Warhammer Total War is one of those perfect marriages. It combines Games Workshops megalomaniac fantasy world of Warhammer with Creative Assemblies sublime engine for recreating large scale historical set battles. It is a marriage fated to be and one that is looking to last. Whilst some sacrifices have been made to the overall Total War formula in terms of complexity it more than makes up for it with sheer variety and spectacle.
The premise of Total War is to combine a turn based strategy game with a real time battle simulator. On the campaign map you manage your settlements, their taxes, buildings , and army production and movement. While on the battlefield you individually control your armies units as they clash with your enemies . Both of these are serviceable games in of themselves and can be played independently. Custom games allow you to set up battles either against the AI or online with the games seven factions while you can automatically resolve battles on the campaign map. The real magic happens when they are merged together, your armies on a beautifully detailed map of Warhammer Old World setting clash with your enemies on the campaign map, the camera zooms in and you find yourself on an expansive battlefield. Each individual soldier is gorgeously detailed and animated from giants who pick up individual soldiers and eat them to crazed dwarf warriors who angrily leap up at their enemies with duel axes.
I recently found myself watching the reboot of the Star Wars franchise which I did enjoy but in the way that you know your brain is tricking you into believing.
Marketing towards nostalgia is just another form of marketing towards pain, suffering and insecurity. It’s a way of saying ‘Remember that feeling you used to get called happy during older, better times?’ ‘For fifteen quid you can enjoy it again for a couple of hours until you stumble out of the theater in a hazy glow only for sad, crippling reality to hit you in the face.’ Nostalgia does literally come from the combination of the ancient Greek words ‘nóstos‘ meaning homecoming and ‘álgos’ meaning a literal pain or ache something that those in advertising are acutely aware of as they try to peddle you there wares.
In 1991 Loren Carpenter wanted to see what would happen if no hierarchy existed within a group of people. He conducted an experiment in which he projected the simple game pong onto a large screen into front of an audience split into two groups. Each audience member was given an electronic paddle with a green side and a red side and holding them either way moved the pong bat up and down. Collectively, without having been told anything, the audience successfully completed the game. Loren discovered that people formed an order out of a subconscious consensus.