Paragon Review

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”Paragon

the end times have arrived. chaos fanaticsand abominations led by archaon the everchosen, the three-eyed king and favored son of chaos,march ever-forward from the desolate north with a single goal set before them, to bringforth the end of the world in honor of the dark gods.entire nations of men have fallen, orks have been wiped out from the world, and the onlything standing against the tides of darkness is an uneasy alliance between the mountaindwarfs and the undead legions of sylvania… or at least it would be if the damnable dwarfsdidn’t decide this was prime time to exact revenge for a trade dispute that occurredages ago! as my innumerable hordes of the dead slowlyshambled towards the final stronghold of the

once proud dwarfs i was left wondering ifi should be angry the ai decided to essentially throw the entire campaign and condemn us allto eternal damnation, or genuinely impressed it managed to do exactly what the dwarfs inwarhammer lore would do – seek revenge against anyone foolish enough to end up in their greatbook of grudges. the warhammer world is a strange place, acombination of everything games workshop thought would be cool and badass, all mixed up togetherand then seasoned with tolkien’s rendition of middle earth, and lovecraft’s cosmic monstrosities.what this insane amalgamation ended up resulting in is one of the most unique and interestingfantasy worlds i’ve ever experienced, a universe where your standard cliches are not only embraced,but instead taken to their very extreme.

in gameplay terms this means that unlike previoustotal war games where every faction differed only slightly from their neighbors, the onesin total war: warhammer only share the broad strokes of warfare, with the specific detailsbeing unique to them alone. the previously mentioned dwarfs (and no, that’snot a spelling mistake) base the entirety of their civilization on an impeccable senseof honor and duty, a pair of truly noble ideals they then decided to take too far. if youever cross a dwarf you can rest assured that your name and the entirety of your vile deedwill be written in the blood of the high king himself into the damaz kron, the great bookof grudges. since the dwarf language contains no wordfor forgiveness this means that throughout

the dwarf campaign you will be oath-boundto exact revenge and retribution against any that dare insult the great dwarf race. crossingout the grudges, which is mostly done by beating the other side into a pulp, will net you favoramong your citizens, while a full book of unanswered grudges will lead towards generalunrest and perhaps even open rebellion against the clearly incompetent high king.due to the fickle nature of the dwarfs i spent most of the campaign adopting a defensiveplaystyle as earning new enemies tends to be far more trouble than its worth, especiallywhen you have plenty of grudges to settle back home, mostly against the constantly invadinghordes of green-skinned barbarians. total war: warhammer has dwarfs with flamethrowersthe ambush probably should’ve focused on the

dwarfs with giant flamethrowersthe orks on the other hand care very little for defense, and prefer to simply get intothe next battle as soon as possible. this is represented in-game through the fightinessmeter that increases as you win battles and crush your enemies, but decreases if you losebattles or hide behind walls like some sort of a dwarf. in true ork tradition, the moresuccessful your warboss is the more greenskins will start to rally behind him, usually resultingin a waaagh! – an unstoppable tide of flesh and blades that only cares about one thingand one thing only, fighting! what this means is that instead of loosingtroops as you constantly advance across the campaign map your numbers will slowly increaseas long as you remain on the offense, eventually

ending up with an entire army trailing yourprimary one, an army you don’t have to pay in anything other than blood! its not oftenthat one gets to play a total war game as a complete battle-hungry maniac, so the additionof orks is definitely a welcome one. the vampire counts, my personal favorite race,don’t rely on such silly things as archery, artillery, or even taking good care of theirfront-line troops. what they have instead is a nearly endless sea of corpses to drowntheir enemies in. zombies, skeletons, and skeletal zombie dogs all serve as cannon fodderto hide your more powerful units, the various monstrosities that have been forcefully risenfrom the grave, and a surprisingly effective and diverse set of spectral cavalry that willtear through the enemy’s defenses with ease.

