Total War: Warhammer 3 Review – Bed Of Chaos

Large-scale strategy games tend to struggle with their endgames. Boiling down decisions made over hundreds of turns into a satisfying win-state is no simple task. Victory conditions often feel arbitrary, even disconnected–as if the competing factions are not merely pursuing different strategies, but playing different games. Even if that’s not the case, winning a game typically happens hours before the game recognizes it, and the rest is just a matter of slogging your way to the inevitable conclusion. Total War: Warhammer 3 is no exception. It may be the series’ most spectacular, varied, and tactically rich entry yet, but its endgame problems reverberate throughout the whole campaign, undermining a strategic layer that deserves better.

Warhammer 3 makes an excellent first impression. The prologue is a mini-campaign that feels almost like an RPG in the way it zooms in on one major character and offers a strong throughline as you gradually explore the map. Short cinematic scenes present your army’s strategic decisions in ways that lend narrative purpose to the choices you make. Ultimately, it serves as a terrific introduction to the game’s basic mechanics, while also drawing you into its world. After all that scene-setting, however, much of that flavor and the character-driven goals are lost.

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Developer Creative Assembly has rethought the series’ traditional approach to winning a Total War campaign in deeply unsatisfying fashion. Painting the map–the common euphemism for how conquering territories changes them to your faction’s color–isn’t the end goal here, although it may still inform the journey. Instead, no matter which faction you choose to play, your objective is to send an army into the Chaos Realm, a dimension of pure magic in Warhammer lore represented here as a discrete section of the map, and secure a set of MacGuffins. Collect all four and you unlock the final battle. You’re still marching armies around a great big map, besieging towns and capturing provinces, as you would in any other Total War, but your success in the campaign is measured only through how quickly you can collect those MacGuffins.

Continue Reading at GameSpot

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