Total War: Warhammer 3 hands-on preview - Rising from the ashes

The Total War and Warhammer franchises are coming together one more time and unleashing chaos, as we try out Total War: Warhammer 3.


The teams at Sega, The Creative Assembly, and Games Workshop recognize when a good collaboration is working out. All parties have come together to make Total War: Warhammer into a full-blown trilogy. What does Total War: Warhammer 3 have cooked up for both Warhammer aficionados and strategy buffs alike? Shacknews recently had a chance to jump in to find out.

Total War: Warhammer 3 takes players into the Realm of Chaos, a dimension forged by malevolent magic. This sinister setting is ruled by four demonic gods: Nurgle (Plague), Slaanesh (Excess), Tzeentch (Changer of Ways), and Khorne (Blood and Slaughter). The kingdoms of Kislev and Grand Cathay are seeking to push into the Realm of Chaos, as one of the gods of the Warhammer world lays mortally wounded, to battle these demons, as the world sits on the verge of total destruction.

The campaign will take players into the four Realms of Chaos. This is where players will engage in Survival battles and they'll vary depending on which corner of the Realms of Chaos the player is inhabiting and which god they dare to confront. Each of these Survival battles will see players look to push across the map, seeking to capture Victory Points. Both sides will be able to call upon reinforcements over the course of the fight. As is the case in most of these types of strategy games, players will have various resources they'll need to manage.

A player's finite resources can be spent either healing their units, calling reinforcements, building fortifications around a control point, upgrading weaponry, and restocking supplies. The supply counter can rise quickly depending on how many Victory Points the player has captured. However, the enemy will often call reinforcements and they'll come from all sides. Those who are careless can lose an early Victory Point and lose a precious supply chain. However, those who don't devote enough manpower to the push ahead can be stamped out by opposing forces, which will then make their own push towards players' previous Victory Points. Resource management is critical, as I learned during my time in Khorne's realm, when his forces quickly rolled up on me after letting my guard down around the 20-minute mark. Barricades and weapon towers can be a big help in keeping enemy demons at a distance, especially Arrow Towers and Magic Towers, which can dispatch foes as they get closer.

Each of the human armies will be taken into battle by a powerful leader, who will fight alongside the player's many units. For example, the Kislev army will be led by Katarin Bokha, who Warhammer fans will recognize as the Ice Queen of Kislev. She can overwhelm enemies with icy spells that can either debuff foes or outright freeze them with devastating area-of-effect blasts. She will be complemented by various infantry units, such as the sword-wielding Tzar Guard, the Winged Lancers shock cavalry, and the hybrid ranged Streltsi. More powerful units, like the towering Elemental Bear, will be available later in the battle.

Enemies will have their own various forces available to them, as well. These will often include lesser demons, but be sure to watch out for bigger units, like the wheeled Skullcannon and the flying Bloodthirsters. On top of that, Exalted Greater Demons are the champions of the resident chaos god. These are massive beasts and are capable of clearing out entire armies. In the case of a Survival battle, they won't come out until after all of an area's control points are captured, so think of them as the game's boss battles.

Fans of the Warhammer franchise will be happy to learn that this is just scratching the surface. There will be more playable races available than the previous two games in the series. Plus, there will be other ways to play, like a new Domination mode. Look for more information on Total War: Warhammer 3's changes in the months ahead.

Total War: Warhammer 3 is coming to PC in late 2021. We'll keep an eye for more from this game between now and its release date. In the meantime, you can catch more of our gameplay videos and interviews over on the Shacknews and GamerHubTV YouTube channels.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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