Whole Struggle: Pharaoh hands-on preview: Sandstorming to victory

Whole Struggle may need dived into the world of Warhammer in an enormous method in recent times however, at its coronary heart, that is nonetheless a sequence with real-life historical past at its coronary heart.

Artistic Meeting can have thrilled followers by saying that its subsequent Whole Struggle recreation is Pharaoh – set in Egypt in the course of the Bronze Age. We performed a number of large-scale battles to see the way it’s shaping up to this point.


Pharaoh Total War 3-1

Artistic Meeting

Whole Struggle: Pharaoh

First impressions

Pharaoh’s battles, from what we may play, are as enjoyable as ever, with various unit sorts and the large introduction of dynamic climate to mess together with your best-laid plans. We did not get to the touch its pivotal marketing campaign map, although, so it is early days.


  • Dynamic climate is ace
  • Detailed troops as at all times
  • Actually satisfying battle mechanics
  • Less complicated than latest outings

  • May solely pattern battles

Fading splendour

Booting up Pharaoh can have you shortly studying an entire lot extra a couple of interval of historical past you could have by no means heard of – the Bronze Age Collapse.

It noticed an entire heap of beautiful civilisations undergo from unrest and instability, prompted by division but additionally pure disasters and different components, with the Egyptian empire amongst that quantity.

Pharaoh Total War 4

Artistic Meeting

You may step in to fill the sneakers of a just lately lifeless Pharaoh within the hopes of not solely constructing your personal legacy but additionally defending your self from the approaching collapse, by means of diplomacy and – as at all times – brute drive.

Pharaoh can have three predominant factions: the Egyptians, Hittites and Canaanites, so its focus is quite a bit tighter than some latest outings from Artistic Meeting.

These factions have eight leaders between them, every accessible to grow to be your avatar as you wage a marketing campaign to overcome the native geography and citizenry, all with totally different traits and strengths.

It is a acquainted sufficient setup, and whereas we did not get to pattern (and even see) the marketing campaign map or out-of-battle sequences, the sturdy impression we’re getting is that this can be a little bit of a return to the roots that noticed Rome: Whole Struggle grow to be such a breakout hit years in the past.

Pharaoh Total War 1

Artistic Meeting

Our preview was restricted to a number of pitched battles to pattern, in order that’s all we are able to actually touch upon, however there are more likely to be loads of followers who’re utterly high quality with a brand new entry that strips issues again and easily fulfils an extended wishlisted historic setting with out an excessive amount of fluff.

A factor of magnificence

The period of Pharaohs has lengthy been a compelling one from a visible standpoint, with gleaming pyramids and beautiful structure capturing imaginations.

That is one thing that it might appear Artistic Meeting is leveraging in Pharaoh – with cities and oases that look as partaking and intriguing as its battlefields can get.

In fact, there’s much less dynamically loopy stuff happening than in Warhammer 3, since that is rooted in actuality, however we nonetheless get the sense that Pharaoh has sufficient element and design to make its locales stand out.

Pharaoh Total War 5-1

Artistic Meeting

Particularly, one of many comparatively few main new techniques being added appears more likely to have main ramifications on our ways – dynamic in-battle climate. Relatively than a set climate system for the length, battles will now have climate that may change abruptly.

This would possibly dry out a creek and create a brand new flanking path, or do the other and create a muddy mire to sluggish your troops. Baking solar will exhaust them, whereas raging thunderstorms will curtail ranged assaults and frighten your items.

These results look very good with sandstorms, particularly, blanketing the battlefield and making for a completely totally different ambiance, and actually making battles stand out.

Your troops are as detailed as ever, with battle animations that at all times appear to get minutely extra spectacular between Whole Struggle outings, and whereas commanders do not stand out as they do in additional bombastic entries, they nonetheless have some good character.

The Artwork of Struggle

Three battles, albeit a few them at a extremely spectacular scale, is not sufficient to get a super-clear sense of how Pharaoh will maintain as much as the very best of Whole Struggle when it releases.

That mentioned, it is greater than sufficient to verify that the indicators are superb – we slipped proper into our groove plotting formations and planning costs and counter-charges to take our opponents without warning.

There is a beautiful second firstly of most Whole Struggle battles the place you affirm your plans after which begin issues off, to find that the enemy is not laid out the way you presumed or hoped they might be, requiring a right away and complete rethink.

Pharaoh Total War 2

Artistic Meeting

That lovely compelled improvisation, the tactical rewriting that you must undergo a number of occasions per encounter, may be very a lot current and proper.

Whereas shedding out on the massive particular powers of Warhammer 3 feels prefer it may go away issues somewhat pedestrian by comparability, there’s additionally an actual purity of objective in having a extra real looking and pared-back set of choices earlier than you.

You are not teleporting anybody out of hassle or raining down any monumental spells to show the tide right here – should you’ve by chance steered your chariots right into a swamp it is your personal mistake and also you’d higher hope they’ll trundle out earlier than being decimated.

That leaves issues thrillingly easy, albeit with an enormous variety of tactical choices nonetheless open to you at anyone time, particularly as soon as your military balloons to incorporate dozens of items.

First impressions

Whereas we did not play by means of a very hefty slice of Pharaoh, what we did see was heartening – a pared-down and old-school reminder of what makes the sequence so compelling.

We have needed the sequence to go to historical Egypt because it first launched, and to get that want realised will hopefully be extraordinarily rewarding when the sport launches later this yr.