We got to review Total War Warhammer III, the third and final chapter of the amazing Total War Warhammer series of turn-based strategy games.
It’s everything you love about the Total War series mixed with the glorious high fantasy of Warhammer’s Old World– and it’s easily one of the best Warhammer games you’ll ever play, assuming you’re in for the game’s core pitch.
On top of that that Total War DNA also means it’s also just a great all-around turn based strategy with a fantasy twist. If you love the idea of the bookkeeping of war while also being a gross pus-filled herald of the plague God, you’ll be over the moon with this new entry
How does Total War Warhammer III go about doing this? Read on and find out.
Ruinous Powers And Magic China
Total War Warhammer III has a large launch roster- the largest of the three games so far. From the icy Kislev to the totally-not-China Grand Cathay to even the Daemonic forces of Chaos, there’s plenty to love in the game. Each faction feels really impactful to choose, as they have their own various considerations for their gameplay mechanics.
I’m a particularly a big fan of Chaos Undivided- the faction that just straight-up combines the forces from the other 4 Chaos factions under one umbrella. It’s the most exemplary faction for Total War Warhammer III because it’s undoubtedly the most freeing- as you wage your campaign across the game’s massive map, you’ll keep conquering settlements and devoting them to each one of Warhammer’s four Chaos Gods, earning more daemonic favor to get better units from each God’s pool of daemons.
That being said, it’s not like the other factions are any slouch, either. Grand Cathay’s campaign straight up gives them a Great Wall to defend, and their Yin-Yang balance system means that you’ll want to consider things like unit placement even moreso than before to make sure that every unit is balanced to reap extra buffs.
Each of the game’s factions feel deep and rich to play, which is good because these campaigns are incredibly long as you become a dominant super power in the old world through the power of diplomacy and good ol’fashioned colonialism.
One thing I do kind of find funny though is that while the factions all play quite differently, their core skills are almost still a little too similar. While I get that it’s the Total War series, so you have to maintain some level of mechanical similarity, the idea of a hulking Daemon Prince with a serpent for a tail having to ask the vikings to pretty-please leave him alone is almost kind of funny in its own way.
Don’t Get Buried In Paperwork
That being said, the Total War series can be incredibly overwhelming for any player, especially if your only knowledge of strategy games is the fast-paced Starcraft. The Total War series is much more slower-paced, needing you to get the most out of your turns while also planning turns ahead for things like Population Surplus bonuses to unlock your next tier of upgrades.
Thankfully, the game’s prologue chapter is an amazing tutorial for the game, teaching you all the basics from your different stances to the basics of combat. It turns the Total War series’ massive influx of menus and things to do into a manageable list of tasks you need to do to turn a city of Skaven into dust, 5 turns from now.
Even if you’re playing the campaign, the game’s really good about helping you keep your tasks in check- the Skip Turn button changes to tell you which notifications you have pending, such as telling you to upgrade your Heroes, Buildings or even move your Lords before you accidentally skip a turn too early.
The result is that Total War Warhammer III is a really welcoming first entry even if you’re not familiar with either Total War or Warhammer- which means more people than ever can get into it.
One new feature in Total War Warhammer III is the new Daemonic Realms. As per the game’s plot, the dying Bear god Ursun will open Daemonic rifts, where every faction can go in and attempt to claim souls bound to each of the four Chaos Gods. These souls will then open up the pathway to the Forge of Souls where Ursun is kept, and you can face off against Be’Lakor in one final battle to determine what happens to the bear god.
I should stress that these battles are incredibly hard. Khorne’s challenge is multiple fights in succession, with no room to recuperate your losses if you want to get your soul in record time.
Worse still, delaying your incursion into these realms means getting blasted by notifications from the game, as various other forces manage to get souls meaning you’re yet another step behind.
I do love the new feature since it gives you a time limit on getting your band together- you don’t want to be caught when the rifts open with few forces outside of a few nurglings. But the fact that the game of war still goes on while you’re on your field trip means expect to find a lot of newer players feeling downright overwhelmed with things to do.
Now Back To The Good Part
Of course, if you don’t want to play the long campaigns, the game has bite-sized chunks to enjoy too. There’s a simple Battle Mode, letting you muster all the forces you want to just engaged in some classic Total War chuck-enemy-soldiers-at-each-other without having to worry about the ruinous forces of Chaos living paycheck-to-paycheck.
Similarly there’s also a Quest Battle System, which lets you do themed battles with their own story around them. They’re nothing much, but a great way to let you blow off some steam if you’re not in the mood to play the campaign and mindless slaughter isn’t all that appealing, either.
I’m glad these modes are in because Total War Warhammer III’s battles are incredibly fun. Smacking big hordes of socially undistant forces into each other always puts a smile on my face, especially when they’ve added animations like a Skull Chariot drifting and sending hordes of Norslanders flying from the impact.
Total War Warhammer III is an absolute blast of a game if you’re willing to buy in to the turn based strategy genre. As a huge fan of Warhammer, Total War Warhammer III really felt like the experience of the tabletop writ large in an experience that couldn’t be replicated anywhere else.
A lot of my complaints come from the genre itself- the game’s length means that very often you’ll be playing turns already knowing you’ve lost, but pressing on as if you could somehow change it when your Bloodletters have about 5 gold to their name and you just lost a Lord in battle. Snowballing is true of any battle result, so expect to find yourself losing big time after your first decisive defeat.
Still, if you’re willing to shoulder that fear of watching your entire empire crumble around you, you’re in for a world-class experience. The game gets its hooks into you good, and you’ll constantly find yourself wanting to go just one more turn before doing literally anything else in an infinite loop.
Just remember that not even being the chosen herald of Nurgle is enough to make people want to give up their kingdoms for you.
Total War Warhammer 3 Review
|One of the most authentic Warhammer experiences||Slow-paced nature of the genre makes it an acquired taste|
|Smashing armies into each other is fun|
|Lots of unique factions|
Game reviewed on ROG Strix G17. Total War Warhammer III Review Copy provided by SEGA.