Total War: Warhammer – Call of the Beastmen
SEGA/The Creative Assembly
Total War: Warhammer breathed new life into the rather increasing stagnant Total War line of games. Instead of being based on historical events and time periods, it eschewed the rigidity of historical conventions and offered a fictional backdrop in the form of the Old Word within the Warhammer universe.
The gaming review press hailed it as refreshing and also praised it’s brilliant combination of presenting the Warhammer lore in a digital realm, as well as offering gamers a reason to get back into Total War games, if they had grown tired of them as of late. It was not without its fair share of detractors, however, as many questioned SEGA and The Creative Assembly’s business model. There has indeed been a recent backlash by many gamers who feel that not only was it questionable to charge money for the Chaos Warrior faction DLC (unless you had purchased the game within up to a week after launch), but also felt that many of the systems that made Total War, well—Total War—were missing or “streamlined,” which was code for dumbed down.
To their credit, The Creative Assembly has released a steady stream of bug fixes and additional free content in order to assuage the gaming masses. Out of the blue, they announced (just a couple of weeks ago) that their first proper DLC would be releasing soon and sure enough, it has arrived on schedule. But to what effect? I’ll leave it up to each person reading this to see how it is being received. In this article, however, I’ll cover the DLC itself, titled Total War: Warhammer – Call of the Beastmen, instead of all of the peripheral drama surrounding it.
Call of the Beastmen unleashes the full fury of the Beastmen faction into the Total War: Warhammer mix, bringing the total selection of playable races up to six. This comes as no surprise, since the tabletop version of miniature Beastmen have come a long way since their inception. Originally upstart beasts and monsters which were merely an ancillary contingent to the more mainstream Chaos Warriors faction, in more recent times the Beastmen have seen an up swell in popularity. This prompted Game’s Workshop to allot the furry fornicators more and more shelf space in their stores, along with more coverage in their Warhammer literature, guidebooks, and miniatures.
When I’d first heard about the Beastmen DLC I conjectured that they’d be placed somewhere within the forests near the Empire, and low and behold, that’s just where they popped up on the campaign map. Well, perhaps plopped down is more accurate given the faction’s more covert appeal. You see, the Beastmen are much stealthier than any other Warhammer races, that is until the Wood Elves are rumored to arrive (hurry up!). They are experts in subterfuge and remaining hidden until they strike, in fact their default movement setting is even set to Ambush.
Many have remarked that the Beastmen are more or less a combination of the Greenskins and Chaos Warriors factions, but this is not entirely correct. Whereas they do share some similarities with these other two, they have unique enough traits to make them separate, at least in my opinion. For instance, although the Beastmen armies have what’s called a Beastial Rage meter, which resembles the Waaagh! gauge of the Greenskins, the former do not fall into internal fisticuffs if there isn’t enough action going on. Also, just as the Greenskins can freely move about through underground caverns, Beastmen armies are able to scamper (and gallop) through the Old World’s forests with relative ease. This opens up new options for hit-and-run tactics, since thick forests, like the mountains, cover a considerable amount of the main overland map.
Similarly, although the Beastmen are a race of nomads, a roaming faction without set structures just as the Chaos Warriors are, the way that their stances are implemented make them much more suited to an aggressive play style. They do, however, spread Chaos wherever they happen to show up, inciting riots and other unfortunate events.
The Beastmen can be played in a mini-campaign called An Eye for and Eye, where it pits them up against their Empire rivals, or they may be utilized within the Grand Campaign itself. When fielded against other factions, the Beastmen have access to an ability called Vanguard Deployment, which means that you can carefully secrete certain units within the forested areas of a battlefield. I found this tactic especially useful against armies with strong frontline troops such as those employed by the Dwarves and the later-stage Greenskins.
Typically, I’d send in mobs of Gors to tie them up as a distraction, and subsequently ambush their rearmost, most vulnerable forces, such as artillery and archer groupings, with whatever units I had concealed in the forests. More often than not, I’d take them out. The Beastmen really stack up against the other races quite well if utilized to play to their strengths (guerrilla-style tactics) and avoid their weaknesses (hitting stronger foes head-on).
Graphically, the Beastmen faction certainly looks the part, and I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of watching a phalanx of husky Minotaurs or a mighty Centigor smashing through enemy lines. The animations look amazing, as do the unit models themselves. The sound department also nailed it, and while listening to the savage growls and howls of your various beastly brutes, you get a real sense that these are indeed some very violent and unbridled creatures.
Total War: Warhammer – Call of the Beastmen is a fully-fledged DLC that offers a sixth faction to the already very diverse cast, and is a great addition to the most impressive Total War game to date. They have some similarities to certain faction mechanics already at play, but are different enough to not be a combination of other race’s re-skins. For those who are already enjoying their Total War: Warhammer experience, purchasing this DLC is a no-brainer, although gamers on tighter budgets may elect to wait until it goes on sale instead of paying the $18.99 that it retails for.
Total War: Warhammer – Call of the Beastmen has some outstanding graphics that suit the theme of the Warhammer universe. However, they may require you to have a pretty beefy gaming PC in order to play it. So, you may just want to invest in a decent gaming PC:
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