The time has come for Total War: Warhammer, due out on May 24th. It breaks away from the series’ traditional historical settings and opts for something a tad more fantastic. So how has it fared now that the review embargo has lifted? Not too shabby, it seems.
Total War has had a pretty rocky history as of late. Rome 2 was just about as broken as can be, and though Attila fixed a lot of the more egregious technical issues, it still had a fair share of its own. Total War: Warhammer, though, seems to be launching in a fairly rock-solid state, or so first impressions imply, but the Total War series is an odd duck. Traditionally the series has had a warm reception critically. It’s only until after they’ve released that any flaws start to present themselves to players who’ve spent dozens of hours playing. Much like its predecessors, Total War: Warhammer is sitting at an 86 on Metacritic, and an 85 on OpenCritic.
The game seems to take quite well to a fantasy setting. The Warhammer IP seems like a breath of fresh air for the Total War series.
IGN gave it an 8.6 and said: “Deep hero progression and a well-executed Chaos invasion round out a campaign that, while it has some flaws in set-up and pacing, fulfilled all of my deepest fantasies of seeing giant, impossible armies clashing amidst the shrieking of griffins and the glow of flaming meteors summoned from the sky. It’s just a damn good time.”
GameSpot thought quite highly of the game and gave it a 9/10: “The Warhammer universe blends with the tactical gameplay of Total War to create one the best real-time strategy games ever.”
Destructoid rounds out the almost universal praise with an 8/10: “Outside of Shogun 2, Total War: Warhammer is my favorite Total game to date. Developing this project must have been a massive undertaking, because it somehow manages to not sacrifice the core tenets of the series while staying true to the ever-expanding source material of the Warhammer universe. After nearly two decades of historical battles, having the chance to command a magical undead army is a breath of fresh air.”
It’s not all roses, though. Evidently the multiplayer is barebones, and I don’t think many people have dived deeply enough into the game to know how well the AI stacks up under scrutiny. So while Total War: Warhammer holds up quite well to first impressions, they all do. For any series veterans, it might be worth it to wait a few days to see how the dust settles.
There’s also DLC practices to be concerned with. Already, SEGA & Creative Assembly tried to make the Chaos faction preorder DLC, but they loosened their grip slightly and are letting anyone who buys the game within the first week of release have the DLC for free. On top of that, there are extensive plans for DLC over the next year, both free and paid. I hope you like Warhammer, because you’ll be getting a lot of it.
Creative Assembly has been making Total War games for fifteen years now. It’s safe to say that they’ve got the formula down pat, and as a Total War game, Warhammer excels. We’ll just have to cross our fingers and hope that the game holds up to technical scrutiny, and that the DLC isn’t too ridiculous.