Total War: Warhammer PC Preview: When Two Franchises Collide

warhammer-gameCreative Assembly’s Total War series is set to reach a major milestone next week, when its tenth main instalment hits the market.

Since Shogun: Total War was released in 2000, the franchise has ventured to various eras. Games set in the Medieval, Roman, and Napoleonic periods all put players in control of real-world armies – but the forthcoming release is a huge change of direction, taking place in one of today’s biggest fictional universes.

Warhammer has a huge following, spanning table-top games, novels, and now its own Total War tie-in. The property’s deep rules and tactics make it a shoe-in for a crossover with this leading strategy series, and by teaming with Games Workshop, Creative Assembly are appealing to fans of both franchises.

With so much to draw on, there’s plenty of potential here, but how does it measure up so far?

Vamps, Giants, and Heroes: Fights With Flair

total warTotal War: Warhammer follows the gameplay pattern of previous entries in the series. Players take control of one of multiple factions, and start creating their own settlements, developing technologies, and expanding their armies. Once battles start, they unfold as real-time tactical epics … and they’re usually pretty complex.

Thankfully, an advisor is on hand to explain the game from the start, helping newcomers make sense of everything thrown their way. It might take some getting used to, but Creative Assembly appears to have acknowledged that the Warhammer license will bring in people who have never even heard of Total War before, let alone played one of the previous games.

While previous Total War titles have been based on historical wars, they were forced to take a realistic approach, using weaponry and technology of the respective era. With Warhammer, however, Creative Assembly are free to use all the monsters, magic, and heavy-duty weaponry at their disposal. So, giants, Arachnarok Spiders, flying beasts, and more outlandish creatures all feature, and legendary heroes have the power to change the direction of a battle all on their lonesome.

warhammerFor fans of the Total War series, this fresh take on the game is likely to be a welcome change from the real-world styling of previous entries, and for fans of Warhammer, diving into a simulated version of their favourite hobby is sure to put a smile on many a face. The visuals are stunning, with the diverse creatures and characters rendered with impressive accuracy. While the grim and gritty environments are as muddy as you might expect, the sheer amount of activity and smooth effects keep the game entertaining to watch.

There are four factions to choose from at launch: the Vampire Counts; the Greenskins (orcs and goblins); the Empire; and the Dwarves. Each of these has its own characters, playing style, and campaign features. As a result, playing through the game with a different faction should feel like a different game in itself.

Total War: Warhammer promises hundreds of hours of gameplay, and it’s sure to be a huge hit with fans of both franchises. With only a few more days to go until launch, gamers don’t have long to wait before they get to try it for themselves.

What has you most excited for Total War: Warhammer? Let us know!