The first Total War: Warhammer came out in 2016, and the sequel, Total War: Warhammer II, came out in 2017. And now finally comes the final Total War: Warhammer III. In between, Creative Assembly created a slew of DLCs, adding new factions and legendary lords. Due to this, with the release of the third part, the series will cover all the races that had their own armies in the original board game, and some more that were written specifically for the video game, although they appeared in the canon.
At the very beginning, it was primarily Total War, which carefully included individual mechanics designed to reflect the fantasy world, such as flying units or magic. But the last part pays much more attention to the specifics of Warhammer.
The developers have put a lot of effort into ensuring that the plot, style and factions in their new project reveal exactly this universe – and even sacrificed some of the canons of their main franchise.
Yuri on ice
The plot is fully consistent with the gloomy atmosphere of Warhammer. Ursin, the supreme god of the state of Kislev, a local analogue of Russia and Eastern Europe, who is always fighting against the hordes of Chaos living in the north, was captured. He was captured by Belabor, the first Demon Prince, a mortal turned demon by the Chaos Gods and one of the game’s key antagonists. Once Belabor rebelled against his dark patrons and was punished for this by turning into a shadow, and now, with the help of Ursin, he expects to take revenge on both mortals and the Gods of Chaos.
This is the beginning of a small introductory campaign, which reveals the plot and introduces us to the main mechanics of the game. The protagonist here is Yuri Barkov, Prince of Kislev, sent to the North to investigate the situation in one of the remote cities: after the disappearance of Ursin, spring does not come in his country, which was caused by the roar of the great bear, and communication between individual regions was interrupted. Upon reaching the location, Yuri is confronted by the armies of Chaos and also hears the voice of his missing god.
Perhaps the opening campaign is the most unfortunate part of the new game. It’s too long to teach, especially considering that everything in it will be briefly repeated in the main campaign. And to foresee the main plot twist, to put it mildly, is not very difficult. But here the composition of the game is finally built up: following the results of Yuri’s campaign, Ursin is not only captured, but also injured, and his roar creates a storm that separates the mortal world from the kingdom of Chaos.
In addition, already in the launch campaign, the attention with which the developers approached the plot is striking. Yuri is a well-written, if not the most complex character with his own evolving story, character and motivation, and his saga is in keeping with the spirit of Warhammer.
The developers present the story through Yuri’s conversation with his brother, as well as through story battles — unique battles on special maps, where victory requires not only defeating the enemy’s army, but fulfilling specific conditions. For example, save Yuri’s compatriots or destroy suddenly appearing reinforcements.
Such battles were also present in the previous parts, but in smaller numbers, but here they were given a lot of attention. The problem is that at the same time the player participates in “normal” battles with servants of Chaos, which turn out to be more difficult and brighter. Because of such situations, it is difficult to feel the story, and you approach the main game with a slight skepticism. But, fortunately, he is not justified.
From Katya to Kislev
The big campaign begins with the Counselor, a character who has been in the series since the first installment, telling his story. Those who played the first game for Chaos already know that this is not a kind mysterious helper, but a mage who possessed an ancient cursed artifact, the Book of Fate.
which tells the future. It was by the will of the Book that the Counselor helped various rulers, and now he finally claims independence. The god’s blood is able to free the hero from the curse and allow the book to be used to his own advantage. To do this, the Advisor comes to the legendary lord that the player chooses and offers a deal: access to Ursin in exchange for a drop of his blood.
A video unique for each of the lords reveals the character and his faction and, as a rule, almost ends with the death of the Advisor, who, thanks to arguments unique for each faction, manages to convince his interlocutor to go in search of the Bear God. The ogres want to eat the deity.
Kislev wants to save it, Cathay needs information that only Ursin has, and the leaders of the Chaos factions demand various trophies for themselves: the servants of Horne, of course, dream of getting a skull for the throne of their god, the servants of Spanish want to take his agony for themselves, and so on. .
Playing as each of the legendary lords also reveals the specifics of their particular faction. In the previous parts, especially in the first, the races differed mainly in the sets of units and, accordingly, the proposed battle tactics. Of course, from the very beginning, Warhammer had mechanics like the spread of vampire corruption that helped vampires and hindered their enemies.
All parties played similarly: they entered into an agreement with some neighbors, attacked others, seized new lands, rebuilt the economy there, increased the army and repeated what had already been done. A well-known cycle of global strategies.
In the third part, this cycle, of course, has not gone away, but they tried to give each faction as many features as possible that modify the gameplay in the spirit of Warhammer.
So, for the Kingdom of Ogres, meat plays a big role, which is collected and saved by individual armies. Each turn, it is spent on feeding the soldiers, in addition, before the battles, the soldiers are allowed to arrange a feast, thereby increasing their characteristics. On the good side: after a battle, the meat, as a rule, only becomes more. The surplus of this resource is sacrificed to the Great Maw, the god of the ogres, for additional blessings.