club, roiling with flies that causes complete havoc, stomping across the field.Some of the Greenskin unit concepts are downright hilarious, with demented squealing goblins being launched from catapults on gliders, which you can then manually or through the line of fire direct into the lines of your enemy as an alternative to the rock hurler artillery.

    At level 21, the Orc warboss is granted a Wyvern mount, and thereís a wonderful satisfaction with having three or four wyvern commanders sailing across the campaign map. They make sieges delightful, as they can harass the back lines, soaring past the arrow defenses, while your cannon fodder of Greenskns are stalled at the walls.Skullmuncha the wyvern was the giant unit that really sold me on the flying and giant sized unit combat, and I had a showdown between my two wyverns and Archaeon the Everchosen and Saothiel the Everchanging late in my campaign that was a suitable final epic battle, before I moved into the lands of the Ďhumiesí and laid them to waste. After dealing with the dwarves at their capital. The dwarf holds, called Karaks, are heavily fortified, and sometimes it takes all of your forces to capture them, leaving you exposed on other fronts by the rebellious tides of Orcs that rise up against you. The grandeur of the campaign map, full of winding valleys, underground passes, and a range of climates becomes evident, when you covert these occupied Karaks into Orc settlements of your own, hunting the Dwarves into the mountains.Orc shamans and goblin casters are the heroes available to the Greenskins, giving a magic edge to a faction that relies mostly on brute force to overwhelm your foes. The Greenskins are not without ranged units, unlike the Vampire counts, and by the end of my campaign I was using Night Goblins as my archers.

    If I have any issue with the Greenskin campaign, itís that the early quests are quite hard and require high tier units to beat, so you donít unlock Azhagís ability to rank in the spell casting tree of death magic until late in his progression, which for me, was too late to make him an effective caster, as thereís a rank cap of 30.The Greenskin campaign was some of the most fun Iíve had with a Total War in awhile, and it has to be played to be believed. Whether itís the simple riddle of the two Orc gods, Gork whoís cunningly brutal, or Mork whoís brutally cunning, your shamans gyrating themselves into a tizzy straight into a fire and being wounded, or hearing Azhag braggart and argue with his possessed crown about the quests he has to fulfill, the game is fun, dynamic, and really letís you unleash your inner orc.


    SUMMARY

    On the whole, my impression is that Total War: Warhammer is a fun standalone experience, that brings new features to the series, that will be improved by the two planned expansions, and a FLC schedule, as well as a DLC mini-campaign centered around the Wood Elves and Beastmen. The attention given to the atmosphere is impressive, but the game falls short in some respects. My favorite Total War title is Attila, and although the game is a welcome departure to a new setting with new possibilities that are well implemented, the lack of features is glaring to a Total War veteran, but a memorable introduction to the series for fans of Warhammer or the fantasy genre. The hardest hit quality of the game for me is replay value, and I don't envisage myself playing any further than one successful long campaign for the five playable factions, and some factions like the dwarves don't hold my interest enough to get started. The difference between the two available legendary lords isn't enough of a draw, considering that you have access the second legendary lord in the later stages of the game. There are only a limited number of conceivable strategies to meet the game's goals by the mid-game where you'll need to be strong enough to fight the Chaos Invasion. Already, the fan response to the game has been overwhelmingly positive, with some calling it vastly superior to Rome II and Empire, but I think what will keep me logging hours in the game will be the introduction of new factions. Thankfully, the source material is in no shortage of playable races, so I expect the expansions to do well, and add to the base game, in scope and game-play styles. Unfortunately, beyond Bretonnia, which has been worked on as a sixth faction for custom battles, that will take additional expenditure for the customer.I view the previous Total War titles as a platform and engine to be explored in a sandbox, whereas TW: Warhammer is a group of distinct campaigns given plenty of immersion, to be enjoyed while they last. But it has to be seen how extraordinary they are while they're being played, and the new mechanics shine, and for that, TW: Warhammer is a worthy venture for the Total War series.


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    EMPIRE FACTION REVIEW - By ♔Old Dragoon♔

    I would like to make this clear from the beginning that I am an absolute noob when it comes to Warhammer, due to the fact that Iím not big into fantasy. However, the look and style intrigued me to give it a go. My gaming experience with Total War: Warhammer is with the Empire faction as Iím not keen on playing any other faction at the moment and Empire appeals to my historical inclination anyways looking like a Holy Roman Empire mixed with a little steampunk. So, if you have the same feeling towards TW: Warhammer as I, then this faction is the obvious choice for you. First I noticed that you start off the game pretty neutral with no one going for your throat as I fully expected. You start off with one region Altdorf. After assessing the situation the obvious move is to take out the three other cities that make up the Reikland are Eilhart, Grunburg, and Helmgart. To do this you have to quell a rebellious faction, Empire Secessionists, before they become too powerful, which is not too terribly difficult though it was not a cake walk either, at least for me.

    Other factions near you consist of other human factions as well as Dwarves, Vampire Counts, and Greenskins. The Greenskins, Vampire Counts, Chaos, as well as the Empire Secessionists (mentioned above) are your enemies. It is important to secure allies early on as well especially with other human and dwarf factions so you can deal with the potential thrust of the Ďdark factionsí that will eventually savor your lands. Like most other Total War games donít expect them to help you a bunch. I try to secure my borders and try to secure alliances that can separate my borders from the enemy early on.


    EMPIRE FACTION ARMY

    If you are that prefers a more historical army then the Empireís army is again your obvious choice. The infantry, men at arms, archers, black powder ranged infantry and cavalry, cavalry, and artillery is very well done. Of course if you do enjoy the wizards and magical elements, they have them as well. The top tier units of all these are capable in dealing with most of the factions effective enough. I have yet to lock horns with Chaos.The Empireís best melee infantry unit, in my opinion, Greatswords, which are like other Total War games, are great at dealing with spears and halberdiers, but will not best the heavy cavalry in combat. Halberdiers can hold their own relatively well but shine the most in dealing with the cavalry and enemy monster units. The best of the Empireís cavalry are the Empire Knights, Reiksguard, and the Demigryph Knights. These horse warriors are best to use as your hammer while you fix the enemy with your spears and harlberds. I have had great results by employing the Ďhammer and anvilí strategy.

    In addition to all these fine units, the Empire also has access to the extremely agile missile cavalry. Pistoliers are particularly agile, but take a lot of damage and are rather weak in melee. The Outriders are very useful for dealing with armoured foes by hitting them in the flanks, and one of my favorites Grenade Launcher Outriders are most ideal for disrupting and breaking up large infantry formations. When that is done I like to send in the heavy knights to smash the infantry up as another strategic option.

    Lastly, the variety of artillery and the war machines are among the best in the game. These are your money units against the monsters and other heavy units from your enemies. Mortars are good for using their high arcing fire to shoot over your own troop so not only are they protected, but they can also deal a significant amount of damage simultaneously. The cannons are good at dealing a tremendous amount of damage especially when you are on the defense and the enemy is on the charge and clumping together. Helstorm Rocket Battery is extremely effective in holding back advancing armies. The Volley Gun is great at targeting units and disrupting their formations, the Lumminark of Hysh is a great magic dealer against units, and the Steam Tank is the Empireís mechanical monster capable of a lot of devastation especially in breaking down gates and hitting back hard against enemy units and monsters.


    EMPIRE FACTION - LEGENDARY LORDS

    Emperor Karl Franz

    For the traditional player Karl Franz is your lord. He will help the Empire with two faction-wide benefits. First all of your units will have a +5% movement range and second a -10% upkeep cost on reiksguard and greatswords units. Your starting army with this lord will be a unit of halberdiers, handgunners, and reiksguard knights.


    A Separatist lord carves through pikes that surround him. Lords become more formidable with the more victories they acquire and battles they survive, even gaining access to different mounts as they progress

    Balthasar Gelt

    Balthasar Gelt, on the other hand, is a very powerful wizard who is capable of blasting the enemy with an array of magic from fireballs to transforming his enemies into lifeless gold statues. His faction wide benefits are -25% upkeep for Battle Wizard Heroes and +1% capacity of Battle Wizard Heroes in your empire. If you prefer a change from traditional Total War play then Gelt is a great choice as you will have magic capabilities obviously early on.


    Balthazar Gelt, the metallurgist wizard of the Empire and legendary lord begins to summon a rain of smelt on the melee ambush before him

    The only weaknesses that the Empire has in dealing with the Ďdark factionsí in my opinion are the air attacks and the monsters. They can win but do not expect light casualties. Be sure to have your Ďcannon fodderí units a plenty, and be sure to coordinate your attacks with your prime units for the best effect.


    CONCLUSION

    I have enjoyed my Empire campaign thus far and find it somewhat refreshing and lacking. I liked the feeling that since Empire the broader Total War experience from Land to Sea, but really enjoyed Attila. I was hoping for either a Thirty Years or Renaissance Total War believing they would be a great unexplored time period, but maybe there will be mods to help in that matter. And speaking of modders, I am totally amazed about how many great mods in such a short amount of time have been created. It is a testimony to how fortunate we are to have such a great community for all these Total War games.

