From the computer to the tabletop, this is all about games. Updated each week-end.
They nailed it.
If that is all you wanted to know, then that is all you need. This game is fantastic, and the game many a fan of the Warhammer background has wanted to see since the launch of Medieval: Total War so many years ago.
A note on the images. None of these are from my playing of the game, I obtained them all on the wonderful internet. The reason behind this is simple; my computer is just about up to the task of playing the game. My graphics card is below minimum spec, but my chip and RAM are at or above recommended spec. It all evens out, I guess. I can play, but not at high detail.
Total War: Warhammer has a number of important differences to other games in the series. The most obvious being it is based in a fantasy setting, not an historical setting. You can take human armies if you wish, or else marauding orcs, doughty dwarfs or the endless ranks of the undead. There are historical parallels to be sure, but this is not an historical title.
The next main difference people familiar with the series will note is the inability to occupy any part of the map. Orcs can occupy a Dwarf hold but not a human city; those can either be pillaged or razed, but will never become an Orc settlement.
The third difference is the battlefield importance of your characters. This is fantasy, and your heroes can kill hundreds of enemies and not think it too many. Using them correctly can be the difference between stunning victory and overwhelming defeat.
The game ships with four playable factions. The Empire, a human faction featuring many ranged weapons. Dwarfs, who also have ranged weapons but combine this with heavy armour and great fighting ability. Orcs are for those players who love the smell of burning towns in the morning, while the Vampire Counts just want everyone to do as they are told, and there are none more obedient than the dead.
Lurking beyond these factions is Chaos, a faction that can never settle, but can only destroy.
Fans of the setting will recognise these core factions and will also note the look and feel is consistent with the tabletop game between its 5th and 8th editions. For fans of Total War this game offers a huge difference to the titles you are used to but offers fantastic gameplay.
Each race has its rival. The Dwarfs and Orcs battle over the mountains and holds, while the Empire struggled to contain the Vampire Counts who will otherwise dominate the lands. The limitations on capture so a great job of keeping the factions fighting their rivals, and mean that games tend to progress in a manner in keeping with the setting. Orcs may invade and ravage the Empire, but they will never settle there; they aren’t interested.
The second thing that struck me about this game (the first being that they nailed it) is how difficult this can be compared to other titles. Building up a powerful army and going forth to fight your neighbours is a great way of getting overpowered, or having an enemy slip through your sparsely defended borders and burn down your towns and cities.
Strong defensive lands are important, as is positioning your forces where they can support one another and your cities against attack.
Aside from this, character progression, and a good mix of characters is important. Some character will do better than others against specific foes, so scouting the enemy prior to engaging can put you in a better position.
This review is based on less than 30 hours of play, but what hours they were! Warhammer has finally arrived on the computer, in the way it was always meant to. Things can only get better from here.