The Total War series has long explored diverse historical ages over the course of its release cycles, so it's no surprise developer Creative Assembly needed a new playground in which to frolic. Choosing the fantasy battlegrounds of Warhammer, however, was an unexpectedly smart decision. Total War: Warhammer aims to transform the hundreds of miniatures from Games Workshop into viable troops you control across enormous maps, while embroiled in complicated militaristic campaigns. It succeeds, and does so with vigour and candour. It is, in fact, one of the best Total War experiences currently available.
Armies comprised of orcs, dwarves, vampires and even humans clash in a bid for supremacy throughout a sprawling campaign with faction-based story quest lines. There are grave enemies that clearly harbour an unusual amount of disdain for each other in each class, and it's clear the writers took great pleasure in writing both engaging and fantastical reasons for them to be going at it with such vicious hatred. These types of storylines wouldn't be feasible or plausible in the previous Total War games, and that's an enormous part of what makes this Warhammer entry so much fun.
While previously you'd mainly have to concern yourself with the terrestrial units and far less threatening human-created instruments of war, Total War: Warhammer introduces flying creatures, terrifying monsters, spellcasters and a bevy of other threats you'll have to be creative about dispatching while protecting your front lines. It's thrilling when faced with some of the scenarios before you, though it can become dizzyingly complex at times.
Jumping into the game's campaign mode is simple enough at the beginning, but as additional elements are sprinkled in you may quickly find that there's a little too much going on to feel totally accessible. While the Warhammer flavour of Total War has gone to great pains to ensure the series feels much easier to get into, there's still a wealth of information to take in before you're able to master it, and that may very well be a turnoff for some.
For instance, you unlock additional developments via research where you can discover new and improved ways to generate income, train troops, lords for settlements and to lead your armies, and more. There's a staggering amount of micromanagement that goes into a single campaign for every faction, and while that is part of the charm of the Total War name, it may prove a bit too overwhelming for fans of Warhammer jumping aboard to simplify things from their extensive miniature collections.
If you've enjoyed a Total War game in the past or are even remotely interested in jumping into the Warhammer universe, Total War: Warhammer is the best way you can experience both of these worlds. With mod support via Steam Workshop, custom online battles, and multiplayer support it offers various ways to interact with a rich and full-featured universe that can only expand further from here. Sega and Creative Assembly know their audience, and the Warhammer mythos is the perfect backdrop to wage war. Jump into it and embrace it with open arms for an astounding departure from the norm.