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Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus

Posted by GG Goblin On December - 3 - 2018

Shh! Don’t wake the Necrons.

Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40,000 universe is rich and packed to the outer regions with all manner of different races and situations that would make for a good video game. While most of these different factions have been covered in one form or another, the religious fervour of the Adeptus Mechanicus has never really been covered. This is a cult-like organisation that is part of the Imperium, but also quite separate. They are responsible for all manner of technology, both maintaining the Human technology while making safe any alien tech. They are also quite intent on replacing weak flesh and bone with metal and electronics, which is why many of them look like they have lost a fight with a washing machine. They are an interesting faction for sure, and now they will have to face off against another interesting faction, the Necrons, in turn-based tactical combat. Bring on Bulwark Sudios’ Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus.

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GGUK got to preview the game a while back, and it left us wanting more. Now, the full game is launched and players will be able to pick up Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus on Steam, finding out for themselves if they have what it takes to lead a team of Tech Priests and their minions through Necron tombs. The story involves a high ranking member of the Adeptus Mechanicus and his crew heading off to explore a recently rediscovered Necron planet.

The story was written by famed Black Library writer Ben Counter and, as a result, is very true to the already established Warhammer 40,000 lore. In the preview, I wondered if this heavy use of language and and information that would only be well known to fans of the Warhammer 40,000 universe, could be off-putting for the more casual player. With the full release of the game, it has to be said that it can still be quite difficult to digest. While this doesn’t have an effect on enjoying the actual gameplay, it can make it harder to invest in.

This is largely due to what is going on outside of exploring the tombs. The entire project is overseen by a selection of different characters who, for one reason or another, are constantly disagreeing with each other. They watch the action from the safety of their space ship, offering different points of view or advice through talking head intermissions. While following the story may be difficult, it is easy to appreciate and enjoy the conversations of these different characters.

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But no matter what is going on elsewhere, the real action is happening in the tombs. The Necron are a race of ancient robots that have been in hibernation of some sort, and now they are starting to wake up. It is time to send down a team of Tech Priests and their support units, to explore the tombs, find out what is going on, and put a stop to the Necron menace.

Looking down on what appears to be a 3D holographic map, the player will move their team from one room to the next in a tomb. Some rooms are empty and will leave the player with no choice but to continue. Other rooms may be more interesting, offering an artefact or some kind of choice that the player will have to make, with the results just as likely to make the enemy stronger as to make them weaker. Then there are the best rooms, the ones which turn into battle.

When battle commences, the player is treated to a 3D representation of the battlefield, divided into a grid. The combat is fairly standard, in that friendly and enemy units take it in turns to move and attack, or use items or whatever, until there is a clear winner. However, there are a few quirks to the usual system.

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Firstly, there is no cover mechanic, which forces the combat to be much faster. Secondly, support units are dropped into the battlefield in subsequent turns, with the player having some limited choice of where to place them for an advantage. The support units start out quite weak when compared to the Tech Priests, but as the game progresses, new types of support become available that can really hold their own against the Necrons.

The third quirk comes in the form of cognition points. These are points available to the Tech Priests to power the most interesting abilities, from much stronger weaponry, to moving an extra distance during their turn. These points get used up and must be replaced, mostly from monolith style harvesting points found in each of the battlefields. This forces the player to choose between rushing forward for powerful melee attacks on the enemy, or hanging back to harvest cognition points to power other attacks.

The early game is quite difficult, with the Necron enemies being far more powerful than the Tech Priests. However, the scales tip once the player starts customising their Tech Priests using the in game currency. They are a whole bunch of different skill trees that the player will be able to pick and choose from as they add new parts and abilities to their priests, and before long they will easily be able to hold their own against the Necrons. In fact, players who prefer a challenge will find that the middle and late game can become too easy.

Visually, the game looks good. There is a certain amount of character to the talking head scenes, and there is no denying that the game is faithful to its source material. However, this in itself raises a problem as the environments are not very varied or interesting, and fighting the same enemy over and over can become repetitive.

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Despite that though, Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus is a really enjoyable turn-based strategy game. It is very heavy on the Warhammer 40,000 lore, and so it will be 40k fans that get the most from the story and the setting. But even for your average strategy fan, there is enough content and enough twists on the regular formula to make Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus worth playing.




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