Total War: Warhammer 2 is an RTS game by Sega Europe and Total War creators Creative Assembly, that acts as a follow up to the popular and critically acclaimed Total War: Warhammer. At E3 2017, I got to play about fifteen/twenty minutes of the game, which, due to genre’s strengths and weaknesses, did not feel like ample time to play it. I maxed out my allotted time and squeezed in a second play through, but I was still left feeling like I barely even scratched the surface. The surface I scratched, however, satisfied enough of an itch to get me excited for more.
The demo opened with a long exploration and explanation of the map, the lore, and the races of this particular iteration of Warhammer. This was an intriguing way to table-set, as the camera zoomed across the entirety of the playable map, really giving you a sense of scale and diversity between the locales. A quick overview of story: when The Great Vortex, a towering plughole that sucks magic, created by Caledor Dragontamer of the Ulthuan high elves, begins to falter, various races and empires across the world vie for control of to use The Vortex’s immense power for their own doing. Each campaign will explore a different races journey to control The Vortex.
I played as the Lizardmen of Lustria defending my kingdom from invading High Elves of Ulthuan. Since this was a tutorial, I was more or less guaranteed a victory. It was still fun to make decisions about where to position units, who to attack (the dragon with my bowmen), when to retreat (whenever a unit can’t fight the dragon due to range), and when to chase (chase the dragon it needs to die), I just was painfully aware of the lack of consequences.
Battles involve selecting units, giving them commands, letting those decisions play out in real time, and then adjust on the fly based on the outcome of those decisions, or as situations change. Being able to zoom in on the action, all the way down to individual units, is still one of the coolest things about the Total War franchise. By the second play-through, even someone like me who is not that experienced with RTSs was able to pick up on the quick commands from the keyboard, and start to feel more like a commander.
Overall, the game will benefit from its in-depth campaigns, which I’d really like to explore, but this should be no surprise to fans of the first Total War: Warhammer game.
Total War: Warhammer 2 will arrive on PC September 28th, 2017.