Total War: Warhammer 2 was at E3 in playable form, so I went hands-on with a Lizardmen quest battle called “The Fallen Gates”. In this battle my forces were led by the Saurus Old-Blood Legendary Lord, Kroq-Gar. He and his forces had to take on a High Elves faction led by Prince Amendil. The goal was to take down the Elven Mages or rout their forces due to their meddling with the Fallen Gates.
I played the battle on easy so I could get through it and actually be able to appreciate all of its nuances without getting my ass kicked by the AI. Considering that it was a quest battle I had pre-determined forces at my disposal that included: Kroq-Gar and his Carnasaur mount Grymloq, Skink Skirmishers, Saurus Warriors, Temple Guard, and their bestial allies such as Feral Bastilodons, Stegadons, and Stegadons mounted with Solar Engines. As I made my approach on the gates I also got control of Terradon Riders armed with Fireleech Bolas, which came in handy to combat air forces the Elves were throwing at me. Speaking of the Elves their army consisted of: Eagle Claw Bolt Throwers, a base of Elven Archers and Spearmen, two chariot-mounted Mages, White Lions of Chrace, Swordmasters of Hoeth, Ellyrian Reaver and Silver Helm cavalry, and a mighty Sun Dragon.
The match started with my forces facing the Elven forces, which were in an elevated position, so the AI immediately began lobbing arrows once my Lizardmen army began to march up the steps of the Fallen Gates. I countered this by sending a group of ground forces on a flank maneuver while also getting my Stegadons with their Solar Engines ramped up and ready for long distance AOE attacks. While these flanks were going on I sent my main forces and Kroq-Gar up the center to take on the two mages to try for a quick win condition. Unfortunately this initial surge fell short as my forces were pushed back and slightly routed due to the arrival of a Sun Dragon. Luckily, at this same time I was granted my own air units, so once I set them upon the dragon with additional attacks being made by my beasts with long range capabilities, I was able to continue my center push.
Once one of the Elven Mages fell their forces were easy to rout. I used this as an opportunity to send all of my forces after the second Mage to seal a victory, which came after a few more minutes of my forces running down the last Mage and his protectors. The whole affair felt very strategic and slightly chaotic, but in a good way. The battle definitely caused me stress and required snap decisions for my attacks, counters, and defenses. Even on easy the AI put up a fight, which is a sign of great programming and logic. The match didn’t just feel like an exercise in clicking and blind luck, as real war tactics like flanking and surging had to be used to succeed.
Visually the game looked solid as well. The cinematics are top-notch, and the in-game graphics handled all of the various forces being on screen at once quite well. I didn’t experience any engine failures, and I didn’t have any visual stutters or frame rate issues. The graphics in-game are detailed well and have solid textures, but if you zoomed in on your forces the details became a bit fuzzy, which is an effect in all war-style games like the RTS genre, so I didn’t take issue with this game having the same effect.
Total War: Warhammer 2 is set to release sometime in 2017 for PC. If you like the Total War brand and its focus on legitimate war tactics and battles, you know the quality you’re going to get, so Warhammer 2 is no different. It’s also the middle act of a planned trilogy, so if you want to continue your Total War: Warhammer journey, you shouldn’t have any worries about picking up the sequel this fall.
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