As the concluding chapter of the trilogy, it makes perfect sense for Creative Assembly and Sega‘s Total War: Warhammer III to be the best of the lot. Progressing the narrative is a given, but it is on the gameplay front that we see some big changes that solidify this third entry as the best of the lot.
After spending about six hours running through the first 50 turns for both the new Daemon Prince and Grand Cathay campaigns, Creative Assembly has certainly delivered. This is easily the most accessible entry yet for newcomers, but for veterans, it also promises an equally intriguing degree of flexibility that will compel you to engage in one run after another.
With a gigantic map to play on, twice the size of its predecessors, there is a glut of opportunities for gameplay to shine, and shine it does. Total War: Warhammer III features eight races from the off, and if any of the rest plays like the Daemons of Chaos and Grand Cathay in terms of options, fans are going to be spoiled for choice.
The wounding of Ursun, the patron god of Kislev, kicks everything off, with everyone having their own designs on the wounded bear god. While the forces of Chaos are eager for a feast of potential godly benefits, the people of Kislev want nothing more than to save their deity. The conflict is inevitable.
One of the key ways the wounded bear god affects the greater world is with his roars of pain, which are the only way the arcane barrier erected after its injury can be circumvented via rifts. By sending your armies through these rifts to lands of any of the Chaos gods, players can partake in themed challenges and ultimately take down a champion of Chaos and claim its soul.
By having all four souls of Chaos in your possession, only then can you enter the final battle to decide the ultimate fate of Ursun and of the world. Of course, one can choose to ignore this narrative thread and focus on the sandbox nature of the game, but it is clear that the synergy provides much more of an incentive for players to care.
Should you choose to lead as the Daemon Prince, you remain an agent of Chaos, but there is freedom within that structure. Do you believe in Chaos Undivided and worship all four Chaos gods equally, go down a singular path, or be somewhere in between? The choice is yours, and so are the benefits.
The different units under the different Chaos factions can be accessed with the right amount of Daemonic Glory, allowing for a hybrid race that provides different kinds of playstyles. The Daemon Prince itself is also a flexible hero, with over 500 billion combinations of body parts that can result in vastly different powers. As a choice that has both thematic and gameplay ramifications, it is exciting to see just what players will come up with in Total War: Warhammer III.
As for the Grand Cathay, they also boast their own unique gameplay differences. The key mission of Grand Cathay is the maintenance of the Great Bastion, a towering defensive wall that keeps the forces of Chaos at bay. With three distinct gatehouses in need of defending but also possible to upgrade, it adds another layer of strategy to the proceedings.
The concept of Harmony is vital as well, and its impact can be seen from characters, units, buildings, and even technology advancements. Each comes with a deviation towards Yin or Yang, and by maintaining a true balance, players get to reap the most rewards. Let the balance tilt too much to either side, however, and debuffs set in. Even in battle, situating Yin units next to Yang units can result in powerful, mutual buffs
The Grand Cathay can also count on the Wu Xing Compass, an arcane device that can grant various benefits depending on its orientation with the Winds of Magic. Be it reducing the threat to the Great Bastion and recruitment costs, or applying extreme attrition to the armies on the other side, clever use of the Wu Xing Compass can most certainly turn the tide.
In addition, this race can count on trading to get a leg up on the opposition, with the Ivory Road mechanic enabling growing profits, as long as the dangers of bandits and more are dealt with.
As a general improvement, Total War: Warhammer III also throws in the new ability to build outposts within the territories of your allies, which can make recruitment possible even at long distances. There are also going to be additional multiplayer campaigns for communities to get into, where players can all turn their turns simultaneously and remove the wait. The smaller ones can even be completed in an evening!
If bloodthirsty battles are your thing, the new competitive Domination mode will test your multiplayer might and strategy, pitting two teams of one to four players in intense battles to achieve control of specific areas. Nothing like showing your skill by battering your opponents to a pulp.
We came in with high expectations, and were blown away with what was possible within Total War: Warhammer III. The sentiment is that the game has the depth to challenge veterans, while being accessible enough for someone new to experience it for the first time. The way the developers went about it also revealed the hard work and thought put into the game, and you can check out our interview to learn more as well.