Many people were pleasantly surprised to see the Total War series venture away from the historical battlefields to embrace the warmongering and fantasy characters of the Warhammer universe. The first Total War: Warhammer was a breath of fresh air for the Total War series and I felt that it was the high point for the Total War games. Total War: Warhammer 2 aims to improve on the very few faults the first game had with some interesting new factions and the most brutal battles yet.
Luckily the game doesn’t bog you down with too much micromanaging as there are plenty of ruins to raid and enemy structures to destroy.
Total War: Warhammer 2 introduces us to four new factions, the High Elves, Dark Elves, Lizardmen and lastly the Scaven. Each race has unique abilities and all play very differently and it will certainly take you a while to try them all out to decide which one suits your playstyle best. For me, the choice was easy because as soon as I saw that the Lizardmen can use T-Rex mounts I was all in. The campaign once again sees you play out the story from a tactical map where you will have to micromanage your armies. You start off by getting your basic resources in place and recruiting a few local units and then it’s time to try and quest on for world domination. If you played the first Total War: Warhammer game you will know that the real battle isn’t on the blood-soaked battlefields, instead it takes place on various management screens where you juggle diplomacy within your own ranks as well as keeping neighbouring enemy armies at bay with peace treaties and lots of gold.
The T-Rex is mightier than the sword
Luckily the game doesn’t bog you down with too much micromanaging as there are plenty of ruins to raid and enemy structures to destroy or occupy and let’s not forget about surprise ambushes that will force you down to the ground to battle it out in true cinematic fashion. The learning curve in the Total War games is certainly a steep one, I remember losing a good four to five battles in the first Total War: Warhammer before securing a victory. Tactics like high ground advantage will only get you so far as tired men will throw in the towel mid-battle and that is if they are not running away in fear. Keeping your armies strong and motivated all happens off the battlefield so if you try to speed through your micromanagement you will most likely pay for it on the battlefield.
Mass scale battle has never looked so good
Once again custom games are available from the start of the game so that you can master your battle strategy over various terrains. There are more monster units in Total War: Warhammer 2 and that is a great addition as long as you are playing with the army that has them. The Lizardmen have the most monster units and they almost feel a little overpowered as you can send in seven monster units into an army of 1,000 and still win the battle. In fact, I was able to win five games in a row using nothing but a small army of around ten monster units and my commander unit. I even tried mixing up the choice of monster units and I was still able to win. This is mostly down to the fact that once the monsters get overrun you lose control of them as they go on a killing frenzy.
Selecting my monster units and clicking the middle of an enemy army often sealed me a victory and I am happy with that.
All you can do once the monsters go on their rampage is sit back and watch, but that’s not a bad thing since they deal out tons of area damage in the process which will most likely mean you win the battle. I tried managing a full army of mixed units and found that trying to position your long-ranged units while frantically trying to bring back units that are fleeing coupled with moving your commander around so he doesn’t die was too stressful after I had discovered the monsters. Tony Stark said it best in the movie Iron Man when he said the best weapon is the weapon you only have to fire once. Selecting my monster units and clicking the middle of an enemy army often sealed me a victory and I am happy with that. Watching enemy units being flung around and trampled down at ground level is very satisfying which brings me to the battles themselves.
Often Total War games suffered from repeat animations that would make battles feel a little robotic and boring. Total War: Warhammer 2 is the first game in the series where I was truly blown away by the battles. Watching two massive armies storm towards each other and finally impacting honestly looks like something out of one of the Lord of The Rings films. Character animations are smooth and even the most intimate fight between two soldiers is entertaining to watch. I ran the game on Ultra settings and had nothing but smooth performance no matter how big the armies got, to say the game is well optimized is an understatement – and my rig is certainly nothing that impressive with a GTX 980 and Core i5 under the hood.
The new factions are more varied and interesting than the factions in the first Total War: Warhammer game, the battles are bigger and more impressive and the new monsters open up a whole new way to play. With all that said I feel like Total War: Warhammer 2 improves upon the first game in many ways and if you found yourself enjoying the first game then you will absolutely love the sequel.