I remember going into my local town in my youth browsing the shops – mainly game stores – with my dad. It was a weekly tradition which took place on a Saturday, ‘Mismooch Saturday’ we called it. ‘Mismooch’ meaning a mission of a walk, or long walk for the better educated. However there is a point to this tale, a certain destination would always captivate, yet at the same time intimidate me.
Games Workshop is that destination, I would press against the glass gazing in amazement at the many wonders. Then a grizzly bearded man would approach me. No not in that way you naughty people. But to invite me to play the tabletop game, I would always decline. I loved the figures, the lore, hell I may even of loved the tabletop experience. I’m just too much of a social recluse to join in though. So thank god Games Workshop brought Warhammer into the world of games where I live rather comfortably.
Dawn of War was the quintessential title when I first started playing Warhammer games. Relic’s RTS (Real Time Strategy) impressed me deeply, especially after loving the original Warcraft games. Not to mention I spent a fair bit of time playing the legendary spin-off title Blood Bowl Chaos Edition, which even today holds up against the sequel. Recently though it seems Warhammer has stepped up its game, there’s a great plethora of titles that they’ve currently released. So first up:
Mordheim: City of the Dead
Mordheim looks pretty much like an X-Com strategy game without the tile based movement. For those who don’t know much about either, these games are simply turn-based experiences – think living breathing chess pieces only you have a lot more ways in which to express yourself on the board. Like slicing up giant rats. Mordheim allows you to move around the map more freely, the drawback being that your movement distance is limited. See a great vantage point in the distance, beware of your movement bar as you may get caught short. This title is certainly for the strategically minded, but some of its best features allow you to construct your own warband, pillage loot, customise each character and upgrade them how you see fit. Mordheim offers a great deal of depth that you may not see from just it’s trailers, the game also looks absolutely gorgeous. In a dark, glowing green sort of way. This title definitely deserves a look if you are a keen strategist.
Blood Bowl 2
Blood Bowl has a fond place in my heart. A sport in which giant reptiles will bite to kill, Dwarves will fire the ball from a tank and Minotaurs will charge around angrily. Everything about Blood Bowl is a gore fest stalemate, unless your team is fully upgraded and you have a few referee bribes up your sleeve. This is simply why the game is potentially the best sports-strategy game out there. It’s got Orks playing American ‘Football’ while killing opposition players and falling over their own feet because you can only run so far. Okay so maybe that last bit sounds a bit wonky for a game but that’s why it’s a strategy.
Blood Bowl 2 contains all of the first game’s madness but vamps up the graphical affair. It looks totally stunning, football grounds breathe life more so than a FIFA or PES game does. Sure, Blood Bowl 2 may not have all the tournaments or leagues the first game had, which were official, but I can forgive it because not only does it look better I think it’s more satisfying setting up a team, as well as the devs behind the game supplying free content on a regular basis. I think everyone should give this game a bash, it can have a steep learning curve but stick it out and you’ll feel rewarded, then find my team Bayern Murlocs and I’ll show you how to kill stuff!
Battlefleet: Gothic Armada
Have you ever wanted to partake in an epic Star Wars scale space battle. Look no further because this is your game. An RTS (Real-Time Strategy) at it’s core that incorporates the board game rules. I won’t pretend to know those rules but what I do know is that this game looks absolutely amazing. Ships from all the different factions i.e. Orks, Chaos, Eldar look great with little intricate details all on show, that you can customise to suit your own playstyle. Battlefleet really does suspend the belief of fighting in epicly scaled fights, that look so good in the Unreal Engine. I simply cannot stress how amazing the game looks, I love my space strategy games and this is probably the best looking of them all. It can be a little shallow at times, but with a decent campaign story and multiplayer skirmishes there’s a lot of game here to stem your strategic needs.
Warhammer End Times: Vermintide
This is probably the best game in this article for me because it’s completely different to the other releases. There’s not much strategy, unless you are playing with elitists who want a special rare item. But that right there is the game’s only issue for me, a fraction of it’s community can be a little sour. Vermintide graphically is outstanding, in fact it’s very similar to Morheim. Maybe the lore is similar but I won’t tread that ground in case I upset a lore master.
The gameplay is copied straight out of the Left 4 Dead handbook, only difference here is that your weapons are all primarily swords, axes and hammers with the occasional flintlock pistol or crossbow. These weapons are attained through a loot system that’s pretty in depth, you collect dice in game along with tomes and grimoires. The grimoires shorten your health making it tougher to survive the hordes of rats that flood your escape, but if you survive you have a higher chance to unlock rare loot similar to Diablo. Vermintide is not easy however as the game will throw random events your way, sometimes a mass horde of rats will converge on your location, other times a hulk like rat will run towards your smashing your team into pieces. Times like these really bring the emotion of desperation to the forefront and this ties into the ‘End Times’ theme of the game really well. If you love Left 4 Dead, looting, leveling up and getting 3 other mates to play games then this should be at the top of your list to play for sure. Also watch out for the console release as it is set to come out for both Xbox One and PS4 sometime this year.
Warhammer truly has fired into gear lately with these impressive titles, and by the looks of things it is only about to get better for fans of the Games Workshop experience. Over the course of this year and into 2017 we have a lot more Warhammer goodness to look forward to, let’s have a brief look at what is to come:
Space Hulk: Deathwing
Space Hulk places you in the boots of a Space Marine and looks to follow in the footsteps of Vermintide offering a Left 4 Dead style gameplay. It is well worth checking out the trailer because the game looks amazing graphically but also the gameplay looks devastatingly brutal. The launch trailer looks promising so here’s hoping to another great game like Vermintide.
We could basically call this Warhammer’s World of Warcraft, the game is offering an MMO experience in which you can team up with hopefully a vast community to quest, level, loot and stomp across the universe waging a never ending war. The game looks rather similar to the Space Marine game, a 3rd person camera is used and the graphics are actually surprisingly good for an MMO. The game is still in Early Access with the view to add the MMO experience later this year.
Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr
Inquisitor looks very promising indeed, as a fan of Diablo I can only hope that this game follows in its footsteps. Basically Inquisitor is an isometric ARPG from the developers of the Van Helsing series, the game has a main campaign which opens into a sandbox experience at the end of it. Sounds awfully a lot like Diablo 3 to me, and in no way would that be depressing. The game has since been delayed and is due 2017, I just hope they use the time wisely.
Dawn of War 3
YES! I cannot believe my eyes. It is actually happening, this is probably one of the biggest announcements this year for me. Dawn of War is set to return but with vast improvements over the second, you can still customise your band of marines along with a hero but now the scale of battle has increased. More units on screen to make the experience feel more like a war and the introduction of gigantic units such as the Imperial Knight, Wraithlords and Deff Dreads. Again a 2017 release but big news for Warhammer fans!
Total War: Warhammer
Well they could have made the name a little easier to pronounce but screw it I’m happy the crossover has finally happened. Total War will finally take a stab at a fantasy setting and what better than the lore of Warhammer. Griffins, Dragons, Ork boyz, Dwarves and Chaos legions all look so goddamn awesome in this grand strategy game. There’s some grumblings over the preorder stuff but I couldn’t careless, this game looks how I’ve always imagined it to be and I have already preordered my copy ready for war. I urge everyone to give this title a whirl as it’s going to be pretty special, or it’ll be bug ridden and I shall cry on launch day. Either way look out for my review nearer to the launch date – 24th May.
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