I’ll try and do a fair review of this game and bring different sides to this game as it seems to get a lot of praise and also a lot of hatred.
I have just finished my first campaign and I have to admit I am looking forward to trying the other races, they all seem quite distinct and play differently.
I will get out some of the good points first before hitting on the negatives.
The new races are great yes it maybe bit upsetting for some that there is no Empire (human races) some find it hard to identify outside their species I guess but I love Skaven, I love Dark Elves and I’m fond of Lizardmen and High Elves.
Yes I am a Warhammer fan from my childhood solely but I fondly remember those times so I am a fan of the Warhammer world but its not for many it seems. If you hate this world then this game is not going to change your mind.
So the good things are the new races work well, the Elves are pretty different from each other so no issues for me there as some have issues with their being 2 similar races but they play so great and are common enemies.
The new Vortex system does add some direction mid-end game its not perfect but its a great building block and I hope to see this develop further. I know some people love to just cover a map with their little flags we have all done it in Empire but tbh I don’t have time for this anymore and like a more focus directed campaign.
The battles are very good yes they do end a little quickly (this is easily moddable as I’m sure many know) but I’ve had a lot of fun in these games especially the important epic battles. The auto-resolve is better balanced it seems this time so the easy wins can be auto, but those close battles or expected loses are worth fighting. I have played all Total Wars and I find I enjoy the battles a lot more than many of the recent Total Wars. The AI is no better in this game then previous games BUT I find the battles harder than previous TW games as there are so much more than simple rock-paper-scissors, or spear vs cav, cav vs soldiers etc etc elements. For me historical TW games are very simple and organised which is great and I do enjoy that but this game can get quite messy and chaotic and a simple bit of magic or dragon can wreck your perfectly placed flank maneouver or line.
The new map is huge and very well designed, there are lots of different races to battle, conquer or ally. Was nice to fight dwarves, undead, humans etc even if you cant play as them.
The UI is much improved and tutorial tips are good for newbies, I think TW elitists forget that for this series to improve and grow you do need to entice newbies to the title, even if its Warhammer that starts them off on there first TW game they may pick up the next historical title.
In general one campaign in I have enjoyed it, it deserves a lot of praise, it does feel like a full game I’ve seen lots of expansion comments and it is in the middle as the game is not a huge leap forward but for me its made enough changes (more than some games that have 2-3 years), different races, better UI, new map, weapons, magic, vortex system. Its not TW at its peak as it used to be but its getting there for me this is a 9 out of 10 game. And TW used to be a GOTY contender. Lets hope with the next one we might get a classic.
The CONS: There maybe more cons than Pros. Im that sort of person but its still a great game.
The sea, safe traversing, battles are a big issue for me especially on this map. So much water and in the midst of a big war I felt very lost and confused about sea battles that it totally ruined the end game for me as Skaven.
In my battle against the Dark Elves I sent 4 armies up to there continent to make sure they didnt complete the final vortex as I was 6-7 turns from completing mine and my land seemed quite safe and with allies surrounding me.
Well my jolly old ratmen are not big fans of the sea but in this rush to try and halt the vortex I lost 3 and a half armies on the way, I managed to get a half dead army on to land and only to be defeated as I’d expect when entering what felt like Mordor.
My armies were well designed for what I needed them to do, they were fairly cheap but well prepared and constructed and could win against most fights I was expected to lose. Now the Dark Elves had smaller armies then my 20 stackers but were full of tier 3 elite dragons and though dangerous not well structured armies. On land I would win, but on sea it is autoresolve and I lost my whole armies every time.
Unless I’m missing something theres no way of knowing who will win these battles before entering into them (which I usually avoided *without save and reload*.
Tbh not having proper seabattles is a shame but there should be some other element involved with it to add strategy if you cant fight them yourself. For me this killed my end game and my enjoyment of this first campaign I could maybe have come back but unlikely and I ended my campaign few turns later as it was pretty much game over.
Maybe as other races I’ll enjoy seafaring more but for me this was my biggest disappointment.
Next thing is the Elf lands seem very lacking in characters compared to the Southern regions. Which is maybe lore but sure we could have chucked in some interesting species that may have rested there in some periods. Also there is a lot of land up there that just seems to fall into the Elves hands. The Lizards and especially the Skaven have a real battle on there hands at first.
The intervention mechanic is ok at best. For me I at one point paid for 2 intervention armies one for DE and then one for HE,, the first appeared but I never saw the second intervention army. It never said it got destroyed it just was never there.
Plus the armies are completely dumb. One time the intervention army destroyed a city and then just stuck it around this city for entire game until it was smashed by 2 HE armies, if it had moved about it would have done more damage, in the end the HE just ganged up on it.
The diplomacy is still thread bare and needs more options to bring it closer to some aspects of Shogun/Rome. It cant be as complex as these games but needs to have some elements.
You can’t raze your own cities when you need too, some mechanic would be nice here. Or an outpost option when you take a city but just need it for a temporary stop off before moving on. I know you can use encamp but sometimes I need a double buff on troops so capture a city to heal up and defend good before moving on for an objective maybe.
I’d like more smaller stack armies. I enjoy big fights but every fight is a big one. I sometimes like smaller armies to be fielded or used as scout armies. Maybe bigger army more cost % wise.
Anyway enjoyed the game.
I know a lot of TW historical fans hate this franchise at the moment (Me not being one of them as I enjoy both) but I understand their fears but tbh I think these games are best at being as different as possible.
All I can say is I am very interested in seeing what CA do with the historical series as they can take some good ideas from this to freshen up the histotical games. Just dont dumb down the campaign, diplomacy side of TW as they’ll lose a lot of face.
IntroductionSo the time has finally come for me to write about another sequel which has surpassed its predecessor in nearly all aspects. The gaming industry does fare better than its film counterpartin this regard. Total War: WARHAMMER II is currently my favorite in the entire Creative Assembly series and this was not to be expected, in all honesty. In fact, I have to admit that I was quite skeptical at the developer’s decision to explore a full fantasy setting, when they first announced Total War: WARHAMMER in 2015. It took me another year to finally play it, once MSI had bundled a Steam key for it, along with a new motherboard I bought from them. As a history buff and fan of the Warhammer 40K series, I really didn’t think that the Warhammer Fantasy setting would succeed. But I was proved wrong.
Simply the introduction of magic and all sorts of monstrous creatures, would have never been a formula for success on its own. CA had to integrate Games Workshop’s rich lore and adapt it to the Total War series’ signature hybrid genre of real time battles within a turn based campaign. Strategy gaming at its finest given the right circumstances, such as sufficient development time, proper quality assurance and last but not least, learning from past mistakes while listening to what the established fanbase desired. Total War: Rome II took many months after its launch and even more patches, just to be playable on most systems, but Total War: WARHAMMER and now its sequel which I’m writing about, are quite stable from day one. That is a very important step forward and while Total War games remain PC exclusives and dependent in equal measure on CPUs and GPUs, I knew that I had to play & test them far longer than the time I allocate to most review projects. I was not disappointed.
Story While its precursor focused on the Warhammer Old World (part of the Eastern Hemisphere), Total War: WARHAMMER II went for a larger scale by including the entire Western Hemisphere and thus featuring the New World (Lustria & Naggaroth), the Ulthuan archipelago and vast swaths of the Southlands (from the deserts of Araby to southern jungles of Yuatek). In case you didn’t notice already, the Warhammer Fantasy world is mirroring Earth’s own continents and oceans with the single exception being Ulthuan which is in more ways than one, a reference to the mythological (sunken) land of Atlantis. It is not only a change of scenery, but also an opportunity for armies to take full advantage of the new types of terrain and the subsequent attrition which may assist or hinder the various warring factions, depending on their racial affinities. Jungles, deserts and frozen wastelands may prove an enemy as worthy as a well trained army, if you’re not carefully planning your campaign.
As with the intial Total War: WARHAMMER, the sequel also has a central theme and potential threat that requires the players’ constant attention. Instead of emphasizing on massive Chaos Invasions, we now have to cater to a “magical tornado”. The Eye of the Vortex is the name of the new main campaign and unsurprisingly, it offers an excellent dynamic between focusing on the regional or player-induced objectives and the one goal that truly matters: gaining full control of the Vortex. All four playable races and their subfactions, wish to exert their influence over this supernatural barrier created by the High Elves in order to siphon the Chaos taint while also preventing the resurgence of the nefarious Daemons. Naturally, not all races have the same intentions for the Vortex, but they must all subdue their rivals before claiming the final victory. I shall of course, focus on each race in as much detail as I can, in the gameplay section below.