unfortunately, the most unique part aboutthe vampire counts, the ability to raise the dead when roaming around the world, did notpan out to be as exceptional as it sounds on first glance. this is mostly due to thefact that these units are still expensive, but also because you are only able to resurrecta couple of the strong ones after particularly devastating battles, battles that have mostlikely left you in such a poor shape that you need to return to the safety of your bordersanyway. still, the vampire counts have plenty of thingsgoing for them, and sometimes just seeing the huge armies of flesh and bone slowly advanceforward is enough to send opposing armies flee in terror. this is great for breakingformations during land-battles, but when it

comes to castle sieges it can be downrightdevastating as defenders abandon their posts and allow the clumsy zombies to freely shambleup the massive walls. if you’re up for a somewhat standard totalwar experience, however, the empire is there to provide exactly that. their troops mostlyconsist of peasants with halberds, entire legions of crossbowmen, and naturally, nobleknights riding upon steeds of war. that doesn’t last for very long though, and soon enoughrealism will get thrown by wayside as you start to recruit massive siege tanks, magicalcatapults, missile launchers, and knights riding upon flightless gryphons.mythical beasts aside, another big difference from previous total war games is the inclusionof magic which can range from long-lasting

defensive enhancements, to full on tornadoesmade out of pure fire! the problem is that most of these offensive spells are nowherenear worth their mana costs as they do rather meek amounts of damage and tend to move aboutthe battlefield in a random fashion. it makes sense from a lore perspective as the mortalraces tend to have trouble understanding the winds of magic, but from a gameplay standpointthis means you’ll mostly be spending your mana on efficient, but extremely boring offensive/defensivebuffs. in a strange way the fact that most of theseflashy spells are ineffective ended up being a great boon to me as i frequently strugglewith resisting the temptation to ignore battlefield tactics in favor of zooming in up close andwatching cavalry charges displace entire swaths

of troops. its an unfortunate reality of thegenre that those playing the game seriously will only see tiny flags and health bars shakearound the map, while those in it for the spectacle will probably lose all of theirbattles as they are highly likely to miss the skeletal dragon landing amidst their artillery.at least there’s always the replay system for post-match gawking!as for the battles themselves, they will instantly feel familiar to anyone that played a moderntotal war game as many of the same unit archetypes are present in warhammer as well, just wearinga different set of ‘clothes’. what this means is that the battles are complex, exciting,and offer plenty of opportunities to carve your own victory out of certain defeat. oneof my favorite moments from the campaign was

when my already wounded army was attackedby two enemy heroes, something the in-game counter said was destined to be a decisivedefeat. instead of giving up i managed to make good use of forest cower and cavalrycharges to not only survive, but almost wipe out one of my attackers, and then raise aneven stronger army from their corpses! the enemy ai, while clearly not brilliant,managed to offer me enough of a challenge on normal difficulty that i never felt likei was just cruising towards a victory, a notion that continued untill the very end of thecampaign when the forces of chaos simply smashed through all of my defenses and brought aboutthe age of boring to the world of warhammer. i was warned when i started the campaign,however, that the normal difficulty was a

bit overtuned pre-release, so you may wantto go with some of the higher difficulty settings if you’re a total war veteran.while i would love to say everything was perfect when it comes to combat, there are a coupleof issues that required getting used to. the first one is the rather finicky camera controlsthat either don’t zoom in as fast as you want, or end up flipping out all over the placewhen attempting to move around a battle. thankfully, most of this can be corrected if you fiddlewith the options menu, and i would recommend you do so if you plan to watch the battlesplay out from up-close. the second issue is the that i frequentlyhave no idea about what’s even happening on the battlefield unless i go the tactical camera.this comes down to the fact that most of the

units for some factions are completely blackwhen looked at from above, so in a battle between black orks and skeletal swordsmenyou would have a really tough time trying to tell which side is winning without lookingup the health bars, which themselves could be covered by other health bars! i would liketo see an option that gives your units an outline in the color of your choice, as otherwiseyou have to rely on the pause button far too often, and that is something i don’t considervery fun. there’s more to total war: warhammer thanfighting, however, and it comes in the shape of the campaign map where you get to buildup your forces, sabotage enemy defenses, gather allies, and then wage war against anyone thatopposes you… wait a minute!

at the start of the campaign you will haveto chose a legendary lord that will lead your empire to greatness. depending on your choiceyour armies will be slightly more inclined towards a specific playstyle, but the mostinteresting thing about these legendary lords is how you get to personally witness theirascent to power through various quests. these quests will appear periodically on the campaignmap and usually force you to bring your entire army into hostile territory, with the carrotbeing a magical artifact of great power. you will start the battle with your entire armyat the ready, while the opposition will get a pre-built force that might just be vastlyinferior, or completely overpowered depending on when you decide to undertake the quest.i don’t consider this too much of an issue

