Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus
Bulwark Studios/Kasedo Games
In recent years, Games Workshop has eased up its stranglehold on its franchises. This has been sometimes good, but usually not very good at all. Various third party entities within the video gaming sphere have flocked to the Warhammer bandwagon like starving seagulls falling upon beached whale carcasses.
Amid all of the flapping and what not, there have emerged a few gems, mainly within Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40,000 cash cow. The first of these was Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War (by Relic when they were still good), which still remains (in my humble opinion, at least) the greatest real-time strategy game to have ever existed.
More recent entries, such as the brilliant turn-based strategy extravaganza, Warhammer 40,000: Gladius – Relics of War (Proxy Studios), have elbowed their way to the top of the feeding frenzy, while and Battlefield Gothic: Armada 2 is shaping up to look like a real contender as well.
Unfortunately, for the gaming masses, most Warhammer 40,000 games have been complete flops. This has resulted in two things. Firstly, gamers are thinking two and three times now before spending their hard-earned cash on anything to do with the franchise. And secondly, gaming developers are beginning to realize that it’s not enough anymore just to be able to slap the Warhammer 40,000 brand on their digital products, and think that everything’s all good.
Fortunately, the latter has resulted in more and more developers actually realizing that they have to make good games based on the franchise. And thus, we have Bulwark Studios’ recent release of Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus.
Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus has been compared to the X-Com series repeatedly, and for good reason; both are top-down, turn-based strategy affairs. However, Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus turns the rather cliché UFO trappings of X-Com in for the whacky, goth-cyberpunk science-fantasy sect known as the Adeptus Mechanicus. Part of the vast Imperium of Man, the Adeptus Mechanicus are hybrid man-machines that head up the empire’s high technology echelon.
The game is focused around the player controlling a motley crew of Tech-Priests and their various assault trooper underlings. The plot involves your ship being lured in by some sort of ancient distress signal which originated on the planet Silva Tenebris.
Magos Dominus Faustinius, commander of your vessel, the Caestus Metalican, decides to investigate the signal and sets course for the long-forgotten colony in the hope that whatever knowledge his crew will manage to salvage will help the Imperium contend with several existential threats.
Soon after landing on the planet, which is ostensibly a vast barren wasteland, you discover that the place isn’t as uninhabited as first assumed. Let’s just say that before you know it, an ancient evil gets unleashed and you’ll have to deal while an entire army of Necrons which have awoken from their lengthy slumbers. Oh, and they’re not happy—but when are Necrons ever really happy?
The best way to describe Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus’ gameplay is that it’s a part team-based dungeon-crawler with RPG elements, and part an isometric-tactical combat game. For each objective that you accomplish, you’ll get closer to the overall end goal of the game, which I’m not going to spoil for you.
Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus reminds me of a futuristic dungeon-crawler, because the main stars of your away party are the exalted Tech-Priests, who are basically the powerful Mages of your squad. They can be further augmented by a whole slew of powerful weapons (similar to spells) as they gain experience and level up.
The main bulk of the other members that comprise your party will be numerous Skitari Rangers, which function mainly as shock troops-like cannon fodder, at least in the early goings. As these troopers gain experience, however, they become much more effective against their Necron foes.
If there was one complaint that I had about Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus, it would be that once your Adeptus Mechanicus squad gets to a certain point, as far as equipment and firepower goes, they can pretty much steamroll through the rest of the game. There doesn’t seem to be much in terms of scaling difficulty. The game also doesn’t have different selectable difficulty settings for you to choose from. But reading through the developer’s recent notes indicates that they’re already planning to address this issue.
Overall, Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus is a solid entry into the oft-squandered Warhammer 40,000 franchise. It’s combination of excellent writing and voice-acting, great graphics, and flat-out fun gameplay makes this a must-have for fans of Warhammer 40,000 as well as strategy gamers in general.
Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus features great graphics that make its turn-based strategy gameplay truly shine. However, you want to have a pretty beefy gaming PC or gaming laptop in order to play it at a decent framerate. So, you may just want to invest in a decent gaming rig:
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