SEGA and Creative Assembly’s Total War: Warhammer III is here as it continues to build on the success and challenge of previous games. Another real-time strategy title that fans of the Total War franchise are familiar with brings fans back to the realm of Warhammer Fantasy.
The game takes place in the Old World and the Realms of Chaos, with the goal of either saving a dying god or using it for your nefarious purposes. Every faction plays differently: between the campaign, prologue, and online multiplayer battles, there’s a wide variety of gameplay awaiting players.
Total War: Warhammer III invites players to kill or save a god
In Total War: Warhammer III, what caused the Maelstrom that affected the world in the previous title is revealed: the capture of the God-Bear of Kislev. They are now held captive at the Forge of Souls. It’s up to the player to decide what to do.
Besides waging war on the other races in the world, there will also be campaigns into the Realms of Chaos. Players who want to save or destroy the God-Bear will enter the four Realms of Chaos to gain a series of soulstones.
That will lead to a battle with the dying god’s captor. The Realms of Chaos are perilous, and other factions will vie for the same power. I appreciate that this is not the only way to win the campaign.
If the player isn’t interested in completing that part of the game, they can also go for a Domination Campaign Victory. This is attained by destroying certain factions and maintaining control of 50 provinces.
It’s also a blast to play as each of the factions, but I can see the significant appeal being the forces of Chaos. Players can control daemons in the army of Khorne, Nurgle, Slaanesh, and Tzeentch.
Thankfully, the Cathy and Kislev human forces disappoint neither nor do the Day-1 DLC faction, the Ogre Kingdoms. Each faction has its playstyle, but the most fun ones for me were Khorne and the Ogre Kingdoms.
Gameplay of Total War: Warhammer III is excellent
After selecting a faction, the player will be introduced to the goals and aims of their faction and complete a series of simple missions. This familiarizes the players with their faction, what they do, and overall serves as an introduction to the game.
There is also an in-depth prologue that newcomers and veterans should also look at. It will teach various valuable lessons for Total War: Warhammer III, as it also has a narrative that leads into the Realm of Chaos campaign.
Like all other Total War games before it, Total War: Warhammer III requires building up armies and having solid, defended fronts while also expanding. It’s essential to build up cities while also overtaking other factions to extend your domain.
Since this is built around the Realm of Chaos, periodically, gates leading to the Realm of Chaos will open up, one of the biggest parts of the game. You can either walk up to these with an army and close them or enter one realm.
Some of the new features come into Total War: Warhammer III. Entering the realms of chaos is dangerous, and the players will have to battle any daemonic forces within and potentially other factions in the area. Once a player has ventured into one of the Realms of Chaos, they have to wait for the God-Bear to roar and create more before they can resume capturing soulstones.
The enemy/NPC factions of Total War: Warhammer III will pursue the soulstones, so a player needs to gain them or defeat the other factions who are gathering them. City improvements will feel similar to fans of the franchise.
As cities grow, players will have more options to improve the military (normal and advanced), infrastructure, and defense. On defense, improvements were made to sieging towns and cities.
Combat has improved in Total War through sieges
One of the best parts of the game is how they improved defensive sieges. As a player comes to siege a city, the experience will be different every time. It’s dependent on the factions in the battle and the layout of the settlement.
It’s a similar system. Hence, players will be familiar. There are now multiple locations to capture instead of just one. Some units can attack walls directly now, and forces can retreat into a city and put up more defenses to fortify behind.
Overall, the combat is still excellent. It’s still a real-time strategy, and the environment is vital to each fight. Players can hide their forces behind structures, ambush, and set up creative pincer attacks.
This, when combined with fantasy figures like a giant, angry demons, is just stellar. It remains one of my favorite parts of the Total War: Warhammer games, and the third one is no exception.
Admittedly, it can be very frustrating to pick individual units to give orders to. Once a crowd has formed in battle, the battle itself is still pretty easy to get into and is satisfying. It is still auto-resolve for players who aren’t as keen on entering every single contest.
After all, a battle can take a very long time, and if you are assured victory, you can click “Auto-Resolve” and let the PC handle it quickly.
Improvements were also made to diplomacy
Diplomacy is my favorite part of games like this, and it’s received many important improvements in Total War: Warhammer III. In particular, players immediately know what they’ll have to give up to make a deal work.
This makes diplomacy far easier to manage, and the players can know whether to back out of a deal or try to force it through. That’s right. Players can try to threaten a faction to take whatever deal they want! This includes trying to force a faction of your same race to join a confederation of allied forces.
These tiny changes honestly made diplomacy much easier to enter into. There are so many options and ways to influence how the political world works. Just because this is a game of violence and brutality, it doesn’t mean players can’t negotiate trade deals, alliances, or start wars this way either.
A grisly world awaits in Total War: Warhammer III
The other best part of the game is how accurately it captures this portion of the Old World. Knowing that there will eventually be a mega-map that combines all three games, for those that own all of the Total War: Warhammer games, this is exciting.
Visually, the Total War: Warhammer III world is perfect. The graphics are amazing, and the various gurgles, groans, and burbles in the audio fit the game. The Ogres and the forces of Nurgle are suitably gross and repulsive.
The world itself is beautiful, but it was occasionally difficult for me to figure out where I would be at a disadvantage - in particular, for the Ogre Kingdoms. That aside, the world is beautiful, despite being grotesque, chaotic, and bloody.
Multiplayer exists and is quality
Even in the review phase of Total War: Warhammer III, there were people online playing ranked matches and playing multiplayer campaigns. The multiplayer campaign also increased and went up from two to eight players. There are also three campaigns to play, and simultaneous turns were added to lower the time between players taking action.
Nothing is worse than playing a strategy game online and having to wait for ten minutes or more for other players to act. Another outstanding feature, whenever a member of your party is in battle, you will be given an option to control some troops or take the side of the AI forces.
Multiplayers will be great fun for fans playing these games with their friends on the internet.
Despite not being a tactical genius, I adore the Total War franchise, and this latest offering is no exception. It’s a great addition to the Warhammer Fantasy series of games, and I’ve enjoyed playing as every single faction in the game.
It has a reasonably steep difficulty curve, and it was occasionally challenging to determine when to be aggressive or defensive. The enemy AI is very aggressive in pursuing the goal of gaining the soulstones, so there were times I was very frustrated. That aside, the game is exactly what I was hoping it would be.
In particular, the attention to detail paid to the Forces of Chaos made me happy, playing as Papa Nurgle and Khorne’s forces in Total War: Warhammer III.
For fans of the Warhammer games by Creative Assembly, this one will not disappoint. It will also be available on Microsoft Game Pass on Day One, in addition to Steam and Epic, so PC fans on any storefront can jump right in when the game launches on February 17, 2022.
Total War: Warhammer III
Reviewed On: PC (Steam) (Early access provided by SEGA/Creative Assembly)
Platform: PC (Steam, Windows Store, Epic Games Store)
Developers: Creative Assembly, Feral Interactive