Game Review Total War: Warhammer 3 – Controlled Chaos

Last update:

It’s a bit of a miracle that the Total War: Warhammer series exists. The Warhammer Fantasy line had been discontinued just a year before the first game in the series arrived, with the line being moved to Age of Sigmar instead. Total War: Warhammer has kept the Warhammer Fantasy torch burning ever since. The series presents itself as a celebration of Warhammer Fantasy. He gives his various factions and his world a chance to shine rather than gather dust. But it’s more than just a showcase for a beloved franchise. Total War: Warhammer 3 is a supreme tactical achievement that sits alongside the best that the Total War series has to offer.

Total War Warhammer 3: A good starting point

While it would generally be advisable to start a trilogy from the beginning, Total War Warhammer 3 presents itself as the ideal starting point for newcomers. This is thanks to its engaging prologue campaign which does a great job of slowly feeding into the main mechanics of Total War Warhammer 3. And it does so while still managing to be an excellent adventure in its own right.

The prologue campaign has more RPG elements than you might expect. Leading to an engaging narrative that has wider implications for Total War Warhammer 3’s Realm of Chaos campaign. It’s entirely possible to skip the prologue and dive straight into the rest of what Total War Warhammer 3 has to offer . But you’ll be missing out on a unique, well-thought-out slice of gameplay if you do.

A comfort, before you have time to worry that Warhammer 3 strays too far from the beaten track. The game’s prologue is a tightly constructed adventure, with a narrative focus and multiple role-playing choices to make. But these elements are mostly left out of the main Realm of Chaos campaign. While the mostly linear narrative does wonders for a campaign designed to make your game easier, it probably would have felt restrictive for the dozens of hours of a regular campaign.

The careful balance found here – trying out new mechanics and presentation styles while sticking to the core of what makes the series work – does wonders for lowering the series’ previously high barrier to entry. Total War Warhammer 3 is more accessible than ever to newcomers. But it will also satisfy purists who would cry foul of too much RPG influence in their Total War.

The Heart of War

So when it comes to the core gameplay of the series, Total War Warhammer 3 focuses on what has made the series work so well so far. And it does so while deepening its systems so as not to fall behind in terms of innovations.

The variety of factions on display at launch is impressive, as is the strength of their individual gameplay. There’s something for any would-be commander to enjoy here. From the close and personal butchery of Khorne to the shrewd sorcery of Tzeentch and the engaging yin-yang system of Cathay. Ogre Kingdoms is a personal favorite, for when you want to skip all that lofty duty and honor and just focus on being the biggest, cruelest, hungriest version of yourself.

And it’s not all battle and aggressive conquest either. Diplomacy – a disappointing option in previous Total War: Warhammer games – has been overhauled and updated. Upgrade it with the improvements made to the rest of the Total War franchise. There are more options than ever to expand your faction’s influence and deal with threats to its rule.

total war warhammer 3 preview1

Beyond the campaign

Total War: Warhammer 3’s Realm of Chaos campaign is so long and engaging that you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s the entirety of the game. But Total War: Warhammer 3 has more to offer. You have more options at launch beyond the main campaigns and the prologue. Something Rotten in Kislev and Darkness and Disharmony expand your options for single and multiplayer campaigns. They add optional objectives, changing the balance of power and map placement that players will be used to. And there’s the promise of more to come, with Mortal Empire’s epic reach on the horizon.

The Achilles heel

Every game has its drawbacks, no matter how small, and this one is no exception. Thankfully, Total War Warhammer 3 issues should become less prominent in the near future.

Fans of the series who favor multiplayer were disappointed on release day. The online experience at launch was plagued with bugs and connection issues. And the single-player mode wasn’t immune either. It was very difficult for a lot of people to get the game running, let alone keep it in a stable state. Creative Assembly developers worked on performance fixes in the weeks following release. Hopefully soon Total War: Warhammer 3 technical issues will be a thing of the past and fans will be able to enjoy the game without a hitch.

A completed trilogy

Total War: Warhammer 3 is the culmination of a richly imagined and wonderfully executed trilogy. While some might have been skeptical about how Warhammer would translate to the Total War format, they needn’t have worried. Creative Assembly pulled off something special here, tying the series together with a neat arc, while laying the groundwork for even more factions and game modes down the line.