Warhammer Underworlds: Online
Steel Sky Productions
When I was a kid I used to check out the Warhammer miniatures featured in the local game stores but their astronomical prices prevented me from purchasing them; were never intended for children—which is why adult men were their main target demographic.
However, the Total War: Warhammer franchise and other great games based on the Warhammer universe have been released in more recent times. This has allowed folks like me who always wanted to try it out—the opportunity to do so.
There are two primary franchises within the Warhammer IP: The Old World and the Age of Sigmar. Whereas the Old War is the more traditional universe, the newer Age of Sigmar is the latest incarnation of the franchise. This has split the community in many ways as there are lots of diehard fans who prefer the Old World, while others have embraced the new kid on the block.
Developer Steel Sky Productions’ recent title, Warhammer Underworlds: Online, is my first experience with an Age of Sigmar product; I really didn’t know what to expect. It’s a digital representation of Games Workshop’s turn-based strategy tabletop game, Warhammer Underworlds.
Warhammer Underworlds: Online comes with both single-player and multiplayer modes, including a ranked PvP queue for cosmetic rewards (and bragging rights). As a big fan of turn-based games, I dove right in and discovered that it also is very reminiscent of chess, which was an added bonus. The immaculately-designed graphics were the icing on the cake as far as I’m concerned.
Although the game has been out since April of 2020, this is one of those titles that I wanted to delay reviewing until its developers had added more content—and I’m glad that I did. Since launch, Warhammer Underworlds: Online has added a slew of new patches and updates since it had a rather buggy launch.
The game is played between two people (or one person vs. AI) and each picks a small squad called a Warband. Six of these Warbands come with the base game—Steelheart’s Champions, The Farstriders (the two “good” Warbands of the Stormcast Eternals), Spiteclaw’s Swarm (vicious ratmen), Sepulchral Guard (Undead), and Ironskull’s Boyz (Orcs).
There have been two DLC Warbands added since launch which include the Eyes of Nine (Daemons) and Thorns of Briar Queen (more Undead), with a third DLC coming soon, the Chosen Axes (Dwarfs). I’m happy to see that the developers have been steadily patching the game while adding new Warbands since the physical, tabletop game is already up to twenty-four in total.
In the game, you build a deck of cards that basically correlate to skill points or talents in similar strategy or RPG games. You and your opponent can choose from a wide variety of map types which you then bind together—this makes for some pretty interesting combinations and opens up all sort of strategic elements that you’ll have to keep in mind as you play each match.
In an interesting twist, each match is not necessarily won by whoever does the most killing, but by who earns the most “Glory” points. While slaying your enemies is an important aspect of the game, capturing and holding objectives is equally (if not more) important. Therefore, it behooves a player to think several moves ahead of their opponent in order to succeed. A typical match of Warhammer Underworlds: Online can last up to 30 or 40 minutes since there is a lot of cerebral decision making involved.
The cards generate RNG and in turn, die rolls. Die rolls feel weighty in combat since if you have a good roll you can administer critical hits on your enemy’s units. The combat animations are spectacular and go a long way in elevating this game above similar turn-based titles. Parrying a potentially devastating blow is really satisfying to behold—and following that up with your own savage attack is super satisfying.
In the end, if you’re the type of patient, strategic thinking gamer, you’ll probably love Warhammer Underworlds: Online. It combines gorgeous graphics, solid gameplay, and great overall variety in terms of all of its disparate moving parts. I’m really looking forward to the future of this title.
Warhammer Underworlds: Online has some pretty good 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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