Total War: Warhammer III – Forge of the Chaos Dwarfs DLC review
When it comes to robust and operatic fantasy, the Warhammer franchise is pretty much without peer. The amount of content is overwhelming. The number of ways to experience all that content is equally diverse. Aside from the tabletop games that started it all, there is an entire cottage industry of licensed video games. Released a little over a year ago, Total War: Warhammer III is one of the best and most engrossing of all the Warhammer-related games. Forge of the Chaos Dwarfs is the latest installment in what will probably be several years’ worth of DLC.
Come to the Dark Side
To boil all the Warhammer races, drama, conflicts, and lore to a matter of good vs evil would be ridiculously simplistic. Attempting to summarize the universe and all its offshoots and narratives is equally daunting. Suffice it to say, there are dozens of races and heroes. Some have been corrupted by Chaos and are a force of evil. Many — if not most — of them are consciously based on familiar fantasy/Tolkien-inspired tropes. There are orcs, elves, dwarves, humans, and all manner of disgusting races and supernatural foes.
Players of the tabletop games almost always develop their favorite factions. For example, I’m partial to the Skaven and the Daemons of Chaos. Since they don’t have to invest money and many hours painting an army, video gamers can sample a much wider range of races and armies. Forge of the Chaos Dwarfs adds the 24th playable faction to Total War: Warhammer III.
The Chaos Dwarfs are a merciless race of killers and torturers. After straying far from their kin, the Dwarfs to the east were cut off from the western lands during the Great Catastrophe (the emergence of Chaos into the Known World). The Chaos Dwarfs specialize in the machinery of war, churning out evil artillery and other weapons of destruction from vast, subterranean factories. If there’s a downside to the faction, it might be that the Chaos Dwarfs create war machines in the Hell Forge but have fewer ground troops at their disposal.
All of the Total War games are a combination of grand strategy and real-time battles. Throughout dozens of Total War titles — including the three Warhammer games — this part of the experience continues to evolve and become more complex. While many fans head straight to the skirmishes versus AI or other players, Total War: Warhammer III includes two substantial campaigns. All of the elements of grand strategy are in place. Base-building, diplomacy, economy, territorial disputes, and a compelling narrative drive gameplay.
The Forge of the Chaos Dwarfs DLC opens up a new area on the map. It’s a desolate and harsh land with vast underground areas. The capital is Zharr-Naggrund and contains the imposing Tower of Zharr. The Tower is not just a visual symbol but the home of power plays and political strife.
Playing the Chaos Dwarfs in the campaign puts a lot of focus on resource gathering. Those massive war machines need raw materials. Much time will be spent making or acquiring a labor force as well. Money flows in from selling armaments, winning battles, and building outposts.
In the Details
Aside from adding the Chaos Dwarfs faction and heroes, a free update patch is coming to the game that includes several quality-of-life enhancements. Total War: Warhammer III can be intimidating, and things like searchable locations and map resources or a visual chart of how the tech tree impacts units are welcome.
Both the strategic map and real-time battle look fantastic. Unit animations for the Chaos Dwarfs are perfect. Like nearly every unit in the game, those animations bring familiar characters to life much as we imagined them. Warhammer III continues to have some of the best, most operatic, and memorable writing and music of any game in the Total War series.
Obviously, no fan needs every faction and race. But if you love Total War: Warhammer III and the Chaos side of things, Forge of the Chaos Dwarfs is an excellent addition to the game. The Chaos Dwarfs bring a unique style of play and offer an engaging new way to experience the campaigns. The Chaos Dwarfs are also a ton of fun in skirmishes. It’s on the pricey side compared to prior DLC, but absolutely worth it for fans of the game.
***PC code provided by the publisher for review***
- Fantastic new race
- Lots of quality of life improvements
- Fun unit animations and audio
- Complex mechanics
- A little expensive for DLC