GAME REVIEW: WARHAMMER 40,0000: ARMAGEDDON / DEVELOPER: FLASHBACK GAMES, THE LORDZ GAMES STUDIO / PUBLISHER: SLITHERINE LTD. / PLATFORM: PC, iOS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Created for a niche audience and crafted with the desire to appeal to only a few key members, whether or not you get this game hinges upon one question:
Are you a fan of Warhammer 40,000?
While this might seem like a query commonplace in any franchise’s foray into video games, it’s doubly important here. Without an already existing attachment to the grim darkness of the far future, what players will find is merely a reskinned Panzer Corps with a few gimmick units.
Set towards the end of M41, the game follows the Third War for Armadeddon and the raging conflict to control the vital factory planet. Led by Ghazghull Mag Uruk Thraka, the endless green tide of orks engage unified Imperial forces attempting to drive the Waaagh! back in the Emperor’s name. It’s a key plot point in the universe and one of the setting’s biggest campaigns, but the game itself does little to really reinforce this point. As with many things, prior attachment to the lore is desperately needed to fully grasp the weight of what’s at stake. This said, what it does offer is the stuff of every lore nerd’s dreams.
Even in the successful Dawn of War franchise, all too often the scale of the setting and the diversity of its forces is overlooked. A Leman Russ battle tank is just a Leman Russ, the same with many units, but the developers here delved deep into the lore. Dozens of different vehicle types, variations and designs have been drawn from the main game and Forge World allowing players access to every STC creation possible. Baneblades, Gargants, Squiggoths, looted vehicles and the like are all present in force, and for the first time the sheer variety is evident in a video game adaptation.
The mechanics backing this attention to detail take full advantage of the variety on offer, with the sheer variety of units allowing for far more dynamic and varied tactics. The problem is that the interface lacks much of the real punch of seeing a battle tank butcher a horde of foes, and while solid it fails to offer anything we’ve not seen many times before. Ork horde tactics, space marine deep strikes, many core ideas do not make an appearance, and far too often it fails to emphasise the true nature of the setting.
At the end of the day it’s certainly not Total War(hammer), but it’s the spiritual successor to Final Liberation many wanted. It’s certainly competently made on a mechanical level but it fails to really excel in any area. Give it a look if you’re a fan, otherwise stick with more lauded hex-based strategy titles.
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