Gaming Reviews

Published on February 6th, 2019 | by Michael Newman


Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus

I’ve always been fascinated with Game Workshop’s Warhammer 40,000 tabletop game. The highly detailed miniatures and the numerous factions/races that inhabit the universe. Sadly, the sheer cost of entry and my inability to paint without numbers corresponding to where each color should go, keeps me from being able to truly experience it in the way I’d like. Thankfully, numerous PC games have been released over the past several years to allow those of us who have zero artistic talent to enjoy these games. With the computer controlling one faction and you controlling the other, you no longer have to go down to your local game store and get schooled by someone who’s ability to paint realistic miniatures is a sight to behold.

The game centers around the Adaptus Mechanicus (or the Cult of the Machines), a group who have shed much of their mortal flesh and replaced it with machine. A mix of man and machine forgoing the “weakness of flesh” for the “strength and certainty of steel”. They are scientists whose search for knowledge borders on heresy. Your adventure begins when your ship comes across a planet which houses an incredibly large tomb. A tomb filled with Terminator/Mummy like monstrosities known as Necrons, who have an annoying habit of teleporting once their bodies have been destroyed. Your main units are the Tech Priests, which have various roles that can be assigned, and can be customized in several ways. They are assisted by numerous support units (everything from melee to ranged) that you can choose to take into battle with you.

Mechanicus is a turn-based tactical game, that is played out in two distinct styles. The first has you exploring rooms on a large map. Each room will have an icon which designates what the room contains. It can be a Glyph, which can bestow both positive and negative effects (based on the glyph you choose), a room where you will be presented with a scenario and you must choose from one of three options on how to proceed (similar to the Choose Your Own Adventure books from when I was a kid), and a room that contains one of your mission objectives. You can choose to explore each and every room, which can reward you with everything from Black Stone (a sort of in-game currency for purchasing upgrades and troops) to even special weapons and artifacts. Exploring comes at a cost though, as a counter is constantly reminding you how many Necrons are awaking, and when the counter ultimately reaches 100% it will be time for the final showdown.

The second style occurs when you enter a room containing your objective. The overhead map is replaced by a gridded tactical combat map (similar to games such as X-COM) where you place your forces and the enemy forces are placed on the map by the computer. Battles play out in rounds, and each unit is assigned their turn based on a meter to the left that displays who has won initiative. A side’s initiative can be neutral or can sway from one side or the other based on choices that have been made along the way leading up to the battle. Who goes first, and the order that your units take can make the difference between life and death, so be sure to plan accordingly.

Combat itself is a combination of movement and attack and relies heavily on cognition. Cognition essentially grants action points that you can spend to utilize special weapons, move further than your character normally allows, and call in reinforcements. Throughout the map are towers that consist of one (or more) cognition points. If your character is standing next to one of these at the start of the round then you are awarded these points. Other ways to acquire cognition is to kill an enemy unit (granting 1 cognition point) or to utilize special abilities to capture them. It’s easy to not monitor your cognition and find yourself unable to attack because you ran out, so it’s extremely important to plan ahead and keep enough in reserve to be able to use them when needed.

As you progress in the game you will be able to unlock additional tech priests (and support units) as well as select their class, and upgrade each of their abilities. This adds a more traditional role-playing game aspect and allows you to customize your characters to better suit your style of play. Graphically the game looks fantastic, easy enough to draw you in, but not too demanding on your system.

Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus scratches the “Just one more turn” itch. Each battle tends to last around 20-30 minutes and it’s easy to get swept up promising that you will go to bed after just one more. For those who have enjoyed other PC games in the Warhammer universe, this is a must play game. If you are a fan of tactical war games with a unique setting, then this game (and the Warhammer universe in general) might just be what you are looking for. The story is deep and engaging and will keep you coming back for more.

What I liked: Unique Story, Interesting characters, Fun tactical combat

What I liked less: Some concepts take more time to grasp and aren’t explained well initially

4 out of 5 stars


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