    I like and hate the development chain for cities, characters, etc. I understand why they do it this way since Rome, but I would prefer if they could somehow merge the old Total War method with the new a bit more. I donít like having regions dedicated to one thing. I like the flexibility the old method gave the player. However, I think Warhammer thrives in the new manner. On the screen this game is a feast for the eyes, but I do feel that diplomacy is still clunky and random as always. I feel it simply needs more dialogue options to help get the answer you want like offer territory or maybe ransom a prince etc. For me the replay will more than likely not hold my attention like Total War Shogun 2. However, I did like Fall of the Samurai. Not that they are not great games, just that Iím more partial to a varied historical game like the other historical total wars bring. I do think that with what Warhammer brings to the table will be great in further developing future Total War titles and offers the Warhammer and fantasy fan a tremendous game all in all.
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    1. Alwyn's Avatar
      Alwyn -
      Great review, you provide an excellent introduction to the factions, units and setting and to the game mechanics on both the campaign map and battlefield. I find the comparisons with previous Total War games helpful; it sounds like Total War: Warhammer is accessible and exciting both for experienced Warhammer fans and for people who are new to it. One big question, it seems, will be about replayability - will this new game hold the attention of players, after they have completed their first few campaigns? The higher-level abilities of lords and wizards, and the variety of units between factions, sound enjoyable and impressive.
    1. Lugotorix's Avatar
      Lugotorix -
      Quote Originally Posted by Alwyn View Post
      Great review, you provide an excellent introduction to the factions, units and setting and to the game mechanics on both the campaign map and battlefield. I find the comparisons with previous Total War games helpful; it sounds like Total War: Warhammer is accessible and exciting both for experienced Warhammer fans and for people who are new to it. One big question, it seems, will be about replayability - will this new game hold the attention of players, after they have completed their first few campaigns? The higher-level abilities of lords and wizards, and the variety of units between factions, sound enjoyable and impressive.
      I'm not satisfied with replay value. I can only speak for myself, but I can't see playing through the 5 factions more than once or twice each. Customization for Legendary Lords a la Avatar mode in Shogun II would add a ton of value to the replay, but I think they're prohibited from creating new legendary lords by Games Workshop source material. The Beastmen mini-campaign and race pack costs seventeen dollars. What I was a bit shocked by is that based on what I've been hearing from Reddit and elsewhere, the community is getting a lot of replay value out of the game.
    1. Aneirin's Avatar
      Aneirin -
      That is a really decent review! Well done!
      I have played the table top game during my "younger" days and still have several armies (Vampires, Bretons, Chaos, Woodelves). Though I haven't played or better bought Total Warhammer, since I wasn't sure of what I will find and I didn't want to "jeopardise" my beloved memories of spending hours of hours playing with my friends.

      Yet, somehow you made me curious about the game and I'll definitely give it a shot as soon as is it is more affordable
      In any case, thank's for this first class review!
      As always, keep it up!

      cheerio,
      Aneirin
    1. Flinn's Avatar
      Flinn -
      thanks for the praises

      for anyone interested, there's a great WH AAR, that I invite to check, as it gives further in depth look into the game; on the same area you can find more AAR and let's plays
    1. ♔Old Dragoon♔'s Avatar
      ♔Old Dragoon♔ -
      I wanted to really love this game and open myself more to fantasy and for me I was just yearning for an updated Medieval or Renaissance Total War. I get there are many fantasy enthusiast and that is great for them, but for me it just did not hold my attention enough.
    1. bollard's Avatar
      bollard -
      I have all the Total War games , spent a fortune over the years upgrading pc's to get the most out of the games, and though the game is graphically excellent , I found myself just not drawn into it .I have clocked up approx. 7 hours and find I have no great desire to continue. Must be me, but something is missing or I just can't get into fantasy games. Forgive me, but I found myself bored after a short time. I may be wrong , but I think total war Warhammer will have a far narrower following than past TW games.
    1. Lugotorix's Avatar
      Lugotorix -
      I've put in 273 hours. I think it's time to turn the page. I will not be purchasing the expansions.
    1. ♔Old Dragoon♔'s Avatar
      ♔Old Dragoon♔ -
      I've put in only 55 hours and that maybe enough for me as well unless a really really cool overhaul mod came along.