Life as a legendary general must be pretty stressful. You couldn’t even go grocery shopping without inadvertently thinking of logistics chains and small unit tactics as you navigate through the aisles. What happens if there’s a chokepoint at the checkout counter? What about artillery firing on our forces from the frozen foods section? It’d be a bit much, and probably not for yours truly.
I’ll stick to pretending to lead armies in Total War: Warhammer III, the latest Games Workshop-licensed strategy title to hit the scene, thank you very much.
The world of Warhammer Fantasy is at peace…yeah, even I couldn’t keep that up for long. Of course crazy stuff is happening. This time, the bear god Ursun of the nation of Kislev has been taken captive by the daemonic forces of Chaos. Suffice to say, messing around with a god can result in some real issues, and Ursun inadvertently shreds open reality. Daemons are rampaging all over the place, some new factions are beating them up, they’re beating each other up…it’s a mess, and it’s all to determine who can claim Ursun’s power and use that power to achieve their goals.
As with the previous couple games, Warhammer III is a combination turn-based strategy and real-time strategy game. You’ve got a strategic map where you move your armies about and manage logistics, but when it comes down to a slugfest, you’ll shift down to the battlefield to command your forces more directly. This isn’t an uncommon concept, but Total War handles it like few others. Neither take is dull; doing well from a strategic perspective lends a sense of preparation and anticipation that leads into the real-time battles, where you’re fighting to defend the territory you built up via strategy.
Properly arranging your forts and finances will lead to victory in battle, so you never feel like you’re doing chores just for the sake of it. Since III is all about battling the forces of Chaos, you’ll spend some time in that spooky realm as well, providing a more focused contrast against the grand strategy of the more traditional campaign segments.
What else is new here, then? You’ve got a few new factions to check out, first off, and as you might imagine given the Chaos theme of this entry a lot of them have that sweet, sweet daemonic feel. Choose your preferred Chaos God from the four we know and love – in other words, choose Nurgle – and get to devastating the landscape, or just choose the generic Daemons of Chaos faction. You’ve also got Cathay, a more esoteric human faction than the Empire we’ve been using, and a fleshing-out of the aforementioned Kislev forces that serve as an introductory faction.
Please note that Kislev has bear cavalry. That’s dudes riding on bears while wielding spears- the dudes have the spears, not the bears, though that would also be cool. The game just kind of sells itself.
You’ll take your forces into fantastic looking, gigantic battles where there’s a billion things going on at once and you’re going to want to check them all out. These are truly impressive scraps. Your bear riders, that you definitely have because why wouldn’t you, will charge into the fray as magic and explosives go off all around them. Melee fights rage while spellcasters weave their arcane arts from afar. Heroes stomp around and take out their lesser opponents. It’s clear that spectacle was the name of the game here and Warhammer III doesn’t disappoint.
Oh, and one big thing that’s worth mentioning – you might recall that Warhammer II allowed you to play the first game’s campaign. III doesn’t have that feature…well, it doesn’t yet. It will eventually, though, in a giant combined-map campaign called Immortal Empires. This will amount to an insanely huge amount of content, so please look forward to it. Even without Immortal Empires, there’s still a sizable amount of campaign content to check out, to say nothing of multiplayer.
Total War: Warhammer III is a solid addition to the ongoing series of giant goblin murder simulators. It looks great, sounds great and offers a ludicrous amount of things to do that will only expand through the game’s life cycle. It’s impressive and you probably ought to buy it, but if you don’t want to it’s also available on Game Pass. There’s nothing stopping you from commanding your war bears to shred foes like a pic-a-nic basket. If you don’t, well, either grab it or pick this game up. You won’t be able to bear missing this one.