Despite its staunch, dependable fanbase, there’s no denying that Warhammer Fantasy was always in the shadow of its science fiction counterpart. With stronger book and miniature sales alike, the success of the Horus Heresy series alongside the death of the Old World, has only further cemented that fact. Unfortunately, despite trading in its doomswords for plasma guns and bolters, this Horus Heresy version isn’t the game most fans were hoping for.
While Talisman might be a cult classic among board gaming groups, its systems were extremely flawed. The heavily luck based RNG, perpetual snowballing of power and a few ridiculous ideas have always stuck in the heads of fans, and were core criticisms of its video game adaptation. None of those issues have been dealt with here, and remain as strong as ever, and a few new ideas serve only to exacerbate its core flaws. Chief among these is the option to ally players, grouping them together into bands of loyalists or traitors, as they fight for control. This would, in theory, allow for more of a balanced approach or perhaps even new mechanics to combine abilities, but instead it merely means if one player succeeds, as does the other.
You see, Talisman itself isn’t some new, revamped or reworked idea to take full advantage of its futuristic surroundings. Instead it’s merely the old game with a fresh coat of paint and a few space marines thrown into the mix. While that might sound appealing to certain fans, and there is no denying that the tantalising visuals create a fantastic atmosphere, the overall experience is remarkably shallow. No advantage was truly taken to play upon the storyline of the series, to work the fates of the various primarchs into the game, and the roster is alarmingly limited. Representatives of whole legions are missing, and some are even limited to mere faceless fodder, with generic Praetors put in place of the likes of Typhon or Corswain.
Even the more polished interface is not wholly improved from prior experiences, and remains marred by a problematic, not to mention convoluted, user interface. As a result, while the random, if somewhat junky fun is still present in the game, most players will likely be disappointed with a very limited and problematic adaptation of this game. Unless you’re the single most devoted Talisman fan on the planet, this one ultimately has very little it can offer you.
TALISMAN: THE HORUS HERESY / DEVELOPER & PUBLISHER: NOMAD GAMES / PLATFORM: PC, OS X, LINUX / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW