I recently had the chance to give both Daemons of Chaos (Chaos Undivided), which I’ll focus on here, and Grand Cathay (impressions here) a try for 50 turns a piece in Total War: Warhammer III (I recommend you check out my general impressions here for an overview of all the big new things in the game). Daemons of Chaos may be the most unique addition to the series yet, as you’ll have access to all units from four different factions and there are some light RPG mechanics on top of all that.
Daemons of Chaos is the surprise last faction announced for the launch of the game, and it may very well be the most interesting. You take on the role of a Daemon Prince of your making, so not some named character from Warhammer lore, as you build up power and influence in the realms of chaos.
Prince may be in your name, but you’ve got nothing on the Chaos Gods - really, you're just begging for their approval. You have to do everything you can to increase your standing with them. As you play, you collect Daemonic Glory from battles and elsewhere. There are five pools, one for each of the four Chaos Gods and one for Chaos Undivided. For example, you choose which pool you want to tribute a settlement to (and gain glory towards) when you capture them. Daemonic Glory is a replacement for skill trees for your lord and for research, so the more you collect, the more you unlock.
The most interesting of those unlocks come in the form of new body parts you can swap in and out as you wish on your Daemon Prince. These come with all sorts of different attributes and abilities, while also changing the look as well. This includes weapons, though maybe you just want two blades for arms/hands, which you can absolutely do.
Since the unlocks get better the more Daemonic Glory you unlock, there is a satisfying sense of progression as you play. You can see all the upgrades along a given path, so you can plan ahead for certain builds and there's always something to look forward to.
That customizability expands to the make up of your army, too. With Warhammer III, Creative Assembly fleshed out four workable armies for the Chaos Gods, one for each. With Daemons of Chaos, you get access to the entire pool of units for recruitment from all four.
Since I obviously had no experience with any of those armies, getting thrown in with a Daemon Prince and a massive pool of units to mess around with was overwhelming. Each of the four caters to a certain playstyle, which I honestly didn’t have enough time to engage with fully.
You don’t have to use all of the units either, and you can definitely decide to just specialize in one or two factions and just go full in on those. What this means while playing the game or if you find yourself playing against someone using Daemons of Chaos is unpredictability. There’s no way to know what kind of units an enemy will have, with only slight clues from the appearance of their Daemon Prince, as the gear you gain for any one Chaos God definitely has their unique flair to it.
Having the Daemon Prince at your disposal with so many options is the ultimate power fantasy in Warhammer III. As a lord, its individual unit is extremely powerful and with so much versatility at your fingertips, there’s a ton of latitude to adjust your army makeup to meet most challenges.
You also have access to the various lords of the four Chaos God factions as well, which means you can have several armies all suited for different tasks. The sheer amount of choice to do just about whatever you want is going to appeal to a lot of people. This also means Daemons of Chaos may not be the best for beginners, for just the sheer variety and how different it is from any other faction.
Due to time constraints, I didn’t get as much time to tinker with Daemons of Chaos as I would have liked. It was immediately apparent, however, that this faction will reward those with deep knowledge and understanding of the game. On top of just what the many units can do at your disposal, knowing how and when to use/synergize them makes for a crazy amount of potential.
Since you are the one really crafting the story of your character, the campaign objectives take on a different light as well. It's all about spreading your influence and corruption, making Daemons of Chaos cater greatly to a domination style of gameplay. So if you want to keep expanding and destroying enemies nearby (or far away with the rifts), this will have you covered. Collecting the Daemon Prince souls from the various realms of chaos as part of the campaign map just powers you up as well.
While the goal is relatively simple, how you get there is entirely up to you. No other faction in Total War: Warhammer III gives nearly as much freedom as Daemons of Chaos in a campaign map full of more choices and mobility than any before it.
It’s a great faction to add to the game that is extremely unique. Who doesn’t love the idea of making some huge demon to just demolish people on your way to power? The more you engage with what’s on offer, the more you’ll get out of it. For the endlessly hungry Total War fans out there, I think Daemons of Chaos will be a favorite among the series vets.
Total War: Warhammer III releases February 17th on PC. It will be available on PC Game Pass day one as well.
TechRaptor's Total War: Warhammer III preview was conducted on PC through Steam at an online press event.