What about Total War: Warhammer ? Descendant of the ancestral lineage of Total War , he clearly stands out from his ancestors by abandoning the historical aspect of the franchise to go to the field of fantasy – irrefutable proof of his status as a half-blood with the franchise. by Games Workshop . If the game offers a rich and beautiful universe, pleasant and strategic battles but also a style of play very different from that of the old Total War , this is done at the expense of pillars of the franchise. A somewhat radical choice which makes the game more accessible to neophytes and refocuses the game on combat.
MANAGERS, RUN AWAY
Players familiar with Total War will quickly notice the lack of economic strategy in Total War: Warhammer . This is because most of the buildings only serve to improve a faction’s ability to fight by unlocking access to new units or reducing their recruitment and maintenance costs.
The control one can have over one’s economy is also minimal. Impossible for example to determine a level of tax: it is all or nothing for each province. The trade agreements, them, bring in the end little money, except for the Dwarves who make it a specialty. Some regions have special productions (wine, salt …) having a slight influence on the economy, but it stops there, these resources having no other use than to bring in money or advance in the quest for a legendary lord. The majority of the income comes from a number of owned provinces and, following the game’s martial credo, post-battle loot and city looting.
And diplomacy? Quite simplistic, it makes it possible to form defensive or military alliances, to pass non-aggression pacts and to manage its commercial relations, while offering the possibility of changing the alliances of other factions as long as the arguments are found.
But it is also very deceitful : playing Empire, for example, we receive a lot of requests for alliance and non-aggression pacts that should not be accepted lightly. My allies have thus returned to war against each other several times, forcing me to make a difficult choice and ruining my reputation with other factions. A domino effect that can quickly backfire.
After all, the world of Warhammer is meant to always be in conflict. Rapid and complete domination of the continent is impossible with a powerful economy and a limited number of armies, partly because one quickly finds oneself assailed from all sides if one becomes too powerful. We must then maneuver politically, attack at the right time, play on alliances and extort money from other factions in exchange for their survival.
The Dwarves, for example, have a Book of Grudges, in which are recorded the affronts done to them. These must be washed in blood under penalty of seeing the population lose confidence in the king and end up revolting. Getting rid of Grudges earns money which, in addition to a thriving business, brings in a lot of money for the Dwarves. But their movements are limited and slow, and their units are very expensive.
The Greenskins, on the other hand, have to be on the move and in combat all the time, because their economy is very weak and trade is not their strong point. They must therefore continually find enemies to avoid internal quarrels within their armies and try to bring up a WAAAAGH, an additional army . The looting of cities is recommended to avoid economic suffocation and continue to crush dwarfs and eat humans.
COMBAT AT THE HEART OF THE GAME
Battles are by far one of the most advanced aspects of Total War , and arguably the most fun part of the game. We of course find the classic form of combat in the franchise, a kind of rock-paper-scissors, with slightly more varied units this time around – notably thanks to the introduction of flying units and much larger units like monsters.
Generals are now much stronger and more important to your armies. Besides, there is no army without recruiting a general, which limits your military power and makes each fight much more crucial . The appearance of item abilities and magic, usable by your heroes and lords, also gives chances to return a losing battle – without ever offering victory on a board.
Unlike older Total War games , combat is much quicker and skirmishes usually end quickly for seasoned players – newbies can take their time reorganizing their army and strategy with the options to slow down and pause during combat. Battles are short once the basics are acquired, making it easy to move on to the next battle. This has some flaws, however: there isn’t much time to admire the combat, and battles that have everything to be epic end as quickly as a simple skirmish.
The differences between the units of each race again bring variety to the battles and provide interesting tactical choices. How for example to fight against the Dwarves? If these have no cavalry and are very slow, they are extremely resistant and have colossal firepower with their ranged attack units and artillery. The Vampire Counts, on the other hand, are just as problematic: they have access to different magic very quickly and their units fight to the death. In return, they have no ranged unit and suffer casualties if their general dies.
Battles are also very different depending on where they take place. The relief often determines the strategy to be adopted, and the AI does not hesitate to abuse it in high difficulty modes. But while most terrains on the map add value to battles, the game falters when it comes to attacking towns (except for a few) . Because despite absolutely magnificent scenery, all the sieges take place in the same way: load a large horizontal wall under enemy fire, climb the walls while destroying the door, enter a city with mostly flat terrain and push up to get rid of enemy units.
The defense is a little more pleasant : the very straight streets allow to temporize to take the enemy from the rear, and the provincial capitals can be left alone most of the time as their garrisons are powerful.
Multiplayer battles are awe-inspiring, gathering up to 8 players, and requiring great coordination and balance in the composition of forces – as well as a good sense of strategy. The best place to test your level, train in micro management and get to know the game.
Let’s be clear, unlike its ancestors, Total War Warhammer is much more geared towards battles than running an empire. What was before a big part of old Total War is all but gone: if management is your thing , Total War Warhammer isn’t for you. The game is not without it, however, thanks to the unique play styles of each race, the diversity of units and more dynamic combat – but sometimes a little too short. Much of the difficulty of the game comes from the fact that it is very difficult to keep a great empire in place. Maintaining its armies on all the fronts that open up with territorial expansion is extremely complicated and takes time and many alliances, a feat difficult to achieve in the world of Warhammer, with its aversions and incessant wars.
The game’s replayability leaves a little to be desired , with only four races available (five with the Chaos DLC), each with restrictions on its development. Never mind: the mod community is already working hard to improve and expand the game, paving the way for new factions, new units, new spells and an ever-renewing Total War Warhammer. , for the greatest pleasure of the players.