Suffice to say for now, that I enjoyed the Vortex campaign far more than simply staving off one Chaos “doom-stack” (an allegory I use to describe a full 20 unit roster that is also overpowered) after another. Defending or attacking the Vortex, you’ll still have to face auto-spawned full stacks, yet having to contend with them in sparse succession is the key to victory in this case. Divide and conquer, my friends! There’s no denying that the entire map and racial choice seems more exotic, more diversified from one cardinal point to another. The save games are now better stored and categorized by faction, so you can efficiently play with all races at the same time, if you wish. It’s not the real time switch between these sovereign states like in Crusader Kings II, but it is a step forward from having all save games stacked upon each other. Proof that even small User Interface changes can have a large impact on the overall experience.
GraphicsThere’s some debate online over the used graphics engine’s name since some refer to it as Warscape and some as simply being “TW3”. What truly matters is that it’s proprietary to developer Creative Assembly and it is a visibile improvement over the series’ predecessor. At launch, Total War: WARHAMMER II had some minor frame rate drops which were fixed rather fast. I’m having the same solid performance now while playing the game maxed out, on 2K resolution. It’s remarkable that while the battle maps aren’t any bigger than in Total War: WARHAMMER, in the sequel they are far more detailed. Siege maps are especially a visual delight whether we’re talking of the Aztec-like pyramids of the Lizardmen or the sprawling castles of High Elves. You’ll be witnessing fortifications that truly put to shame anything erected by the Dwarfs or the Empire of Man.
Apart from the maps, the HUD saw a nice overhaul, which now implements the racial bonus/malus system pertaining to the selected faction and the diplomacy menu has also been streamlined. Minor details from the campaign map, become noticeable once a race captures all the settlements within a province and various objects and structures begin to appear within a few turns. For example, you’ll be seeing a lot of Warpstone meteorites and mine shafts or burrows once Skaven corruption reaches a higher echelon within newly captured provinces or even neighbouring regions. The influence bleeding effect is taking a literal meaning in this case. Vampiric corruption also features some extra visual assets that make the map stand out. Incremental improvements for certain, yet if you’ve played Total War: WARHAMMER for a decent amount of time, you’ll notice and appreciate the changes implemented by the sequel.
AudioEverything is top notch, from the epic soundtrack to the convincing voice acting that’s being portrayed in the same kind of diversity, as the visual assets themselves. The quirks and mannerisms of each faction, are lore appropriate. Speech patterns aren’t the only aspect that adds further personality to each faction leader and minions, but they are the most prominent early on. I couldn’t find a single flaw in the audio department. As a fan of epic music in general terms, Total War: WARHAMMER II features more than a few tracks I’d listen even outside the game.
Gameplay, Verdict, Summary & Rating are below in the Comment Section.
1. Much larger campaign map (or so it feels) than the previous game.
2. Skaven, and soon to be Tomb Kings ( YES!).
3. New huge campaign that’s focused on the great Vortex of Ulthuan.
4. Again CA knocks it out of the park with the unique playstyle of every race.
5. Improvements to magic UI make line spells a hell of a lot more usable.
6. Mortal Empires (post launch) adds all of the old factions (save for Norsca) so there’s currently 12 encounterable races, and adds a new campaign that combines most of both maps.
1. The Man-o-War license is really hurting this game now. High Elves and Dark Elves without Navel battles basically have most of the flavor of their factions sucked out. Luckily CA tried to negate this a bit by making the oceans of the world much smaller so there’s less impact, but it could have used some old school navel combat mechanics like in Medieval 2.
2. Without the first game adding the Mortal Empires campaign and races this game seems a little lackluster of a choice compared to the first one since a lot of the hardcore flavor factions were introduced in the first game.
3. Campaigns in the Mortal Empires map are definitely grand, but the problem is that they tend to drag on. I haven’t finished a single Mortal Empires campaign and I’ve put around a hundred hours into my Empire campaign. It’s grand, but late game drags on in it.
4. Norsca. I hate to say it since they’ve been very upfront about what’s been happening with the Norsca debacle, but unfortunately this game will have been out for nearly a year before we see content that was already in the previous title. This also includes the 30th anniversary patch. These two updates were huge, and made a lot of the factions more entertaining to play as with their units of renown. I understand that they had to redo those updates completely and that kind of work takes time, but it’s still very dissappointing to have to wait that long for old content.
