Welcome to the New Shacknews

You're currently viewing the beginning of a full site renovation for Shacknews.com. You might find something working oddly. If you do, let us know! More exciting new features to follow.

Total War: Warhammer 2 Review - Total Package

The Total War series has seen many periods in history, but Creative Assembly's Warhammer-themed spinoff quickly became one of the best-selling entries. Does the sequel live up to its predecessor?

10

What’s New?

With the massive success of Total War: Warhammer it's no secret that when the second was announced a lot of PC enthusiast were upset. Asking 59.99 for a few new factions seems like a less than stellar idea. However, I’m here to tell you that it’s not the case. Great care and time went into this sequel and it shows in numerous ways.

First is the new campaign, which tasks you with fighting over a Vortex that holds tremendous magical properties. This takes you on a huge adventure with various degrees of challenge. Of course, the campaign isn’t the only thing Total War: Warhammer 2. Creative Assembly introduces four new fantasy factions: High Elves, Dark Elves, Lizardmen, and Skaven. Each race has interesting core mechanics, units, and feels unique in its own way, boasting different tactics, strengths, and weaknesses. The icing on the cake is made up of worldbuilding details such as hearing races talk for the first time.

A different Type of RTS

This was my second journey into the Total War Franchise. I’ve played other RTS games, most notably Blizzard's StarCraft and Warcraft franchises, and to be honest historical periods never really interested me. However, when Total War: Warhammer was released, I was immediately hooked, being a fan of both the tabletop game and Age Of Sigmar.

What’s great about Total War: Warhammer 2 is that it has the best of both worlds. A long, turn-based campaign that requires attention to detail and resource management, and a fantastic real-time combat system in PVP. The great thing about the combat in Total War Warhammer 2 is the speed, which gives you time to enjoy the battle and time to react to what’s happening on screen. The game is all about army composition, knowing what your opponent’s units do, and your positioning. I found the game nowhere near as intimidating as other mainstream RTS games, making the bar of entry much lower.

However, there's plenty to satisfy fans who revel in micromanagement. Each unit has multiple stats and some require constant attention, like the Skaven Doom wheel, which needs to be running the entire length the battle.

Something for everyone

Total War: Warhammer 2 offers so much in terms of value. I split my time against AI opponents and PVP, learning the new factions. Seeing brilliant tabletop models come to life is a great experience and the overall pace of the gameplay allows you to actually enjoy beautiful epic battles without having to manage too much at once.

The Campaign is great albeit overwhelming at times. I found myself quickly losing if I didn’t manage resources, or if spread myself too thin over the map. However, I can appreciate the depth of managing keeps, upgrading them for better units, and planning ahead. But it’s been my experience that unless you like tedious managing of resources and scouting this may not be the mode for you. It’s really deep and I've yet to fully grasp the meta behind it. I’d amass a giant army, do well, only to have the AI sweep me from the board. It’s a snowball effect in the campaign: Once you lose your main force it can be very hard to come back.

I also found myself auto resolving battles nearly 90% of my time in the campaign, which is a nice feature, and doesn’t mean another player wont enjoy the deep campaign mode.  

All-Out War

The overall the game offers the best what an RTS can give: deep campaign and largescale battles with some of the best fantasy units I’ve seen. You’ll need a pretty capable PC to run it at 1080p60. My current build has a 980ti and I dipped under 60fps consistently, but the game still looked and played amazing. The voice work is fantastic, nailing what each faction would sound like and really immerses you in the Warhammer universe.

If you’re looking for a Deep RTS without the insane speed of StarCraft II, I highly recommend Total War: Warhammer 2.

Video Production

Review for
Total War: Warhammer 2

8

Pros

  • Battles on an Epic Scale
  • Deep Campaign
  • Fun Factions with unique mechanics

Cons

  • Campaign Mode Can Snowball
  • High-End Rig Required

From The Chatty

  • reply
    September 25, 2017 1:30 PM

    Greg Burke posted a new article, Total War: Warhammer 2 Review - Total Package

    • reply
      September 25, 2017 2:23 PM

      Hell yes Greg! So pumped for this.

    • reply
      September 25, 2017 6:12 PM

      I bounced off of the first Total Warhammer pretty hard. I felt like I was perpetually drowning in information and had almost no idea (and little adequate training) in how to prioritize any of it. And yet, there are a lot of core ideas involved I wanted to be involved in. Does 2 improve on any of the information firehose, or at least provide better tools for a general newcomer to Total War to come to grips with its systems?

      • reply
        September 25, 2017 7:47 PM

        I actually got it, after a awhile and some YouTube videos. But I stuck to vs AI and PVP Battle ONLY! I didn't care for the campaign, you're just playing Sim City, and that's fine if you're into that.

        • reply
          September 26, 2017 4:22 AM

          You know the Campaign mode is the #1 reason people play these games?

          It's like buying a Battlefield game and only playing the 6-hour long single player, it misses the entire reason these games exist.

          I mean, it's fine if you just want to play custom battles, but comparing the campaign mode to SimCity is just weird, they are not even remotely similar experiences and the campaign modes on Total War games have been pretty much the same at their core for a decade or more.

      • reply
        September 26, 2017 4:19 AM

        Have you ever played a Total War game before?

        In terms of the campaign mode it can seem overwhelming at first but there is really not that much to it.

        Have you played any 4X games like Civilization? It's basically a lighter version of that.

