Creative Assembly introduced new multiplayer battle styles and expanded the number of players to up to 8 in Total War: Warhammer III co-op campaigns. Each of these features brings new mechanics and interesting elements. But will they hold up after so many battles, and does it matter?
Survival, Domination, Storm of Magic, Minor Settlements and the multiplayer part of the campaign are added/improved in TWW3. The maps used in the battles were taken mainly from the single player campaign. Many new features also appear in some fashions during the campaign.
In the single-player campaign we talked about in the ongoing initial review, players will enter each Kingdom of Chaos. The goal is to defeat a prince in each area. You do so by attacking the kingdom’s fortress in stages. Each level requires the player to capture a target and hold it against enemy reinforcements. During battle, supplies are accumulated by defeating enemies and capturing objectives. They are then used to build towers, defend, and spawn reinforcements. In multiplayer, it’s the same experience in the short videos that are played at the beginning and end of each battle, except that you can have friends with you.
Again, each Chaos Realm has its own aesthetic and Creative Assembly has gone above and beyond with the environments. When setting up the map in multiplayer mode, players can choose whether they want to face this challenge on easy, medium/normal or complex/hard by selecting the corresponding Chaos Realm map with the difficulty stated in parentheses after the name.
I enjoyed playing through all four maps in multiplayer. I find tower build locations easier to locate and activate when compared to media preview event. Also, a yellow/red circle identifies which rally points are currently active to spawn in reinforcements. I still find this “ring” a bit hard to see in heavy combat, but better than nothing.
These are Land Battles with elements of objectives, supplies, and reinforcements lifted from Survival Battles. They are happy to have multiple players sharing the field and working together with team members. Between playing some of these matches for yourself and watching others, it’s always interesting to see how different players will accumulate supplies or spend them early for more troops.
This feature works for battles in all Chaos Realms, with the exception of Khorne, and answers the question of what would happen if the minters had infinite reserves of power. I found myself throwing spells like crazy and watching enemy units melt/explode/freeze. Additionally, each magical lore has access to powerful effects such as all units receiving melee attack bonuses and Cataclysm spells while the lore is in sublimation. . Be warned, this effect/magic only lasts for a limited time. So use it or lose it. While I don’t want this feature to appear on every map, it’s a fun and meaningful experience for battles in the Kingdom of Chaos.
I mentioned Small Settlement Battles in article about single player campaign, and my opinion has not changed. I’ve had a lot of fun with these battles and enjoy using the chokepoints to my advantage. Settlements may have a few twists depending on the map, but there are always multiple ways to access each capture point.
I sometimes find it difficult to aim on the ground to move my units into tight areas and have to pan the camera until I can avoid clicking on walls/buildings. Another problem I have is that I tend to win by overwhelming the other party or killing their champion without bothering to take multiple targets.
Opening co-op from 2 players to 8 players with simultaneous turns is a nice improvement. I’m also happy that Creative Assembly includes two shorter campaigns, Darkness & Disharmony and Something Rotten in Kislev (Up to 3 players). Assigning units of your army to other players makes for some interesting battles throughout the campaign as you strategize via voice chat.
Network stability can be an issue when playing the co-op campaign. If load times and disconnections continue, it can become tedious after happening repeatedly.
Generally speaking, TWW3 the multiplayer experience is a solid one. The options to set up the map and customize your army for each race are powerful. Since I haven’t played against the Grand Cathay and Ogre Kingdoms factions in the single player campaign, I chose them in multiplayer. It’s quick to throw a squad together for some matches.
For the curious, I’m happy with Grand Cathay, and they have a good mix of units, but I don’t see much opportunity to use the faction’s Harmony ability in multiplayer. However, the Goblin Kingdom is where it is right now. While the Ogre army has few units, I find this makes it easier to run the battle more efficiently. Most Ogre units are also harder when compared to other base units. In the tabletop, to offset the power, Ogres units have a chance each turn to stand stupidly in place. I don’t think an equivalent debuff effect exists in TWW3. At least I didn’t notice one of the multiplayer.
The multiplayer menu system is easy to understand once you get used to the different options and map choices. There is also a random option to generate your lists and maps. Players familiar with the previous entries will quickly notice many familiar options/features. I encountered some game bugs when I set the alternate tab to fullscreen, but this is a known issue and fixed by running the game in windowed mode.
Creative Assembly has done a great job with its final article in the series. I really enjoy Total War: Warhammer III, but it may not be for everyone as specific mechanics, like the spawning chaos portals, can become tedious for some players as the campaign progresses. The story also failed to resonate with some players. Personally, I enjoyed the prologue and campaigns, but I could see it lacking in character depending on one’s level of interest in daemons and the Choas gods. The game has some technical issues and I’m really disappointed with parts of the enemy AI. But the single-player story, new features, and solid multiplayer offerings are top-notch. If you are a fan of previous games or this genre then this is a must-play title.
PR has provided a copy of the game for review purposes.
https://www.mmorpg.com/reviews/total-war-warhammer-3-final-review-2000124494 Total War Warhammer 3’s final review