Total War: Warhammer 2 Review – The Queen and the Crone
Fans of the Total War: Warhammer series, particularly part duex, have had to endure a long wait—the last big content drop (and it was BIG) was the excellent Tomb Kings DLC which featured the cantankerous cadavers in all of their faded glory. Since then, we strategy gamers have been biting our nails in anticipation of the next big whammy as far as updates go. So was it worth the wait?
It seems like Creative Assembly knew that TW: W junkies have been strung out too long and have anticipated this. So, they’ve dropped a whopper of a content drop that features a new free Legendary Lord, Alith Anar (AKA the Shadow King), a reintroduction of Norsca, lots of new units, and the Regiments of Renown from the first game. We’ve also received a really nifty new reinterpretation of Dwarven LL, Ungrim Ironfist, which introduces a new forging mechanic and also gives his mighty faction a new starting position.
But the big takeaway here is The Queen and the Crone, which gives TW: W2 not only its first official Lord Pack but also a great new storyline which pits the newest High Elf and Dark Elf contenders up against each other in a hyper-kinetic showdown.
The “Queen” in the title is none other than Alarielle the Everqueen, semi-mythical mother of the High Elves. What I mean is that she is the nurturing heart of Ulthwan and sort of a cross between the stoic High Elves and the hippy-dippy Wood Elves. In other words, although she is kind and spiritual, when pushed she can get out there and crack heads like the best of them.
Her counterpart, the “Crone” in this case, is the devious and black-hearted hag Helebron. Helebron is an ancient being who has staved off death’s embrace through lots and lots of murder and blood-letting (quite literally).
You see, every once in a while, Helebron likes to sally forth from her cursed city of Har Ganeth (aptly named the City of Executioners) and kick off friendly little festivals called Death Nights. These highly festive events serve two purposes. Firstly, they allow the true nature of the Dark Elves to come out as they release numerous gangs of slaves into the streets to be slaughtered.
But most importantly, Death Nights are the only way that Helebron can retain her youth as she bathes in the blood and gore of the butchered slaves and sops it all up like bread does gravy. In this way, she almost reminds me of a vampire.
The ultimate goal of this standoff is to gain access to the Shrine of the Widowmaker, which contains the ultra-powerful (but cursed) Sword of Khaine— a weapon that makes Stormbringer from Michael Moorcock’s Elric of Melniboné fiction series, look like a popsicle stick by way of comparison.
Alarielle has taken it upon herself to claim the shrine in order to defend it from evil-doers intent on snatching it up to use for their various nefarious purposes. Meanwhile, Helebron wants to invade the shrine, take it up in one hand, and take blood-letting to a whole new level.
The High Elves get some pretty potent units to their already powerful roster of assorted butt-kickers. Alarielle comes with crusty but capable Treekin, Treemen, and Dryads. Alith Anar can now utilize the ninja-like missile units called Shadow Walkers (everyone else can use Shadow Warriors), and there are also the Sisters of Avalorn, who can shoot fire and magic arrows and are also decent in a melee tussle as well. Combined with Alarielle’s massive buffing and healing spells these forces can become nigh unstoppable when used correctly.
Not to be outdone, the Dark Elves get their own medley of maniacal menaces. With new additions such as the Sisters of Slaughters, who are gladiatorial champions adept at flaying flesh from bone with their powerful whips, the Dark Elves feel much more complete as a murderous faction. My personal favorite are the Doomfire Warlocks, a gaggle of wizards who were cursed by Malakith and dwell in a sort of in-between world of life and death.
The Doomfire Warlocks sort of remind me of augmented Pistoleers from The Empire forces. They can dash around battlefields on their cursed steeds and hurl bolts of black lightning at foes. Since they are semi-ethereal Doomfire Warlocks also have a massive 40% physical resistance that gives them (unlike Pistoleers) great staying power.
Playing a recent campaign as the Dark Elves, I’ve developed a strategy of pinning frontline enemies in place using Witch Elves and Sisters of Slaughter, and then blasting away at their backsides with my fast-moving Doomfire Warlocks. Since gamers have been complaining about the Dark Elves being too weak compared to the other races there are now tons of new strategies you can devise with these new units. This makes the Dark Elves more than capable of holding their own against the other factions.
Total War: Warhammer 2 – The Queen and the Crone finally gets TW:W2 back on track. It introduces a great new narrative, powerful lords, lots of new units, and much more. If you are a Warhammer fan you owe it to yourself to pick up this reasonably priced DLC.
Total War: Warhammer 2 Review – The Queen and the Crone features outstanding graphics that make its fantasy strategy gameplay truly shine. However, you want to have a pretty beefy gaming PC or gaming laptop in order to play it at a decent framerate. So, you may just want to invest in a decent gaming rig:
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