Total War: Warhammer II review - New World, old Warhammer
The lousy skaven, cruel lizardmen, lofty high elves and their sadistic dark brothers - the New World, to which we are taken in the second installment of the Total War: Warhammer strategy, is a place as gloomy as the Old World. The landscapes are perhaps more charming (oh, that lush green living tropical jungle), and the center of the map is filled with an ocean of mystery, but the atmosphere is still darkly warhammer.
And not only in terms of atmosphere, the game does not differ from the first installment - at first glance, the new Creative Assembly work does not differ much from the "one". If you are looking for a revolution, you will not find it here. If, however, you are looking for one of the best strategies set in the universe created by the British Games Workshop, you've come to the right place.
The second installment of the trilogy set in the Warhammer world is not surprising. This is a solid strategy that boldly follows the path laid out by its predecessor - the new Total War will totally appeal to fans of the "one", and will not appeal to those who prefer the historical parts of the series and do not fit in the formula of battles with powerful heroes and destructive magic .
One vortex to rule them all
Before starting Warhammer II, I tried to remember the plot of "one" - it turned out that I don't remember much of it. In this respect, this year's edition seems more interesting and better designed. Here is a great magic vortex - created thousands of years ago over the Isle of the Dead by high elves to suck out Chaos magic from the world and spin it back into a warped dimension. It is this vortex, thanks to which evil has not yet mastered this unfortunate globe, that is under threat.
A mysterious comet caused anomalies in its operation, and as a result, there was a chance to take control of this magical tornado. The fight is for the survival of the world, and gaining power over the whirlwind will allow a given faction to triumph over its opponents once and for all . The vision is tempting, so it is no wonder that the four greatest forces of the New World rush to perform ancient rituals - these will allow you to control the vortex, and through it - over the entire Mallus.
The fact that each of the four factions is fighting for the same thing - five magical rituals must be performed to take control of the vortex - makes the story more coherent and equally applies to everyone, and its final fight, as you can easily guess, will take place on the Isle of the Dead . Of course, although each of the races has its own intentions, the goal and the path to it are very similar - the vortex can be seen even perfectly on the map, which is an important and effective element.
The atmosphere of the new-old Warhammer is also good. Eye-catching painted cut-scenes, a detailed strategic map or unit models refined to the smallest details (you can feel the figured roots of "The Hammer") allow you to get drawn into the story like in no other game of this genre, usually focused on the mechanics of the game, and not on the plot. In this respect, the "two" surpasses its predecessor.
The important role of the story does not make it a "all at once" game - just completing one of the four campaigns takes about 25-30 hours, assuming that we are in a hurry and let the computer play most of the battles automatically. Additionally, each faction has two leaders to choose from - the first one guarantees a simpler game, the second one - a higher difficulty level - both (or both) start in other places on the map. For example, by choosing dark elves, we can play the cruel Malekith, known as the witch king (it will be easier), or his mother, the witch Morathi (it will be more difficult). As a result, you can spend over 100 hours with the title, and after the premiere, modders will also take care of it, who will add a little bit from themselves, enriching the content of Warhammer II .
Time of the Horned Rat
The publishing policy of the Total War: Warhammer series is hard to praise. In the "one", control over Chaos, which is fundamental to the universe, was initially available only as part of pre-orders or paid DLC (due to harsh criticism, the creators partially withdrew from this decision). Liked factions were also missing, including Skaven, Wood Elves and Beastmen (partially added in paid extensions to the "one"). In this respect, the "two" improves a lot.
Here are the lousy rat creatures, and there are also old factions - we cannot take control of them, but during the game I fought against dwarves, orcs and Bretons. This diversity of factions is a good taste of what the combined Warhammer campaigns can be - and hopefully will be . The first free extension, which will combine the "one" with the "two", is to appear a few weeks after the premiere of the latter. The "full" Total War: Warhammer, consisting of three games (by the way - worth a total - a trifle! - over PLN 500) promises to be even better, but this is probably next year's song.
In Total War: Warhammer II, we can lead the Skaven, Lizardmen, as well as the High Elves and their warped kin - dark elves, known as Druchii. Each of these groups has its own strengths and weaknesses; each is also in its own way ... unpleasant. Rigid and downward-looking high elves can manipulate other factions, thus leading to beneficial alliances or wars. Lizardmen, in turn, the oldest of the races of the warhammer world, despise warm-blooded (that is, all other creatures), and also like bloody rituals - after all, they were modeled on the Aztecs who love cruel rituals. In a word, the gloomy atmosphere of Warhammer , where everything is gray and dark, and the world is doomed, and we make moral choices mainly between greater and lesser evil, the creators of the "two" managed to keep.
New world, old mechanics
What is Total War: Warhammer II ? It's basically "one", but with completely new content. A different continent, fresh factions and additional mechanics - only the Warscape engine and the foundations of the game were left from the previous installment, and the rest was created from scratch . This does not mean, however, that there are many new things. Here in the ruins we can now find treasures (during a mini-game resembling a banal paragraph game), and objects such as a lost cargo, a mysterious island or a skull reef have appeared on the seas, serving the same function as the aforementioned ruins. It is a pity that there were no sea battles, especially since a large part of the map is occupied by the seas, and the dark elves even have a powerful water unit - the black ark. It seems that we will have to wait for the battles of ships until the third installment of the series.
Not having major changes is both good and bad news. The management of the vast empire consisting of several provinces is still not very convenient and it is easy to get lost in what and where we have built. These are still the same simplifications, such as the lack of troop formation, no dynasty system or officials. Still, diplomacy is not perfect. On the other hand, Warhammer II is still the same great and absolutely unbeatable battles .
Clashes of thousands of warriors, varied with powerful magic (this time I bet on a charming leader - and I do not regret it) are a lot of fun. The army lords advance to the next levels as the campaign progresses, allowing them to unlock useful skills, and acquire equipment such as swords, banners and armor, giving them even more power. In this respect, the game is extremely extensive - the number of factors that affect the strength of a given unit turns out to be huge (spells, auras, banners, temporary bonuses - these are just a few of them). Well, at some point even difficult to master.