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Total War: Warhammer II The Prophet & The Warlock Review – Wizards & Weirdos

Gaming article by William Worrall on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 - 11:00
Review
Publisher
Sega
Release Date
September 28, 2017
Platforms
PC
Purchase (Some links may be affiliated)
Amazon Steam

Total War is one of the most successful and insanely playable RTS franchises out there. The series has covered everything from real historical settings to fantasy war games. Total War: Warhammer II is the second in a series based on the famous Warhammer Fantasy setting. The latest DLC, The Prophet & The Warlock is a lord pack which adds two new legendary lords to play through the campaign with.

 

The new lords added in The Prophet & The Warlock are a Lizardman and a Skaven respectively. For the uninitiated, Skaven are giant rat men and Lizardmen are... well they're lizard men. Each lord has their own ability tree and their own faction with their own special army abilities.

Starting out with the Skaven lord gives you access to Clan Skryre. This group of rat-men are best known for their technological advancements. To reflect that you start out with a force which has some impressive mechanical units at its disposal. You start out with a doom-flayer, basically a smaller, faster version of the Skaven's signature doom-wheel. These vehicle units are fast, agile and aggressive, perfect for supporting weaker units. This presents a pretty big advantage earlier on, which you'll need. You don't start out with much of an advantage physically.

 

The Prophet & The Warlock - Skaven
Even at this stage you can pretty much sit back and farm warpstone to win in the Skaven campaign.

As you might expect giant rats aren't necessarily the toughest of fighters. With the Skaven, you start out facing down vampires who are much stronger. Since they have the advantage in terms of physical force your first fight to secure the region is pretty nasty. Any dreams of clicking auto-resolve and letting the computer take care of it for you can go right out of the window. Luckily since the doom-flayer can be used to great effect to punch through enemy lines it's actually not too hard to come away with a win, albeit a pyrrhic win.

 

The Prophet & The Warlock also gives the Skaven another devastating advantage to bust out on the field in the form of a Doomrocket. The special ability only works for the new Clan Skryre Skaven faction and can certainly help in tough situations. It's basically a fantasy nuke which can take out a chunk of enemies if used right. They are pretty sparse though so you have to make sure you're using them wisely.

The most important mechanic of the new Skaven faction is the forbidden workshop. To reflect Skryre's technical machinations you have access to a workshop which can be used to upgrade certain units. This comes in the form of better stats, but can also unlock abilities to use in battle. The workshop is also the only place you can make more Doomrockets so it's pretty useful.

Overall the Skryre campaign has a tough start. However, once you get a foothold the extra tech advancements make it easier. Since your main goal in the campaign for Skryre is to gain warpstone tokens all you have to do it grab hold of a chunk of the map then build warpstone production facilities. As long as you can keep other armies from destroying your cities you're pretty much home free. It is at least more challenging and interesting than most other Skaven factions in the game thus far.

The Prophet & The Warlock - Skaven Forbidden Workshop
The upgrades make your new units even more useful than they were.

 

On the other side of the coin the Cult of Sotek, the Lizardmen faction, have an even tougher time starting than the Skaven. They also have new unit types, this time starting you out with red-crested skinks. This unit is basically a super fast, super strong military unit which works best with hit-and-run tactics. You can send them in to swiftly break up your enemy line then run them back to rally. It's quite useful to be able to soften up big units for your regular troops to take out.

The starting fight isn't actually that much harder than the Skaven's was, but what comes after can be one hell of a challenge. Gaining control over the provinces is in many ways more important for the Cult of Sotek because one of their unique bonuses comes from controlling more territory. However, the area you start out in is filled with some pretty aggressive AI opponents. It's easy to get attacked out of nowhere and overwhelmed before you get a foothold.

In fairness to The Prophet & The Warlock, it does label the Cult of Sotek as a 'very hard' faction to start out with. It's supposed to be a challenging start and it certainly provides that. You can get an advantage by playing carefully and collecting sacrifices. Sacrificing is the Cult of Sotek's special campaign mechanic. It lets you unlock new units and temporary bonuses by sacrificing captured enemies.

In reality, the sacrifices are just another commodity you find in battle or on the campaign map. It's useful enough since it's the only way to access your army ability, but it's nothing special. The ability basically manifests your god onto the battlefield to devastate your opponents.  It's useful for sure but it takes a long time before you actually get access to it.

 

The Prophet & The Warlock Lizardmen War
If the mini-map doesn't make it obvious, this fight did not end well.

In the meantime, you do have access to a greater variety of unique unit types, but that doesn't really make it that much easier. You still have to pay upkeep on your army and try to hold onto a tenuous foothold you have on the land. Getting to the point where you can rely on your god to lead you to victory is a tougher prospect that you might hope for. At least the factions goal is pretty simple. You basically have to locate these ancient tablets which you can use to perform special rituals. You need to complete all of these rituals to come out with a win.

Overall the Cult of Sotek campaign is much, much more challenging than the other campaign in The Prophet & The Warlock. While it's certainly not impossible by any stretch of the imagination it's better suited to someone who wants to squeeze every last drop of challenge out of the game.

All together the DLC is a really decent package and a nice addition to Total War: Warhammer II. For a decent value, you get two new legendary lords, each with their own faction. Each faction provides new mechanics which actually feel different from the mechanics that are already in the game. On top of that, the factions provide the extra bit of challenge more advanced players might be looking for. If you've run out of content for the main game and want to nuke fantasy races then look no further.

Techraptor reviewed Total War: Warhammer II - The Prophet & The Warlock on PC via Steam with a copy provided by the publisher

Review Summary

7.5

The Prophet & The Warlock adds some great new content to the base game. It's especially perfect for those looking for a challenge.

Pros

  • Forbidden Workshop Is Great Addition
  • Hours Of Gameplay For Good Price
  • New Army Abilities Are Epic

Cons

  • Lizardmen Campaign Is Tough
  • Sacrificing Mechanic Feels Uninspired

About the Author

Will wearing an Odd Future shirt.

William Worrall

Staff Writer

I'm Will and I'm a UK-based writer who went to film school before realizing writing was more fun than film-making. I've written for a number of gaming sites over the past few years of my writing career, including Cliqist, Gaming Respawn, and TechRaptor. I also produce videos for my own channel (Mupple) as well as Cliqists popular YouTube channel. I've covered industry events such as EGX and am hoping to break into narrative game writing in the future.