Total War: Warhammer was a difficult one for me. I’ve played many of the Total War games in the past. Well, to be honest, touched upon them. I fire up a new campaign, doesn’t matter which faction or country, think I’m doing awesomely well and then find by turn 30 I’m dead. Game over. This unfortunate skill level of mine really turned me off Warhammer. Even though I am in love with the table top game and how that’s played. And yes, we know this review is pretty late, but we wanted to give it a chance this time rather than just giving up.

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I still decided to give it a go. I chose to start off with the Dwarfs, simply because the game told me this faction, over the Greenskins, Vampire Counts, Warriors of Chaos (if you pre-ordered) and The Empire were the easiest to start with. Well, that’s good. I love easy, especially when we’re talking about the Total War games. They’re already a minefield of menus and options as it is.

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So off I went, listening to every single word the tutorial advisor had to say, which to tell you the truth is pretty poor. The game really only gives you the basics. It felt like this was more aimed at Total War Veterans coming straight from Attila or Rome, not some beginner who really wants to like the game. It has taken me four or five restarts of the Dwarven campaign now to really get to grips with it.

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Total War: Warhammer is incredibly beautiful. The campaign map right through to being zoomed in on one of your soldiers fighting the enemy. It’s surprising even now how much deatil Creative Assembly can cram into it. The battlefields are absolute chaos, and with the new introduction to larger giant units, soldiers can be seen flying around in all directions. The giant units really do add a new layer of strategy that I haven’t seen before in Total War. They’re tough to kill and are generally a pain the back side quite frankly, but they’re fun to use and deploy within your armies.

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What is interesting to me playing through the Dwarven campaign is how watered down it is compared to Attila or other Total War games. There is no family tree, diplomacy seemed a lot easier to understand, resource management was nicely laid out in fewer menus as well. What they have added however is magic, which can come in the form of runes. These magic items can be used on the battlefield to sway certain fights. My favourite I’ve seen so far has got to be a swirling tornado of fire which burns through troops extremely quickly.

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Total War: Warhammer is hard, I can’t deny that. Even for someone like me who has kept up with the Total War games for some time. However, something about it keeps bringing me back. Maybe it’s the fact it’s Warhammer, or because it looks beautiful, or because I have the chance to smash hundreds of troops into eachother while screaming FREEEEDOOOOM at my computer sccreen. Whatever it is, I like it, and I will continue to keep coming back until I can hold my own in a campaign. Oh and by the way, I’m now going into turn 100, so it’s going okay so far. Buy it, try it, you won’t regret the hours of fun and frustration you will get out of it.

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Total War: Warhammer is now available on Steam, retailing at around £39.99 at time of review.

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Stef Murphy

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