        Look up a beginner guide for a particular faction campaign and follow it see why certain buildings are produced and certain decisions made.

        The campaign mode in Warhammer 1 was actually much simpler than previous Total War games, because it didn't have mechanics such as food production, population migration, slavery etc.

        • reply
          September 26, 2017 12:25 PM

          this is my second time playing a Total War Game. None of the other games ever interested me, Like I stated in the review. The Campaign in the first game got very complicated very fast. And I was so mentally exhausted, I would just skip the battles using auto resolve all the time. So i started to just go into Custom battles and enjoyed my time a lot more, than Playing "Sim City" I was building units, upgrading keeps, and doing things with my hero that i wasn't really sure did anything, I spent more time looking at Numbers and stats, than actually playing or doing much, and it's even more complex in Total War 2. They added a unique resource for each faction now. But i thought i was clear that if people like doing that, they'll have a good time.

    • reply
      September 25, 2017 6:14 PM

      This looks interesting, but can someone sum up what they loved about Total War: Warhammer? I love the idea of playing the different races, and 2 has high elves so i'm even more interested in it, but not sure if i'm going to buy. Whats the sales pitch of why people like it for their mechanics?

      • reply
        September 25, 2017 7:48 PM

        They Have Really Good Magic abilities and Range, but fall apart in Close Combat. From what I've played with them anyway.

      • reply
        September 26, 2017 3:35 AM

        Higher unit variety than in any other Total War game to date is honestly the biggest thing IMO. It's as poorly balanced as Total War usually is, but fuck me if it isn't satisfying seeing a 20-foot-tall vampire monster crunching through hundreds of peasants or watching a hord of orcs crashing into heavily armored chaos warriors. Every faction honestly plays different now, unlike previous games where you'd have maybe three or four different types of armies with some tiny modifiers from the various factions. Vampire Count skeleton hordes, Bretonnian cavalry armies, Wood elves running and shooting arrows at the same time, dragons and other monsters flying around tangling with helicopters, it's good shit. The world also nudges you towards fighting specific enemies, so you'll have a different experience even on the campaign map depending on which faction you play.

      • reply
        September 26, 2017 4:15 AM

        It was the first Total War game where each faction actually feels unique and has a varied unit roster, compared to say Shogun 2 or Rome 2 where every faction was basically the same but with different colours.

        It's also amazingly true to Warhammer lore, so if you dig that you'll get a big kick out of the game.

        The campaign modes are a lot more refined than previous games, with Legendary Heroes, chapter objectives and special events that make your progress actually feel like progress. In previous games the objectives were all the same; take as many cities as possible by the year specified.

        The magic and monster units are fun to use to. They could probably use a few improvements (magic is weak sometimes and doesn't seem to scale with unit size) bu overall they add nice flavours to the Total War formula.

    • reply
      September 26, 2017 4:11 AM

      This is a weird article.

      It's clear you like the game, but it's written as it's your first foray into a Total War game, complete with confusion about how the campaign mode works and that you don't like it.

      I fond this strange because the campaign modes are the #1 draw in a Total War game (though I don't doubt some buy the game just for the battles alone) and have remained pretty consistent in how they work over the last decade.

      Then you compare the campaign mode to SimCity which I just find bizarre.

      • reply
        September 26, 2017 12:16 PM

        It's my second time playing a Total War game. My first fray was Total War: Warhammer.

        I personally didn't care for the campaign at all in the this game or the first.

        • reply
          September 26, 2017 12:27 PM

          That's fine, but the campaign mode is the meat of the game in all Total War games.

          Whether single player or co-op campaign, it's the playing through of a period in history and soaking in its history and politics and using its armies that draws people in.

          In Warhammer it's not about history, but about taking command of a faction and its related lore. The Warhammer lore and the (faithfully reproduced from the tabletop game lore) campaign map is a BIG draw for people to this game.

          Considering that most people who buy these games will be playing the campaign heavily, it seems odd that the review came out as positive as it is despite not actually liking the meat of the game very much at.

          I don't know, I just find it weird. I almost think you article should have been negative in conclusion, because you didn't like the campaign mode, which is the core of the game, but it actually came out positive in spite of it.

          It's almost like me buying Battlefield and saying the game is great because I liked the short campaign, but hated playing online (which is why people buy Battlefield games).

          Am I making any sense, lol?

          • reply
            September 26, 2017 12:28 PM

            Never mind, I saw your reply further up the thread. Thanks.

          • reply
            September 26, 2017 12:34 PM

            I try to look at games from a "does it work" "does it not work" i dont give negative feedback if a game does something i dont like, cause that just may be my personal taste. Like for example i hate dark souls and sports games, but if i were to review one o wouldn't give it 4/10 cause i dont like it. I look to see if the game does right what it set out to do in the first place. I dont like the campaign mode, but like you said a lot of people do, and it works for what it is, so im not going to have that impact the score negatively. Does that make sense?

            • reply
              September 26, 2017 12:36 PM

              It does actually, thanks.

              That actually is a better way to review i think.

              Maybe I'm used to reading bad reviews elsewhere!

            • reply
              September 26, 2017 12:44 PM

              It does actually, thanks.

              That actually is a better way to review i think.

              Maybe I'm used to reading bad reviews elsewhere!

    • reply
      September 30, 2017 11:58 AM

      I wish I had a computer that could run this game.