since the quest battles have always managedto be entertaining, either because of the story, or because of the often tricky encounterdesign that might have you face off against overwhelming odds until your allies finallycome to the rescue. the fact that you always get a lore-important item at the end of italso means that the stakes are adequately high, so even though it might just be anotherbattle amidst hundreds it still feels fresh. what doesn’t feel fresh, and this is probablythe biggest issue with total war: warhammer, is the fact that the end of the campaign isso repetitive. almost every faction has the exact same goals: destroy two opposing nationsand stop the chaos invasion. no matter how you played through the entire game the finalstretch will be a big climatic battle with

chaos, followed by a long and boring mop-upof all the factions that still remain on your checklist. its a real shame because i trulyenjoyed what the campaign had to offer, what with each race having their own special gimmick,so i do hope this is something the upcoming dlcs will expand upon. as with previous total war games you are capableof building up your cities in a variety of ways, with your expansion being mostly limitedby your funding and the current level of civil unrest. while it might seem complicated atfirst the building process is about as dead-simple as it gets since the buildings all fall intoobvious tiers such as: unit-producing buildings, income generators, trade good generators,prerequisites for bigger units, and so forth.

its not a bad system, but its clearly notthe focus of total war: warhammer, so it is a bit underdeveloped compared to what youmight expect from a strategy game. things get a lot more interesting in the researchscreen that allows you to either enable passive effects for specific heroes and units, ornew and increasingly powerful magical abilities. much like the city building system its notvery complex, but it does offer you a far greater degree of choice when it comes towhat exactly you want to specialize your nation in, whether that be combat, diplomacy, expansion,or any variation of those. the final thing worth mentioning about thecampaign is diplomacy, a sore spot in almost every total war game, and unfortunately thesame applies to warhammer as well. allied

ai players will frequently decline your offersto go to war against a common enemy, only to then bring up a counter offer that requiresboth of you declaring war against a much more powerful enemy that lies somewhere far away.worst of all, they will decline payment from you in order to wage a joint battle againstorkish invaders, only to then instantly turn around and pay you to do the very same thing!its absolute madness! the one good thing i can say is that i’vehad far more success navigating the political landscapes in total war: warhammer than inprevious games, with my greatest success story being the fact that i’ve managed to actuallyconvince one of my ai neighbors to join armies with me and fend off a common foe. its momentslike these when a couple of thousand zombies

march in unison towards the enemy lines thatmake me glad i’m playing not just total war, but one set in such a unique world as warhammergiven that the end result is often breathtaking. the last, but not least are the technicalaspects. you’ll be glad to hear that unlike the launch version of rome 2 total war: warhammermanages to be mostly bug-free, and the ones that do occur rarely result in the ai committingseppuku. your millage may wary as total war games can be notorious for their issues, butthroughout my time with warhammer i can’t say i was ever so annoyed with bugs that iwould find reason to complain about them. the performance on the other hand might bean issue for a lot of people as total war: warhammer requires a hefty machine to runit on ultra, and despite me having a mid-high

ranged gaming pc i haven’t been able to evenhold a stable 30 fps during some of the bigger battles. in other words, if you don’t havea beastly machine don’t be surprised if you’re ‘forced’ to downgrade some settings in orderto keep a stable 60 fps when things get heated up.on the positive side, when you’re looking at all the fighting up close the fps tendsto be fairly stable, so if you don’t mind some dips while re-arranging your formationsyou will still be able to run warhammer with all settings maxed out and all of the unitslooking as pretty as they can be. i did exactly this, and even though i occasionally droppedto as low as 20 fps i still had no problems given that the drops mostly occur when allof the units are a small blurry spec on the

horizon, so do keep that option in mind ifyou ever find yourself in a similar situation. total war: warhammer is a crossover betweentwo franchises i’ve enjoyed for many years now, and i’m delighted to say that it managesto be faithful to both sides, but most importantly, an actually enjoyable experience on its own.it has some clear flaws, especially when it comes to the generic campaign ending, terriblediplomacy system, and occasional performance woes, but even with all of that consideredthis is the most fun i’ve had with a total war game.the factions are unique, the units exciting, and the battles often a spectacle to behold,so i do hope the problems get ironed out through future patches and dlcs as this is a gamei would love to keep coming back to for many

years to come!thank you guys for listening, and if you enjoyed this, or even if you didn’t please do letme know. and if you would like to see more you can either subscribe here, or check outthe website linked down below, that one tends to be updated a lot more frequently.with all of that said i hope you guys have a nice day and i will see you soon, see ya!

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