It all plays out to make the battles feel more dynamic and interesting than anything that's come before it, perhaps more interesting than most RTS games I've ever played. There are still the inherent problems of Total War past: it can be quite slow moving, and taking out a general is a solid way to demoralise your enemies. However, it’s largely mitigated here because your hero units are human tanks, and flying creatures can move speedily, giving you a faster way to react.
As a bonus, it's also much more replayable than previous entries in the series. This is mostly due to each of the factions playing differently: Dwarfs live underground, move slowly and hold their defensive lines with strong cannon fire and nigh-unbreakable troops. They'll do their best to settle grudges in their big book and generally have a metric ton of cash. On the flip-side, Vampires don't have any ranged units but do have access to powerful magic. The whole "we're undead" thing means they can take a fair beating too, in addition to coming back to life after a battle to reinforce those left behind.
All of the factions each have their own worries - The Empire wants to unite all humans under a single banner, the Greenskins want to crush and conquer everything before them. Each of the factions also has to react to the coming of the Chaos tide from the north. Chaos forces are rough, tough and all about fighting. Over time their presence will grow and grow, disrupting your plans and functioning as a bizarre "end boss" for the campaign in a lot of cases.
Total War: Warhammer is something genuinely very special. Somehow the team at Creative Assembly have managed to build a game that's the real deal both for the Total War faithful and the Warhammer fans coming to the franchise for the first time.
It's not the perfect strategy game, but it comes close in a lot of respects. Sometimes things can still feel a little obtuse. You can find yourself behind where you want to be without any real indication of what went wrong. Worse, you won't notice you're behind the curve until you run into a deathball of an army that completely blows you away. The AI still isn't sure how to deal with ranged units, and you can set up a firing range to pull them apart without much in the way of response.
It's fun to play, easy (ish) to pick up and you'll come away with a lot of fun stories to tell. There are a few technical hitches (you'll have noticed none of my screenshots are here, I can't seem to find anything to take screenshots in the game. Fraps, OBS and the Steam overlay all refuse to recognise the game) and it requires you to really commit to get the most out of it. That can be a little rough when a campaign game can take 40 hours of your time, but hey, take a gamble. It's one of the best strategy games I've played in a long time.