Total War: Warhammer II "The Queen and the Crone" DLC Review
Although there's a steep learning curve and plenty of quirks to wrap your head around, Total War: Warhammer II is easily one of the best representations of this tabletop franchise in PC form, and among the best RTS titles out there.
Between the base game, the combined Mortal Empires mega-campaign, and the previous "Tomb Kings" DLC, Warhammer II is already a massive game, and it just got a whole lot bigger.
"The Queen and the Crone" expands the experience out even further with new Lords, extra units, revamped gameplay mechanics, and individualized quests for both High Elves and Dark Elves.
Shaking Up the Vortex Experience
New units and quests are all well and good, but the big draw here is how "The Queen and the Crone" offers potential changes to your play style. If you've already demolished every single playthrough with each of the other Legendary Lords, there's finally reason to boot the game back up again.
Adding another layer of strategy, the Widowmaker magic weapon is up for grabs for any faction now, and it can change the course of a game immediately with huge buffs. No matter what race or Lord you are playing, this hugely powerful sword must be dealt with in one way or another.
Each of the new Lords includes a unique mechanic to further alter the Vortex campaign so you have a reason to start over. Alith Anar (who is also available for free even if you don't grab the DLC), for instance, is all about stealth and ambushing.
For the Dark Elves, the Death Night mechanic added with Hellebron feels exactly like the sort of thing you'd expect from these debased worshipers of Chaos gods, abducting and murdering their own kin for big bonuses. If you let too long a time elapse between these murderous rampages, though, the bonuses melt away and become major hindrances instead.
Holding new Death Nights means giving up slaves, and you need those to keep your economy running, so it's a delicate balancing act. You need to keep conquering and grabbing new slaves to prevent everything from collapsing, so it's easy to overextend yourself.
Here's the thing, though: Hellebron is Hellabroken. It's not just a lame YouTube comment -- it's actually true. At this point, if you aren't using her and making a beeline for the Cursed Sword quest, you are just playing the game wrong.
She absolutely dominates with that particular weapon ability activated, and can even make up for a lack of skill or knowledge of the game's strategy. It remains to be seen if she will be nerfed down to a manageable level in a patch or will remain a powerhouse that has to be dealt with by crafty players.
A similar bonus/penalty mechanic is available for new High Elf Legendary Lord Alarielle, but is based instead on protecting her homeland and preventing High Elf territory from being conquered or invaded. You start out with enemies behind your lines with Alarielle the Radiant's campaign, making it more difficult in the early game to get ahead.
Besides those Legendary Lords, a host of unit types arrive to shake up the combat. Amazing archers like the Sisters of Avelorn, devastatingly powerful cavalry like the Firehorn, aerial harassers for the Dark Elves like the Feral Manticore and Raven Heralds, and many more are all up for grabs (check out the full list of new "Queen and Crone" units here.)
The Bottom Line
Hellebron's overpowered nature aside, there's a whole lot of challenge here for Total War: Warhammer II veterans, and a massive expansion on tactics and play styles for newbies to try out.
For $7.99, this is a lot of new content for Warhammer II, and well worth it if you love the base game but want some new options to try out for the Elves.
The additions don't stop there, though, as a bunch of new arrivals hit today beyond just this DLC, including the Norsca faction added to Mortal Empires. There's never been a better time to jump in on Total War: Warhammer II, so get to conquering your enemies and enacting that Vortex ritual already!