by Sean Martin
reviewed on PC
FEATURES THAT DON’T QUITE WORK
There are loads of other great features: improved quest battles that don’t require completing a million tasks before you can fight them (like in the first game), some astoundingly detailed maps and a very dramatic soundtrack. There were a few features however that I didn’t think quite panned out: the diplomacy interface is a bit clumsy and will for no reason often zoom to the far end of the map when you open it. The same can be said for the changing of turns: more options have been added so you can decide whose turn you want to watch, and whose you don’t, but honestly the simple speed up and slow down that Total War has always used didn’t need changing.
Another new feature that was added to the game was treasure hunting. When you send your army to the ruins of a settlement you are given a choice to initiate a treasure hunt which will give you a small narrative and a choice, the outcome of which might give you a bonus, a penalty, or nothing. These treasures can also be found on the sea, in the form of a shipwreck, an island, or a giant dead sea creature. But as there are no stakes (no battles to get the treasure for example) you just end up farming them with a lord and no army. Also because the choices are limited, you will find that after the first few they begin to repeat.
The final feature that I thought needed improvement were the intervention armies. In Total War: Warhammer 2 you race your enemies to complete rituals before them and so when they start a ritual, you have a choice to summon an intervention army. You pay a lump sum of gold which summons an AI army of varying quality (depending on how much you pay) that will try to stop the enemy by destroying their ritual settlements. On seven separate occasions I summoned a full price intervention army and every time they were immediately killed first turn. The fact that this mechanic doesn’t ever seem to work means that in the late-game you’ll probably have to send an army across the map to disrupt their ritual yourself. However, these negative features felt fairly minor, and I found for the most part they barely impacted upon my enjoyment of the game.
LORE THROUGH PLAY
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the reason Total War: Warhammer is so successful is rooted in its ability to create lore based mechanics. Games Workshop made Warhammer successful that way, creating strategy based upon lore and exposing that lore through play. Total War: Warhammer 2 is a promising sequel: it shows those lore based mechanics that differentiate factions taking centre-stage. We also see issues from the first game being streamlined and resolved. This makes me incredibly hopeful for The Mortal Empires campaign, combining both the first and second game maps (which is being released in a month or so). It also makes me hopeful for future DLC and the third game in the series, because if the gameplay is this good right now… how good will it be then?
The wonderful madness of Skaven.
Underwhelming treasure hunts.