Total War: Warhammer II is a real time, turn-based strategy game in the Total War series. There are thirteen main games and four spin-offs in the series, with the first, Shogun: Total War having been released in 2000.
About the Game
Set in fictionalised versions of Africa, America and Britain along with a mythical horseshoe-shaped Elven island, smack-dab in the middle of the Atlantic – nicely placed to break up an awful lot of monotonous sea scenery, but also a useful place to have elves find a home, away from traditionally human habitation.
The game is essentially a battle for control of this island, called Ulthuan, and you can achieve it in one of two ways: brute force or by solving enough quests and meeting enough objectives that you ultimately take control of the great vortex, and sort of magical whirlpool/cyclone.
Playing the latter way makes the game into more of a race as each of the playable species want to control the power contained within the vortex and thus take control of the island – and from there, presumably, the world.
Choose One of Four
You can choose to play as:
- Lizardmen: as the name implies, these beings are reptilian, based on dinosaurs and amphibians and demonstrate a Central and Southern American (Mesoamerican/ Aztec) theme in their decoration and dress
- High Elves: also known as the Asur, these elves are the original inhabitants of Ulthuan and they are sworn enemies of the Dark Elves. They are very nearly immortal and produce some of the best mages in the game. Their armies are lightly equipped, but their soldiers are quick, brave and nimble
- Dark Elves: descended from the Asur, these elves have moved away from the island to Naggaroth in the New World, a cold and forbidding place, much like the souls of the Dark Elves who are vicious, unrelenting and the most evil beings in the game
- Skaven: sounding almost more unpleasant than the Dark Elves, Skaven are a race of rat men who thrive on and worship chaos. Like rats, they live in darkness underneath the settlements of the other species, emerging when it seems propitious to do so and taking advantage of whatever presents itself at the time
Long ago, the great vortex was created to control the forces of chaos that threatened the world. The vortex acts as a sponge, soaking up the wild magic that would have otherwise wreaked havoc on the world, but it has trapped the mages of long ago within itself as they must continually cast spells to keep the vortex stable.
The Skaven fire a rocket at the vortex, disrupting it and sending alarm through all four factions who respond, heading towards the vortex to see what they can do to restore balance to the world.
Depending on who you are playing as, a ‘win’ takes a different form: Lizardmen and High Elves see harmony restored and the vortex maintained, Dark Elves hijack the power produced to summon their dark king, while the Skaven achieve their aim of producing their own lord of chaos, the Great Horned Rat.
Pick Your Species With Care
Each of the above species offers a different range of pros and cons to the player: Skaven are continually hungry and must keep an eye on supplies and go foraging frequently, while High Elves trade in influence and civilising politics. But Skaven can slip into small spaces and hide, while High Elves prefer to face their enemies on a battlefield. Lizardmen control immense creatures and can go into berserker rages, while Dark Elves can summon floating orbs of dark magic to help them succeed.
All in all, this is an absorbing and exciting game with enough battling, exploring and narrative interest for any player to remain hooked right up until the last enemy is vanquished.