Oh boy! Total War: Warhammer II, now that’s a mouthful.
A game combining my love of video games and the rich world of Games Workshop’s fantasy setting? Sign me up.
A long time tabletop game enthusiast, I have a pretty deep knowledge of the setting. On launching it and seeing the playable races available (High Elves, Dark Elves, Skaven and Lizardmen) my interest was further piqued.
Having two playable heroes from each faction was also a nice touch. The same can be said of the disclaimer that only one of each has introductory content. This is important as it serves as essentially a tutorial for the chosen faction.
Upon choosing your starting hero, the player is placed in their respective starting area. I chose the Dark Elf Faction led by the Malekith the Witch King of Naggaroth.
Naggaroth is one of four continents you start on. The others being Lustria (Lizardmen), Ulthuan (High Elves) and the Southlands (Skaven). Each area is set out in a vast map view drawing parallels with the Civilization series, with townships and cities spread across to conquer.
Crush, Kill, Destroy
The battle system is one I am very new to. Being able to initially control the flow of battle through micromanaged unit/hero control was initially pretty fun, but after a few battles, I found myself clicking the “Auto-Resolve” option.
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I preferred to build my forces up to a point where I was using overwhelming force vs tactical acumen on the open field of war. This is strange considering how fun I find moving units and strategizing from the tabletop setting I know and love. That’s not to say others won’t, the tactical advantages gained with managing the units that way is significant.
Shrewd commanders can position their units in ambush or on the high ground peppering them at range whilst your enemy breaks like waves on rocks against your infantry formations. All the while your mighty hero wades in and lays waste to lesser foes or goes toe to toe with enemy champions.
I can be your Hero baby
One particular area of annoyance I had while playing was the structured campaign. The learning curve felt extraordinarily steep and the hints and tips offered by the advisor were of little to no help. Essentially I was forced to play by trial and error.
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A lot of the elements in the game that are critical to success felt like flukes. A prime of this being the threat that my city is about to revolt, but giving me no clear path to manage or crush it. Instead, it would frustratingly spawn a vastly superior force to use as a speed bump/punishment for my apparent inactivity.
The tutorial levels felt a little too open for a game as vast and nuanced as this. I would have greatly appreciated a more structured approach. Having options of the various types of battles and scenarios was a nice touch though.
Fight me, coward
Pitching your predetermined force against an enemy’s predetermined force will stroke the tactician’s ego for many players.
The added bonus is the option of a multiplayer element. You can battle a friend using an agreed upon resource amount. This will bring a lot of players to the battleground who simply do not have the time to catch up for a tabletop game. This as the next best thing.
Whilst the world and lore for Total War: Warhammer II is rich and easily accessible, for me the gameplay was anything but. The learning curve appeared too steep for a new player like me and actually became intimidating and time-consuming to play.
This game is not for the time poor or impatient, but if long pitched battles and a game you can occasionally set down walk away and come back to without anything lost, this is a title for you.
This Total War: Warhammer II review is based on a PC code provided to PowerUp! by the publisher.
Game Title: Total War: Warhammer II