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Total War: Warhammer III Review

Total War: Warhammer III Review

I’ll freely admit that I’m a complete novice to the whole Warhammer universe, especially the fantasy-based side of things. No doubt I’ve already triggered thousands of neckbeard zealots, which are now collectively screeching for a disciple of Slaanesh to review the latest instalment of their beloved strategy franchise. Well, you hairy gatekeeping buggers, I’m going to review it anyway!

Feeling overwhelmed, like I’ve just been released into a toy store with no direction to go, I ponder as to what I should click on to begin my journey in this strategy game. Thankfully, Total War: WARHAMMER III guided me through the basics with its generously lengthy prologue campaign. Taking control of Yuri Barkov, proud Kislevite and Prince, tasked with a mission of discovery to determine the fate of their Bear-God, Ursun. Having been absent for several years, I direct Yuri, as he heads out leading a small ragtag bunch of soldiers, through this prologue — which took me about 13 hours — I’m taken through the majority of systems and controls required to have a firm foundation for when I jump into the main campaign: Unit control, diplomacy, economics, equipment, skill trees, and settlement building; while also witnessing a descent into madness as the prologue story progresses.

Total War Warhammer III Steam

Yuri, believing he’s being led by the whispers of Ursun, forges a path further north towards the Chaos Wastes. Dispatching one army after another, loot and riches became commonplace. One such piece of loot was a cursed blade, which visibly changed the appearance of Yuri as the corruption of Chaos was clear to see. This descent culminates in the murder of Yuri’s advisor and brother, the reveal that the voice of Ursun was that of the Daemon, Be’Lakor, and that Ursun had been captured. Believing the lies of Be’lakor, Yuri delivers a crippling blow to Ursun by firing a corrupted bullet into the heart of the Bear-God. Ursun, Unleashing a mighty roar, triggered the beginnings of the main campaign. Yuri was deceived and betrayed by Be’lakor; left to die in the frigid wastes of the north. With one last plea to Chaos, Yuri is then transformed into a Daemon Prince, ready to seek vengeance against the traitor Be’lakor.

Leading into the main campaign, Be’lakor still has Ursun held captive in the Forge of Souls, deep within the Realm of Chaos. Holding a grudge against the Chaos Gods like a motherfudger for removing his power and physical form, Be’lakor wants to take Ursun’s power to strike down those that betrayed him. Quite a common theme going into this chapter of the Warhammer franchise, as we already have two leading characters seeking revenge on someone.

Total War Warhammer III Steam3

Our advisor for this game is bound to a corrupted book known as the Tome of Fates, shown in the opening cinematic, this nameless character tries to forge an alliance with anyone that may free him from this book. With the knowledge that he needs a single drop of blood from the Bear-God, he seeks a champion with the power to delve into Chaos Realms, obtain a soul from a Daemon Prince linked to each Chaos God, then venture to the Forge of Souls. The advisor is a character that provides assistance and guidance, suggesting courses of action as you play through the game. Think of this as a little voice on your shoulder whispering sweet nothings into your ear.

This is where one of the hardest decisions of the game will be made: who to play as during the campaign. Featuring eight factions (when including the Ogre DLC), one must decide whether to stick with Kislev, pick up from the prologue and grab Yuri — now known as the God-Slayer — and change weapons and body parts for some unique customisation, or dabble with the Oriental-themed Grand Cathay or Ogre Kingdoms. Flipping to the other side of the table, all four Chaos Gods are represented with one of their champions. The armies of Khorne, Nurgle, Slaanesh, and Tzeentch are represented and playable for your pleasure. I mean who wouldn’t want to rampage through the game with an army full of Slaanesh’s titty demons? Not only that, but some factions even have multiple starting lords you may choose from, each with its benefits and possible downsides.

Total War Warhammer III Steam2

Each faction has tailored cinematics to progress plotlines that explain what to do next at certain gameplay breaks; just to be able to see things from everyone's perspective adds a huge amount of replayability, although I’m sure the lazy people will just search YouTube for all the cinematics after their first campaign completion. For the gameplay itself, the majority will occur on the campaign map, moving hero pieces around as you fight or talk your way to victory. With separate difficulty levels for the campaign and real-time strategy battles, you can tailor this to your own needs.

The options for campaign difficulty (Easy, Normal, Hard, Very Hard, and Legendary) affect how much upkeep costs for your armies will be and how often enemies may attack you. While battle difficulties (Easy, Normal, Hard, and Very Hard) determine the effects of leadership bonuses for the enemy and your own armies. Don’t fancy going solo in the story? Fire up the multiplayer campaign mode where you and up to seven friends (imagine having seven friends!) can join forces to complete the campaign together, not only in the Realm of Chaos but also in Grand Cathay and Kislev themed scenarios (note: Kislev is limited to three players max).

Total War Warhammer III Steam5

The visuals in each area are suitably varied and do convey the theme they’re trying to capture. Ranging from the cold, harsh wastelands, temperate desert lands, to the sheer bewilderment of each Chaos Realm — which were my personal favourites to be in — there’s something for the eyes to feast over. I was also particularly in awe with the Chaos invasions, as the corruption visibly tainted the lands, increasing with intensity as the moves cycled forward. Just watching the plague-like infestation of fatty-bum-bum Nurgle armies spread like a vicious fart had me panicking on how I’m going to handle it, especially as lingering in the corruption damaged my armies.

Thirsting for more? Well, the “Battles” section has you covered with multiplayer action including a ranked mode, fixed-unit quest battles, creating your personalised army vs A.I. battles, and a replays section to watch over your glorious victories or crushing defeats allowing you to analyse the strategies used from all angles. There is a plethora of content to be consumed in Total War: WARHAMMER III, so I won’t be surprised if the majority of the playerbase will hammer out at least a couple of hundred hours in this game.

Total War Warhammer III Steam4

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, as I’m not going to deny that I’ve encountered issues while playing it. There’s been a few occasions when the game has crashed for no explicable reason, causing the loss of several turns since the last time an auto/manual save was created. Performance has been questionable when watching some enemy units move around the main map — I’m talking single figures of FPS at times. The camera while conducting the battles is, quite frankly, a pain in my arse, as it would follow the terrain as I moved around, meaning any chasms had the camera dipping into the void, losing sight of any action until I dragged it back out to where I could see my armies. If there’s an option to prevent this, I wasn’t able to find it; I had to wave around multiple angles and terrain drops before I could get to a position I liked.

Despite the issues faced, which will likely be addressed by the developers, I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Total War: WARHAMMER III. Having no real idea of what this universe entailed, I’ve come away wanting to learn a whole lot more!

8.50/10 8½

Total War: WARHAMMER III (Reviewed on Windows)

This game is great, with minimal or no negatives.

Another solid entry into the franchise in what should be the exciting conclusion of the trilogy. Blood for the Blood God and all that good stuff!

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Neil 'Wedge' Hetherington

Neil 'Wedge' Hetherington

Staff Writer

A purveyor of strange alcoholic mixes and a penchant for blowing shit up in games. Proud member of the glorious PC master race.

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Artura Dawn
Artura Dawn - 10:43pm, 20th February 2022

Perhaps its time I set my sights into the Total War: WARHAMMER franchise; this looks fantastic! Honestly, one of the selling factors to me is that it has co-op. It'll be fantastic to play through with my wife!

Wedgeh - 10:02am, 21st February 2022 Author

It will definitely captivate you for a long time. It's one of those games that makes time evaporate so quickly :D