Total War: Warhammer - Review

Author: Claudio Chianese
Date: 2020-07-31 00:23:58
Let's start with a sober technical judgment: Total War Warhammer is a stratospheric cool. The good Sàlvano was right to sell, in his preview from Albione, when he provided for an exhausting review session. But exhausting not in a working sense, exhausting in the sense that for a week I was unable to detach myself from the game. I will tell you only this: I am defending a castle on the borders of the Empire from the teeming hordes of Chaos. The clang of weapons overwhelms the cries of the wounded as the chosen warriors of the Dark Gods climb the walls, only to meet the halberds of the elite regiments of Reikland.

My batteries of cannons and mortars rain a torrent of fire on the squadrons of enemy knights crowded behind the doors, devastating men and horses. An acrid smoke smell spreads in the air. What realism, I tell myself, only to notice a moment after I had burnt the pepperoni.

At this point I decide that it is not a thing. I pause, go out and return with five or six family packs of chips and snacks. Thereafter, I vowed to eat only those until every single Marauder is chased away from imperial soil. Now, I'm a Total War fan and a Warhammer fan, so some "addiction" was a foregone conclusion. But the new CA title took me back fifteen years, to the time of the first Shogun, when the saga seemed an extraordinary novelty, to stay awake at night. After that, excellent games, even great games, but variations on the same formula. The war, says the old adage of Fallout, never changes, whether it is fought with swords and spears or with muzzle-loading muskets.

For it to really change, giant spiders and scythe-armed skeletons were needed. Warhammer troops are not just pawns to be used on the tactical chessboard, or reproductions of this or that other historical army. They are phantasmagorical miniatures closed inside a box, colored plastic toy dragons, monsters made of lead: the fun thing is to place them all on the carpet to see how bizarre and surprising they look. In short, the new CA title has a sense of wonder to sell. Although it focuses on a portion limited by the wide universe of Warhammer, leaving (for now) the most exotic places off the screen.

A radical novelty for a sandbox-oriented saga, the quests consist of a story narrated through texts and a series of assignments: reach this region, conquer three cities, and so on. In the end there is a predetermined battle (they are battles inspired by the lore of Warhammer, but to be honest not even I knew them all). Winning you get very powerful items and gold chests. The old historical battles, in short, but woven directly into the countryside. The idea is brilliant, especially because it is possible to choose whether to face them early, with a weak army, to maximize the benefits, or wait until the late stages of the campaign. Of course, the quests do not fit perfectly into the flow of the game: they tell parallel stories, which rarely reflect what is happening on the strategic map, but still guarantee a generic personality injection to the factions.

You will have noticed, however, that I have spoken of objects. Each character, in fact, be it a lord or a hero (the old agents, enhanced for the occasion) can be fully equipped with armor, weapons, flags and even mounts. A clear RPG-style mechanism that reflects the importance of characters in Warhammer. The variety of objects is wide and several of them, in addition to improving the statistics, also guarantee some special skills to be activated in battle. The only problem is that acting as a cloakroom for a dozen tapes can become tedious and, if you have an easy joke like me, at some point you will begin to distribute the objects at random. Then, if we want to be really demanding, there is the fact that the models do not change according to the equipment (but with the mounts yes): it would have been a nice thing, even if, perhaps, a little beyond the realm of feasibility.