Ten years ago Total war Developers Creative Assembly announced a licensing deal that would see developers of historical strategy games embrace a fictional setting for the first time ever: the fantasy warhammer Universe. Over three full games and multiple expansions, and all the work and applause that went with it, this deal has slowly unfolded into a single moment. This moment.
From the earliest days of the agreement, Creative Assembly had promised that upon completion of the planned trilogy of standalone games, players would be able to participate in a campaign that would span the entire world of Total War: Warhammer. All three games, with their already massive maps, have been merged into a single experience. Every faction, continent, city, and special character united into something called Immortal Empires.
It took one a lot of of work, as Creative Assembly explained a few months ago:
To create the game mode, the development team had to collect the content, features, mechanics, systems, and code from three different codebases and combine them into a single mega-campaign. Now, taking large chunks of content, data and code from one game and porting it to another – I speak from experience – is always a challenge and requires a lot of time and customization to bring all the pieces together that you are comfortable with can play each other and work properly. Even after the technical implementations are complete, there are still bugs to be found and fixed, as well as a significant amount of playtesting to ensure that (as an example) a race isn’t ridiculously under- or over-powered, or that each race has unique features and mechanics work as intended.
It is no exaggeration to say so long Total war Fans have been looking forward to this release almost as much, if not more, than the actual release warhammer Play because the sheer scope and number of options available to players would (sorry) dwarf previous campaigns. And if there is one thing Total war Fans like, it’s big campaigns.
The fanbase got a little taste of it after the release of Warhammer IIwhen Creative Assembly dropped the mediator Mortal Empires expansion (which combined the campaigns of only the first two games), but This is one everyone has been waiting for.
Over its wide lands Immortal Empires lets you conquer and take over over 550 settlements 270 other factions, 86 of which are led by the “Legendary Lords” of the universe. That first time you start a campaign and hit the end turn button to see the AI crunch through 200+ factions is both one of the funniest and most terrifying things I’ve ever seen in one Total war Campaign.
To give you an idea of the magnitude I’m talking about, here’s a map of the first Total War: Warhammer Game. The red dot is where you start when playing as The Empire. Note the surrounding terrain:
And here is the card for Immortal Empires. They start in the same region (the red one), but Holy shit:
I’ve talked a lot about size and little else, but that’s really the whole point here. The game itself is silent Total War: Warhammer IIIwhich I have already reviewed So if you want to know how battles and economies work and how pretty everything is, you can go there as nothing has changed.
Size is (um) important though. Empire: Total War is still one of my favorites in the series, broken as it is, because it felt really world-spanning the way it did Warhammer II with his transcontinental ocean voyages. This scale also affects gameplay. The more settlements to conquer, the more factions to conquer, and the more of the map to explore, the more possibilities the player has during the campaign, leading to some truly intercontinental strategies that can span entire country races.
How exactly does this work?
While Immortal Empires is a free download, you must own all three to play it Total War: Warhammer games. You must also own them in the same store for the game to recognize them. However, in multiplayer games, the host need only own all three (although other players’ games will dictate which factions they can select).
The sheer size of this map also presents some new challenges for you Total war campaign, but also serves as a brief review. Over the past decade, this series has slipped toward increasingly polished, scripted conditions for single-player campaigns, all in an attempt to alleviate a long-standing problem where tedious efforts at simply conquering the entire map became tedious. But that’s basically what this is about. Start small and paint the map like old times did, so if you missed vintage total war Campaign simplicity, you’ll like this because the endgame limitations of older games have been tackled here simply by throwing more regions and possible enemies at you.
The design and aesthetics of the map are also important, perhaps more than you would expect in a strategy game. Total war Campaigns are often not only defined by the size of their map, but also by their design and appearance. A boring one can spoil the experience (Three Kingdoms, Napoleon), while a lively and interesting can be a great time (Shogun II, Warhammer II). Immortal Empires, aided by the fact that it already combines three of the best cards in the series, is definitely a case of the latter. Just check out everything that’s going on here!
Immortal Empires is best intended as a buffet or seasonal box set. You already know what you’re getting, but now you just get it more of it at once. You can boot it up, look at the map and start anywhere, no matter who. Do you want to be a human lord? Secure. A vampire pirate? Why not. An Aztec lizardman? knock yourself out Or you can be a dwarf, beastman, or member of the undead, and virtually every time you start out as one of the game’s seemingly endless number of playable factions, you start out in a new area of the map with new enemies and a new set of Challenges.
The size of the game doesn’t always work in the campaign’s favor, however. It can get tiring. I didn’t finish my first two attempts because total war classic rubber band AI – which will always try to check your progress only enough – starts to wear you down once you start threatening entire continents. If you want to graduate of the immortal empire Greater victory conditions, then you are in one clap.
Thankfully, the game knows this, so it’s included a bunch of shorter objectives. Playing as The Empire you can take over the world if you want, sure, or you can achieve a smaller victory simply by combining the forces of humanity, which is a much more achievable task. The endgame has also been slightly adjusted; While it doesn’t have a single major arc like the main games, it introduces some random events that can threaten even the strongest empires.
But wait, there’s more
Immortal Empires has published alongside the Champions of Chaos DLC bringing four new Legendary Lords playable in both Immortal Empires and Realm of Chaos campaigns. While the big campaign is free, Champions of Chaos is a paid download.
You should know that by now Immortal Empires was found fit for release, it’s technically still in beta, so this is more of a piece of impressions than a formal review. Creative Assembly has a lot more details on this here, but essentially it means that while the factions and map are all working, additional things will be added in the months and years to come. Given all the disclaimers provided and the dreaded prospect of playing on such a large map with so many AI factions, I found the performance on my half-decent PC to be surprisingly good. Significantly better than Warhammer III waseven, which was a relief.
I’m sorry there wasn’t much more to add here than “the map has grown” but I hope I got it across that yes the map has grown but that also means something for a Total war campaign, and that the end result, which fans have been waiting for for years, is everything one could have expected (aside from the fact that it’s actually doing pretty well, which might be the biggest shock).
https://kotaku.com/total-war-warhammer-iii-immortal-empires-review-kotaku-1849432160 Immortal Empires Review for PC