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Total War: Warhammer II

Posted by GG Goblin On October - 16 - 2017

More fantastic war.

 
Total War: Warhammer was the dream. For fans of Games Workshop’s fantasy world, the idea of combining Creative Assembly’s RTS expertise and the magical world of Warhammer was a long time coming, and when it arrived, it was great. I joined the cult of Games Workshop back in the eighties, when Warhammer Fantasy Battles came with hundreds of cardboard counters and didn’t require a small mortgage to field a decent army. But since I started playing RTS games on PC, the idea of a decent Warhammer themed game was forever in my mind. The Total War games have always been awesome, but to swap the historical setting for something more fantastical, well, the idea would make my head melt. Then it came true, and Total War: Warhammer was pretty much everything my ageing heart could desire.

 
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But how do you improve upon a dream come true? Well, fortunately the Warhammer world is packed to the brim with deep lore and amazing stories. It also has more warring factions than could easily be squeezed into one game, and so along comes Total War: Warhammer II. Moving the campaign to a completely different part of the Warhammer world and introducing four new races with which to do battle, along with the associated heroes, Warhammer II offers fresh RTS experiences for both RTS and Warhammer fans. As the second part of a planned trilogy, which will eventually all combine into the mother of all Warhammer RTS games, from the outset part two is different, but the same.

 
For those new to the series, what are you waiting for? Fantasy strategy doesn’t get much better than this. It really doesn’t make much of a difference if you jump into the action with the first game in this series, or this one, as long as you jump in. The game is, as always with the Total War games, played in two halves. There is the turn-based strategic game, which is not too dissimilar to the Civilization games, in which the player will expand their territory by capturing settlements and then manage the settlements to create resources which can be used for more improvements, or to increase their army. This part of the game is great fun and gives things a real epic scale. Moving armies around the map and facing off against various different factions or races, dropping in a bit of diplomacy if needed, and making sure there is always enough resources to pay for those massive armies that are protecting your lands from interlopers, it’s all very empowering. The best thing is, for fans of Civilization, that you can skip the other part of the game most of the time, concentrating instead on being a masterful lord of all you survey by letting the battles auto-resolve.

 
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However, that would mean missing out on what are arguably the most impressive real-time battles in videogame history. The previous Total War games have always been great when it comes to the battlefield, watching hundreds of troops slog it out in real-time. However, swap the pike men and mounted knights of the other games for humanoid rat creatures or lizardmen riding on dinosaurs, and you have something quite special. Throw in the occasional massive monster and you could almost forget the turn-based part of the game. You issue orders to your units, have them launch volleys of arrows at the approaching enemy from the advantageous high ground, have your mounted troops hide in the forest until they can attack the enemy from behind, or simply throw some spells into the enemy formation and watch as they run like little babies. Damn, it’s easy to carried away with the action, but it really is very good.

 
So, Warhammer II has a new setting and new campaigns. This time around, the campaigns for each of the playable races are more interlinked, unlike the first game which felt very much like separate games for each of the races. Whichever race the player chooses, they want control over a magical vortex, and so with each race having the same goal, albeit for different reasons, the player will know what the opposing races want and it becomes more of a race. Control of the Great Vortex will require rituals being completed in different places around the world map, so expect lots of to and fro no matter which race you play as.

 
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Warhammer II is set on the continents of Lustria, Ulthuan, Naggaroth and the Southlands, which offers quite the change of scenery from the first game. It also means that the new races for this sequel include both the High Elves and the Dark Elves, the Lizardmen and fan favorite, the Skaven. The High Elves are pretty much the do-gooders of the Warhammer world, able to field powerful troops in low numbers and a superior attitude. The Dark Elves on the other hand, are pretty much evil and will quite quickly fall into a blood lust. The Lizardmen are awesome, combining magic with dinosaurs to defeat their foes. The Skaven, mutated rat men that wallow in pestilence and disease, are just brilliantly chaotic. Everyone loves a rat man. Each of the races has two leaders to choose from, each of which come with different skills and troops, further expanding the options for the player.

 
Aside from the main campaigns, as if players need anything else, there are plentiful battles to be fought, both solo and against real players in the multiplayer matches where the players build an army to a certain resource total and then face off on the battlefield. While I never really bother with the multiplayer, there is a lot of content here for like-minded players to come together and test their strategic skills.

 
There are other new features and improvements to the game, but in reality Warhammer II is more like a massive expansion to the first game. Given its non-expansion price, this could be seen as a bad thing. But the fact is that there is so much content here, and it is so much fun, that I don’t really mind. Once players are able to combine the first and second game into one massive campaign map, it really will be a sight to behold.

 
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Once again, Creative Assembly have done justice to Games Workshop’s incredibly detailed fantasy world. While the overall game may have little differences from the previous title, the new races, new setting and new combined campaign are well worth Total War: Warhammer II’s price of entry. And besides, Total War: Warhammer was already a dream come true, so if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Now excuse me, I have to feed my pet Skaven some Warpstone.

 

 ★★★★★★★★★☆ 



 

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