Warhammer 40,000: Gladius – Chaos Space Marines DLC
Warhammer 40,000: Gladius originally debuted almost a year (to the day ago) and delighted many a strategy fan. Its emphasis on resource management, strategy and combat tactics, and a de-emphasis on fussy diplomacy and trade (I can always go play Europa Universalis IV for those), made it much more easy to manage than most of its competitors. It also meant that the mid-to-late game didn’t bog down into unwieldy micromanagement slog. To top things off, WH40K: Gladius is a game that just oozes with the rich universe’s lore.
Can we say: Instant classic?
Yes, I know that there was the inevitable harping by some WH40K enthusiasts that felt that the four base factions were missing a couple of units here and there. But that’s understandable, given that Slitherine isn’t exactly a big, triple-A studio. This is a case were an indie studio has crafted a game that might not have all of the bells and whistles that a gigantic, soulless company can provide, but you can tell that they put a superior amount of love and passion into their little gem.
Slitherine’s new Chaos Space Marines DLC for WH40K: Gladius is a very welcome addition to the base game. While I loved playing the vanilla game with its four factions, there was only so many times that I could have fun pitting the Astra Militarum (Imperial Guard), Orks, Necrons, and Space Marines against one another. The Tyranids DLC back in January of 2019 was a great way to stir things up and the new Chaos Space Marines faction further changes the game, in meaningful (and fun) ways.
Whereas the Space Marines of the Imperium of Man are nine-foot-tall, genetically-engineered badasses wearing power armor, the Chaos Space Marines are their evil counterparts who have been corrupted by the Chaos Gods. Slitherine designed this new faction in a way that isn’t just a cut-and-paste of their regal cousins, instead, they’re very unique in how their units look and feel, as well as how they play in an overall sense. I’m so glad to see this last point since many game developers will sometimes design these two arch-enemy factions in a way in which they’re basically just cookie-cutter copies of each other.
To start with, there’s a really interesting mechanic where you can sacrifice your own population to please the Dark Gods and obtain their benevolence in the form of boons to be bestowed upon you. You can benefit from the Dark Gods’ generosity by upgrading your units with the powerful Marks of Chaos. But it’s a risk—if you’re looked at with favor, your units can become Daemon Princes; if not, they’re transformed into mindless monoliths of blubber and razor-sharp claws known as Chaos Spawns.
Just as I had with the Tyranids, I played my first few games against the Chaos Space Marines without wanting to know what their unit composition was all about. In that way, I could discover what it was on my own. Choosing my ever-intrepid Imperial Guard faction, I found out the hard way that maybe that wasn’t such a good idea. Running into the Chaos Space Marine’s lowliest units early in a game—mere Chaos Cultists—can be a real humdinger.
If my lowly Imperial Guardsmen survived the initial onslaughts of the Chaos Space Marines, I’d later run into Havocs, which would usually shred my Guardsmen to pieces with their belt-fed heavy autocannons. If I managed to make it past them, I’d eventually face off with Warp Talons—demonic units that can teleport across the battlefield and blind you—or the infamous Masters of Possession.
These latter units’ in-game description says it all:
“Masters of Possession lead warbands of devoted warriors in pursuit of untold power. These sorcerous figures have mastered the darkest and most blasphemous lore: the art of using hosts of living flesh to house daemonic spirits. It is they who perform the profane ceremonies of binding that imbue the Daemonkin with their warp-born power. Gouging a breach in the fabric of realspace, the Master of Possession draws a willing entity from the immaterium, channeling its terrible energies into the body of a supplicant or the chassis of a war machine. So thoroughly are these dread figures steeped in blasphemous sorcery that where they walk, reality itself recoils.”
Needless to say, encountering these fiends on the battlefield has never gone well for my Imperial forces (but I keep trying!).
In all, the Warhammer 40,000: Gladius – Chaos Space Marines DLC offers a whole host of new mechanics and fun-to-play (if a little dastardly) units that should surely impress those who fancy these fallen angels. Most recommended!
The Warhammer 40,000: Gladius – Chaos Space Marines DLC features some pretty nice looking graphics that make its 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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