by Johnathan Irwin
reviewed on PC
A while back I had the pleasure of previewing Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus from developer Bulwark Studios and published by Kasedo Games. Getting a glimpse at some of the game’s missions, customization options and gameplay choices, I was pleasantly surprised with the promising setup for a game based around the Machine Cult of Mars, the Adeptus Mechanicus in the Warhammer 40,000 Universe. Now, with the full release, I get to experience it in full and one thing is for sure: this game is blessed by the Omnissiah that the mechanical masses worship.
Note Before Continuing: For those who don't know the basics of the 40k universe, a brief rundown of the Adeptus Mechanicus is that they are brilliant minded engineers and scientists who seek to ascend beyond their mortal forms and become machines.
They are part of the Imperium of Man, and the primary focus of this game as the protagonist faction.
The game begins on board the Caestus Metalican, a massive ship of a roaming band of Adeptus Mechanicus tech priests and skittari rangers. A distress call from a fellow Magos (a tech priest of high rank and file) leads the player and the troops at their command to a dead world of Silva Tenebris. But not all is as it seems. Beneath the surface, the dead planet is a massive tomb for sleeping legions of dormant robotic Necrons. Machine versus machine, as the player leads the Mechanicus through thirty missions deep below the planet’s surface.
The gameplay in Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus is a mix of turn based combat and narrative choices that can increase rewards as well as risks. Both the narrative and the risk related moments are often triggered in certain rooms which will give you a set of options to pick from that affects both. Sometimes it pays to take that risk, other times it's far better to play it safe. A great example of this is the opportunity to capture an enemy unit for study. Sounds good right? Well, yes, it is... IF you can survive the encounter. Moments like this are often intense, calculative ways to run down the number of turns needed to capture the enemy unit and it often runs down to the last man you have. If you don't think you have the numbers to pull it off, it's better to not take the risk.
The combat itself, being turn-based, is pretty straight-forward. The only real shakeups to the formula are consistent troop reinforcement every turn until all your units are on the field, and the possibility of your weapons to score either a critical hit or suffering a malfunction the more they are used. It's functional, it's fun. I'd like to see a bit more variety in the map styles but given that they take place in Necron Tombs, I'm a bit more forgiving on the monotony of the maps.
Becoming The Machine
Though the turn-based gameplay itself is great, where I had the most fun is the customization of the tech priests. Watching them grow from their basic forms to sporting any amount of murder-inducing firepower and other weaponry and watching them abandon their human forms more and more with each upgrade is something special. It also makes the game somewhat easier over time, as ranged combat becomes more viable.
Earlier in the game, you'll feel encouraged to close the gap quickly since sometimes your weapon's Machine Spirit can malfunction. And if you ever upgrade in a way that feels like it's lacking, you can always go back to the drawing board and start investing in different skills and tech items. The amount of customization per priest is pretty intense, and that in itself adds as much to the replay value as the possible different endings to obtain. Though the endings I've seen have seemed a bit samey with only minor variations among them.
Overall, Warhammer: 40,000 Mechanicus is a solid entry into the 40k universe for fans of the franchise and accessible enough for those who aren't into Warhammer, but are looking for a good strategy title to kill time with.
Solid Turn Based Strategy, Incredible Customization For Characters, Many Risk Vs Reward Moments, Multiple Endings
Monotonous maps, Endings could be a bit more varied