Necromunda: Underhive Wars
When people think of digital iterations of the Warhammer 40,000 universe, many of them (including me) recount fond memories of the first Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War game (frankly, its two successors sucked). Even for those who never played that classic game, Warhammer 40,000 usually conjures up images of stoic Space Marines clad in their battle armor or the malevolent aliens known as the Tyranids.
However, not too many folks are keen on one of Games Workshop’s lesser-known niche franchises called Necromunda, specifically their spectacular miniatures game— Necromunda: Dark Uprising. For those not in the know, the setting for this spin-off series is a gigantic Hive World located deep within the Imperium of Man. It’s been exploited to the degree that its oceans are filled with sludge and algae and its lands have been reduced to scorched plains of ash.
Necromunda is one of the humongous hive cities that forge many of the weapons and other wargear for the Imperium of Man, such as different types of armor, Lasguns, and Bolters. These cities burrow deep into the planet’s crust in order to extract all of the valuable minerals and ore located there. The forges of these cities burn day and night in a continuous cycle of production as billions of workers toil away in misery.
However, various gangs vie for superiority within the wretched depths of these cities. Necromunda: Underhive Wars takes place in such a dismal environment. Each player must choose from one of three gangs and assemble a team to their liking. However, the game advises that new players try out the campaign mode first since it functions as a full-blown tutorial.
Just like its predecessor from five years ago— Mordheim: City of the Damned— Necromunda: Underhive Wars not only has a fantastic, in-depth character creation system (that I spent an inordinate amount of time playing around with), but also unique game mechanics at play.
Each unit is controlled from a third-person perspective and can be moved one at a time. Every round, you’ll choose a particular unit and the enemy (whether AI or human) picks one as well. The one with the highest initiative goes first. It’s a simple system that works well because it prevents a side from chaining too many unit’s moves together and overwhelming their opponents, as is the case in most turn-based games.
One of the things that I enjoy about Necromunda: Underhive Wars is that Rogue Factor really nailed the tactical pacing of the game. Each round lets you see the moves that your enemies make (if you’ve spotted them) and give you some time to ponder how best to react to their maneuvers. As modern attention spans are now measured in milliseconds, those without a modicum of patience probably won’t play this game for long— it requires careful planning and strategic thinking.
However, once things kick off there are plenty of pyrotechnics to behold. Each ganger class can equip any number of weapons, including all sorts of melee weapons, to ranged ones such as lascannons and autoguns. The combat effects are very well done and evoke the brutal violence of the grimdark Warhammer 40,000 universe perfectly.
The game’s environments are also not just spectacular to look at, but feature verticality that can vastly alter a player’s strategies. They are beautifully rendered in 3D and let you scan the battlefield for enemies, slink along ziplines, and set up ambushes at strategic chokepoints.
The original miniatures game has six main “houses” of gangs and a number of additional factions for added variety. Necromunda: Underhive Wars comes with three of the main houses, including the Road Warrior-like behemoths, House Goliath; the good-all-around House Orlock; and the all-female drug pushers, House Esher.
While these three gangs are all fine and dandy, I’d really like to see the other main gangs added in the future as DLC, as well as some of the other stand-out factions such as the Palanite Enforcers and the Corpse Grinder Cultists (these are the two factions that come with the Necromunda: Dark Uprising boxed set).
One glaring issue that Necromunda: Underhive Wars has is its spotty AI. Sometimes your AI opponents will get hung up on something in the environments or take nonsensical actions. However, Rogue Factor seems to be invested in this little gem of a game and it appears that they’re taking the right steps to address this problem. In short, this title has immense potential if handled with care.
As it stands, Necromunda: Underhive Wars is a very fun game that depicts gang-on-gang warfare in a dystopian future (sort of like my own dystopian book series). It has beautiful graphics, super-strategic game mechanics, and a spectacularly dark…er…grimdark setting that is sure to appease tactical-minded gamers.
Necromunda: Underhive Wars has some pretty good looking graphics that make its wargame 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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