As a strategy series from decades ago, ranking the Total War franchise from worst to best is not an easy decision.
- Ranking the Total War Games From Worst To Best
- Total War games:
- Is Total War: Warhammer II worth playing in 2021?
- What is Total War: Warhammer II?
- Breaking into Total War: Warhammer II as a complete newbie
- Playing the long game
- Epic-scale battles
- Total War: Warhammer II
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Ranking the Total War Games From Worst To Best
Total War is a fairly venerable franchise, and with the recent launch of Total War: Rome Remastered and Warhammer 3 looming on the horizon, it’s the perfect time to look back and rank the Total War franchise from worst to best.
While I wouldn’t classify any of the Total War games as technically inferior or low-quality, like any series (such as the Marvel Cinematic Universe), some entries are better representatives of a high-quality series. At the heart of every game is a rock-solid gameplay loop and a convincing premise.
Here is our ranking list where we celebrate this one-of-a-kind offering for the strategy genre.
Our best picks from the pantheon of this iconic PC strategy series
Total War games:
Here are the best Total War games, in any order:
- Total War: Warhammer II
- Total War: Three Kingdoms
- Total War: Shogun 2
- Total War: Rome II
- Total War: Medieval 2
- Total War: Empire
- Total War Saga: Troy
Released in 2017, Total War: Warhammer II packed a ton of additional content, including the latest The Shadow & The Blade DLC. Is it worth trying out to be a total newcomer to the series?
Is Total War: Warhammer II worth playing in 2021?
source: Creative Assembly
Best answer: Even for a total newcomer to the Total War franchise: Warhammer II is absolutely worth playing, especially if you’re already a strategy game fan and want a few all-time favorites. And with the latest DLC The Shadow & The Blade, you can enjoy more content than ever before.
What is Total War: Warhammer II?
Total War: Warhammer II, released in 2017, is a continuation of 2016’s Total War: Warhammer, developed by Creative Assembly and Feral Interactive. The sequel has received countless positive reviews and award nominations, and is generally adored by long-time fans of the series. The best part? Still getting updates and DLC. If you’re a PC strategy game fan, you’ve probably at least heard of Total War: Warhammer II if it’s not already in your Steam library.
The Total War PC series of games has been around for almost two decades, creating many titles prior to the 2016 merge of Warhammer, which in turn began as a table wargame in 1983. With Total War: Warhammer II, you get a proven mix of turn-based strategy and epic real-time battles with Total War, all centered around the deep Warhammer fantasy tradition that fans know and love.
If you ask a longtime fan what they think about the game, they’ll tell you to sit back and feel comfortable as they want to talk about it. Just visiting the Steam store page is a bit overwhelming, especially with all the extra content. So what’s it like trying to jump into Total War: Warhammer II if you’re new to the series?
Breaking into Total War: Warhammer II as a complete newbie
source: Windows Center
Getting into a strategy game after a lot of DLCs have been released can be daunting. When I first sat down and installed the base game, I was worried that I would have no idea what was going on. And I do not. Fortunately, Lord Tyrion’s first campaign includes a thorough tutorial that allows you to quickly master troop controls, real-time battles, and all the city, army, and movement management that takes place in the turn-based part of the game.
Honestly, I had never played Total War or Warhammer before this experience, but I have played a lot of other strategy games. I was immediately reminded of the Civilization series, when I got to know the turn-based sections, with population and happiness control functions, I had to choose what to do with captured cities and settlements, diplomacy and the movement of the army around the board to cut off enemy movement and establish zones of control.
source: Windows Center
Real-time battles are reminiscent of Age of Empires II, my next favorite. Height plays a role – you need high terrain – and you want to make sure you’re using the right counterattacks against enemy troops. It is highly recommended to carry mobile units to hit the flank, and in Total War: Warhammer II you can actually hide units in the forests to attack the flank by surprise. As with another solid strategy game, Age of Mythology, standard spearmen, archers, and cavalry are joined by fantastic beasts with special abilities that can turn the tide of battle.
But unlike other strategy games I like, it’s all on a much more epic scale. Instead of serving individual soldiers, you manage units of many soldiers. Clicking and dragging on selected units allows you to select their position and orientation, allowing for a much deeper strategy. The battles are absolutely massive and the extensive camera controls including zooming and rotating let you see everything that is going on. It is sometimes hard to keep an eye on which units are retreating and which units are amassing, and also when I need to stop attacking the enemy and move elsewhere, but I expect knowledge will come with time.
The lord you play also has skill levels and a tech tree, giving the game extra RPG elements. As you become more famous, ensigns and followers will join your crusade. It’s fair to say there is incredible depth to this game, and I was just starting to scratch the surface as it smashed my way through Lord’s first campaign. But it’s not as hard to catch as I thought, and while I still have to master the military command in battle and the population management in my cities and settlements, I think I’m on the right track.
Playing the long game
So far, I’ve been focusing on learning how to play the base game, along with the four races: High Elves (which I started with to access the tutorials), Dark Elves, Lizardmen, and Skaven. The developers have created a substantial amount of free content since the game’s release, adding new leaders, factions, sub-factions, race units, and multiplayer maps. Yes, there’s a huge part of the multiplayer game I haven’t dared to jump into yet, although I suspect hitting the co-op campaign with a seasoned pro would be a great way to learn more about in-depth strategy.
A number of paid DLCs have also been released since 2017, including the latest The Shadow & The Blade, which also brings many changes to balance, cosmetics, and quality of life. All the additional content includes the new races – Tomb Kings and the Vampire Coast – as well as new leaders, lords, and units. When you jump into the game with no DLC, you’ll still have to deal with the original content; the purchase of the package allows you to use the units on your own. It’s a smart way not to split the player base and allows players to choose what content they want to unlock.
If you own the first game in the Total War: Warhammer series, the free Mortal Empires DLC lets you combine the two games into one massive campaign. Total War: Warhammer III, which has no release date yet, is expected to follow the same format, bringing the three games together for the best Warhammer experience.
Finally, a few years after its premiere, the game still looks great. It doesn’t have the most detailed graphics I’ve seen, but the huge scale surely compensates for any sharp edges. And the fact that it runs smoothly at 1440p is a welcome addition. If you’ve been looking for a new strategy game for PC and haven’t given your shot at Total War: Warhammer II yet, it’s definitely worth at least a try.
Total War: Warhammer II
Lots of depth for PC strategy fans
Total War: Warhammer II for PC is worth choosing for everyone who likes to develop strategies and wage wars on a mass scale.
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