Total War Warhammer II: A Sandbox of Strategy and Mayhem


A coalition of various High Elf units including the Legendary Lord Tyrion

Alex Liu, Managing Editor

“Total War: Warhammer II” is the epitome of the grand strategy genre, and it has brought life to high fantasy with its massive scale battles and in-depth empire management. This is the game to play if you’ve ever wondered if you have what it takes to lead an army into battle, fighting tooth and nail against overwhelming odds, or if you enjoy outsmarting your opponents through superior tactics. 

“Total War: Warhammer II” is a strategy game where you control an empire that you gradually expand in order to take over the world. You control a specific faction within a race, which is led by a Legendary Lord. For example, Queek Headtaker is a Legendary Lord of the Skaven, a race of rat people, who heads Clan Mors. There is a wide variety of Lords and races to choose from who each present a different way of fighting, including mages, warriors, and assassins. In “Total War: Warhammer II”, you can play as the Lizardmen, Skaven, High Elves, and the Dark Elves, with the Tomb Kings and Vampire Coast being DLC factions. My favorite lord is probably Count Noctilus from the Vampire Coast, a race that consists of vampire pirates and their undead minions. He is able to ride in a Necrofex Colossus, a giant amalgamation of ship parts and bodies with mounted artillery. Trust me, it’s gruesome yet very effective. 

The campaign map is where you will manage your cities, such as public order and income, as well as your armies’ movement. Once you decide to engage another army or city with one of your armies on this map, you are transitioned into a battle. This is where you will use your tactical prowess or military might to defeat your opponents. This part is the meat of the game, and it is very well done. There are thousands of units within each army, and it is very cinematic to just sit back and watch as battles take place. Imagine white lions chowing down on hordes of undead or wood elf archers firing away at huge dinosaurs. It’s all possible in “Total War: Warhammer II”. Campaigns usually are very long affairs that will take hundreds of hours to complete. I have only ever completed a single campaign myself, taking around 100 hours. I have started and gotten pretty far in numerous campaigns, but it is quite a slog to actually finish the campaign. The issue with the game is that later in the game, one of your enemy factions has gained a lot of strength through either conquering lots of territory or confederations, so it’s a massive uphill battle. You either get much stronger and have to go around the world conquering the smaller nations, or you’re not strong enough and have to slowly whittle away at everyone else. Frankly, playing a full campaign is mentally taxing, but the midgame is where all the fun is. Along with this, chaos invasions pop up to destroy the world after a certain amount of time, which requires a huge effort to fight back against. I have spent around 560 hours in the game, and I still haven’t played every faction. There’s a ton of content here to explore with an unlimited amount of scenarios.

There are a few ways to play “Total War: Warhammer II”. You can play multiplayer modes with 2v2 or 1v1 battles, where you are given a certain amount of funds. These are challenging but usually quick skirmishes that test your battle strategies against other people. You can also play regular campaigns, including the Eye of the Vortex campaign and Mortal Empires campaign. Out of these two, Mortal Empires, I find is the most enjoyable because it combines the races and factions of “Total War: Warhammer I” with the races of “Total War: Warhammer II”, creating a massive campaign map. The problem is that it requires the first game to play, but I feel that it is the best way to play the game. This begins to factor in one of my biggest complaints with the game. In total, it costs way too much. To play Mortal Empires, you would need to buy both games which are around $60 each, as well as a ton of DLC which range from $10 to $20. This could amount to around $300 if you want to be able to play every race and faction. Of course, it’s perfectly playable as a game with only the $60 game, but at least the first two games are needed for the true Mortal Empires experience. My recommendation is to wait for a Steam sale to snag them all in one go, which usually drastically reduces the price of both games and their DLC.

In my experience, I’ve run into some visual and sound bugs, but your mileage will vary based on your PC. The game usually runs fine as long as you don’t have 8 armies on your screen at once, which is possible but might adversely affect your framerate. This game is not available on consoles, so that makes it less accessible, but it would be very difficult to put a strategy game like this onto consoles. “Total War: Warhammer II” is available on both Steam and Epic Games on PC.

 I believe that “Total War: Warhammer II” has become the definitive strategy game of our generation, and I can only hope for the improvements that the new game “Total War: Warhammer II”I brings once it gets integrated with the rest of the games, with a massive combined map spanning three games, named Immortal Empires. I would wholeheartedly recommend this game to any fans of strategy and empire-building, but caution them of the steep price tag. “Warhammer II” has become one of my favorite games to come back to and just relax. It’s a thoroughly different game compared to what’s popular at the moment, and it’s a truly epic experience. I would rate it a 7.5/10 for its masterful display of strategy and fantasy while detracting points for its more annoying aspects and high price point.