We’ve finally come to the end of the sweeping dark fantasy trilogy that began six years ago and total war warhammer 3 is a worthy capstone with interesting campaign mechanics that build up rivalries between its memorable main cast and several new armies that don’t play like anything we’ve seen in total war.
Before it excels on just about every level strategic and tactical and a collection of little quality of life changes carried over from other recent total war games tie the single player campaign up with a nice little blood-soaked bow.
Total War Warhammer 3 Single-Player Review
You are gravely mistaken, we have no interest in a mere god’s power. The main campaign in warhammer 3 is very story driven even more so than warhammer 2’s eye of the vortex and that can be both a good and a bad thing having completed it three times now.
I don’t think, it has the endlessly replayable sandbox potential of the mortal empires campaign available to owners of the first two games and while warhammer 3 will eventually get its own version of that creative assembly has said we might be waiting a little while for it.
Currently, you can’t even play as any of the warhammer 1 or 2 races in skirmish battles though they do appear on the campaign map as enemies to be vanquished. So, if you are looking to just pick up a faction and conquer the world at your own pace, you’re better off sticking with mortal empires for now.
Instead, we get something that’s halfway between a traditional total war experience and a single player campaign in an rts like warcraft 3, and from that perspective it’s excellent racing against the other major factions to claim four demon prince souls and free slay or perhaps even devour the bear god erson is a satisfying challenge even on normal difficulty each choas realm you must assault has its own unique challenge.
To solve that reflects the character of the dark deity who owns it and culminates in an exciting new type of battle that has you fighting your way through some truly harrowing horde style maps using your ability to build defenses and call in reinforcements. Those mechanics allow for a type of scenario total war has never attempted and it’s refreshing to use them in concert with this style of gameplay.
We Built this City
Regular seige battles have been reworked to use these systems as well which makes them much more tactically interesting and keeps them all from playing out exactly the same as could happen a lot in warhammer 2. However, it’s probably a little too easy to breach the outer walls now making those main fortifications feel like more of a speed bump than a real for an attacker or useful resource for a defender.
It can be exciting to have to fall back steadily through a city as a seige progresses but I’d like these giant defensive structures I built to at least keep out some of the less determined invaders. Back on the campaign map, new diplomatic options and quality of life features are some of the easiest upgrades to forget about when you quickly get used to them but I’d miss the heck out of them if I went back to warhammer 2.
The brilliant quick deal button, we first saw in total war 3 kingdoms makes it easy to see who would be willing to sign a trade agreement without having to open every faction’s embassy individually a balanced deal button cuts down on what must have added up to hours I used to have to spend just to see how much gold I could get out of a peace treaty by trying different amounts over and over.
Now, we can cut out the haggling and get down to business on top of that, alliances are much more rewarding than what we’ve seen in the previous two games. Since here you can construct outposts in allied settlements that let you recruit their units as a return on your investment.
So, if you are playing as the demons of corn and you need some ranged firepower to complement your extremely melee focused horde of bloodthirsty ravagers making friends with zeach will give you four army slots that can be spent on his units. There’s also a useful new favors system that can allow you to among other cool things just borrow an entire army stack from an ally temporarily.
Blood for the Blood God
Even without cross-faction recruitment all of the new comer factions in warhammer 3 are creative fresh and interesting in and of themselves Slaanesh can seduce units to his side in battle and even beguile entire factions cafe can send caravans off to the far-flung corners of the world and they send back exciting random events and the chance to have heroes from other factions join your caravan and corn spawns free armies when raising a settlement which can then go on to raise more settlements and spawn more free armies creating the most gleefully aggro faction in a game that already had a lot of pretty aggro factions and that’s just on strategic map.
They each have a distinct and novel feel on the battlefield too zinch’s units have barriers that can recharge when they’re out of combat encouraging hit and run tactics. Cafe’s harmony system rewards you for keeping ranged and melee troops together making them the ultimate combined arms formation army.
The ogre kingdoms have infantry that can carry around cast iron artillery guns like it’s no big deal which led to some of my most hilarious and joyfully lopsided victories. The real star of the campaign though is the demons of chaos faction.
They’re able to recruit from the rosters of all four chaos gods and you can customize your murderous prince of the apocalypse with wonderfully deadly body parts from scythe hands to cloven hooves to enormous crow wings, all giving different bonuses you even get to name him.
This is Ragnar and he is my large adult demon son who does roughly 1 billion armor-piercing damage, the customization and sense of ownership made them easily my favorite faction and you get introduced to the would-be prince in a riveting prologue that might be the best total war tutorial for a complete newcomer I’ve ever seen.
Total War Warhammer 3’s single-player mode presents us with a tense challenging multi-layered campaign driven along by a compelling story and a memorable cast of rivals. The chaos realms cleverly draw these larger than life figures together so, even those in the remote corners of the world will be able to test each other’s metal and while the size of the faction list currently feels a bit disappointing.
Coming from mortal empires all of the newly introduced factions are inventive and just plain fun on the campaign and battle maps the true test of warhammer 3 is still to come when we’ll get to play with all the factions from all three games on the massive combined map but even if that’s the main reason you’re interested in it there’s plenty of excitement to be had already for more strategy check out our reviews of Crusader Kings 3 Royal Court DLC and Expeditions Rome.
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- March 29, 2022