This game and the first Warhammer Total War are both awesome! This game gives you the Lizardmen, High Elves, Dark Elves, and Skaven races to play as with the Tomb Kings coming up in January as DLC. If you have both Total War Warhammers they combine in the Mortal Empires campaign, and while not at launch CA, the developer, has been very upfront about what’s happening with this game and I’m very happy with their delivery of everything, save for the Norsca debacle. All of the DLC for the previous game was really good and added quite a lot of goodies so I’m more than excited to see what they come up with for this game. I’m a little worried since after the Tomb Kings there isn’t any table top armies I could see them adding until game 3, but some people are speculating a Dogs of War army which I wouldn’t be against.
This game needs a little bit more power than the previous title, but overall it wasn’t to rough of a transition. If you haven’t played a Total War game yet I would highly recommend looking at the system specs and making sure that your computer is up to the task. Even my machine with a 1080TI and 16GB of RAM and 3.55GHz of processing speed has moments of lag when in battles that have more than two armies involved.
With all of that said the first game ate up over a thousand hours of my time and I loved every minute of it. This game has so far eaten over two-hundred hours of my life. I don’t think there has been a better Warhammer fantasy game. If you like dark sinister fantasy lore and want to see some epic armies duking it out with all sorts of monsters and eldritch horrors this is the game for you.
UPDATE January 4th 2020
So I’ve pumped in another 1,200 hours since I originally reviewed this game. It’s been a couple years and there have been a great deal of DLCs released for this game that should be discussed.
First of all Norsca has made its way back into the game along with the huge 30th anniversary patch. I’m happy to say that these both hold up pretty well and now there’s not much of a reason to go back to game one. Even more so after the Potion of Speed update which just came out a few weeks ago. The Potion of Speed update DRASTICALLY reduced the wait between turns.
We’ve gotten another faction after the Tomb Kings which is the Vampire Coast. On table top they were a kind of obscure variant of the Vampire Counts, but Creative Assembly has done their part in researching Forge World models which were kind of a unofficial off shoot for the table top, but they were still overseen by Games Workshop (the original creators of Warhammer) so Forge World stuff is still pretty legit. Norsca is a faction that is likewise mostly made out of Forge World stuff for the Warriors of Chaos. Anyway the Vampire Coast is a solid addition to the game.
Another huge bonus to the Vampire Coast being added is that we now have a battle option for naval battles. While it’s not actual naval warfare that we get to play out it’s still nice to not have a giant chunk of the map where you’re doomed to auto resolve battles. Instead both fleets land their armies on an island so they can duke it out in a traditional Total War land battle. Not what I wanted, but still better than auto resolve hell.
Another solid addition is a recent DLC that updated the Empire faction from game one and gave the ability to play as the Empire even without owning game one. Bretonnia has also had a faction released in this new game that’s playable on the Eye of the Vortex campaign and soon CA has promised we’ll be getting another Greenskins faction. So needless to say they have not forgotten to update the old armies so that they can keep up with the new content which I thank Sigmar for!
The High Elves, Dark Elves, Lizardmen, and Skaven have all received lord packs and have been updated as well. Skaven and Dark Elves have especially seen some pretty large changes to their gameplay with the updates to Black Arch mechanics and Under Empires being allowed to be built under other factions’ settlements.
The Mortal Empires campaign map has been expanded even further to include a small chunk of the Darklands which means the Mortal Empires campaign is HUGE! This has effected the gameplay of the Dwarfs especially since you’re no longer at the edge of the map where you can be positive you’re safe from invasion. Overall I’m happy with this landmass addition which has added about 14 settlements if I’m not mistaken. Eye of the Vortex is still the same size, but with all of the new factions it feels extremely jam packed with crazy characters and encounters.
I’m not sure if I’ll need to update this review ever again, but that mostly depends on how much DLC is left before game three. I know it’s been a LONG time since this one dropped compared to the gap between game one and two so it’s definitely a different can of worms. This game is now extremely well polished and flows like a dream. I’m a little fearful of a new title at this point that adds even more to the giant gauntlet of fantasy craziness, but I’m excited to get Chaos Dwarfs and the Ogre Kingdoms! I can’t recommend this game enough it’s currently my favorite video game and I’ve put the hours into it to show.