It’s hard to be too cynical about the climactic battles that conclude many of Total War: Warhammer II’s campaigns. If a line of rotten shipwreck-automata blasting arm-cannons at spiky Dark Elves while a giant fish swims around your underwater battlefield doesn’t make you smile, then you’re as heartless as they are.
But these battles are also a mechanical fudge. 20 units with fixed health and vigour have a natural lifespan, and while the healing superpowers you often get to wield go some way to extending it, they’re an inelegant, partial solution. Playing one of Total War: Warhammer III’s new survival battles has made this clear to me. Pitched by CA as the game’s ‘boss fights’, survival battles crib from tower defence games to create 40-minute spectacles that, on this evidence at least, fully deliver on what the devs intend.
I play as Tzarina Katarin of Kislev as she leads an expedition into the Realm of Chaos. Specifically, she’s crashing Khorne’s balmy summer retreat, the Brass Citadel. I need to take and hold three capture points to progress through the map to a final showdown, where an Exalted Bloodthirster (the biggest, angriest of Khorne’s daemons) awaits.
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