Warhammer is a fantasy universe as deep as any game you’ve played before, spanning the last 33 years we’ve seen various editions of the popular board game and more and more video games taking on the Warhammer franchise.
Back when I was a teenager my sister decided she liked the idea of the model/painting side of the popular hobby and went on to spend well over £100 at Games Workshop on a few armies and the game itself, due to it’s deep background and somewhat complicated rule set, we barely painted a figure let alone get round to playing the game.
With video games it’s a whole different kettle of fish as there’s no crafting, but instead you get to enjoy the basis of the game without all the set-up costs, with many titles released exploring the stories, armies and background of Warhammer and the popular science fiction setting of WArhammer 40,000. However few have tried to recreate the actual game, and when they have it’s always met mixed reactions.
Onwards to 2016, and we have the Xbox One release of the popular PC title, Mordheim : City of the Damned.
Mordheim was once a popular city, and when a double tailed comet was spotted nearby visitors flocked to Mordheim with the hope of Sigmar appearing (whoever he is) the over crowding population dragged the city down into the gutter and on new years eve the comet struck Mordheim bringing chaos and terror. Soon enough Daemon’s walked the streets.
This might not be too bad if you’re a daemon yourself, but most people started to refer to Mordheim as the City of the Damned but as lore has it, people where fearful of Mordheim but continue to visit in search of the great wyrdstone.
Aside from the introduction explaining the above, there’s not much of a guide as to why you’re heading to Mordheim, but into the title screen you’ll see the welcoming text of a tutorial. Sadly it’s not quite as welcoming insdie as you see 12 options split between Combat and Hideout Management.
Combat has 4 interactive tuorials covering all aspects of combat and scenario tactics, and while you’ll be doing plenty of reading, waiting and tapping A between attacks, these do a fairly good job of explaining everything to you, unfortunately there’s an awful lot to take in and you might want to visit a few of these more than once.
Hideout manegement is equally packed full of information and these 8, non-interactive tutorials serve as a simple slideshow which give you a screenshot packed with layers of text to work through, obviously the old fashioned way of reading plenty isn’t quite as fun for learning, but if Warhammer fans are patient enought to appreciate the board game, then familiarising themselves with the ins and outs of Mordheim can’t be too much of a chore.
The main game revolves around a single ‘Warband’ mode where you create your Warband from a selection of 5, Humans mercenaries, Witch hunters, sisters of sigmar and the cult of the possessed join the not so human Skaven as (I pressume) they head out to search the city for loot and the Wyrdstone.
Each warband has a few paragraphs outlining their team, and upon making your selection you’re greeted by a narrated introduction to your Warband. You’ll soon be inside your hideout with a view of the options available to you, most revolve around setting up your team and veteran before heading out to a skirmish or to tackle some of the campaign missions. You also get a small text notification warning you that this is a hardcore experience, and it couldn’t be more accurate.
There’s indivisual solo campaigns dependent on who you choose, and they’re every bit as hardcore as everything you’ve seen so far, there’s no second chances, death is death and if you don’t deliver on your bands promise, your game will be over.
Settings, options, and tactics, the skills and classes on offer are all incredibly deep and will no doubt keep a Warhammer fan smiling from ear to ear. Navigate through the options and soon enough you’ll be playing an actual game, and all those tutorials quickly pay dividends.
The core gameplay very closely sticks to a turn=based strategy, unlike titles gone past, there’s no top down view of a board. Instead your inside the world and can control your characters in a 3D environemnt, It’s safe to say the menu’s are often clutters and the glimpse at the graphics don’t do a very good job of showcasing the visuals, but step into an actual game and you’ll be pleasently surprised.
The environments are believable and texture and details seem far more impressive than the glimpse you get through the menu’s.
The regular narration goes some way to help the background music fill the void of waiting as with any turn based strategy, you’ll often be sat waiting around for an opponent to make their move. Throw in counter-attacks and thankfully these waits aren’t almost as tiresome as the initial loading screens.
While I’ve enjoyed various Warhammer video games, my ignorance of the actual baord game means that Morheim all feels very complicated, I don’t mind admitting I struggled to really get to grips with the game, while playing Vermintide last week, I was instantly able to get an idea of what was going on.
This goes some way to alienating people who aren’t familiar with the world of Warhammer and while some similar games are made to be accessible for newcomers, Mordheim feels much more of a game for current fans rather than media designed to make more.
Because of this the value of the title really depends on the individual, strong fans of turn based, tactical strategy RPG titles, and fans of the Warhammer games, will find alot of enjoyment with Mordheim, it’s deep, details and packed full of information, but newcomers are greeted with an electric handshake.