This is an early access review, so to those of you wanting to purchase I will say this : Wait a little while longer – This isn’t because the game is bad, or the graphics are poor, or even that it’s a bug ridden crash fest. It really isn’t. I say wait because being driven insane by the tantalising crumbs left by Focus and Rogue Factor is not something I would want to inflict on anyone. I jest of course, I’m saying that anyone who has ever played Blood Bowl, or the Warhammer tabletop series of games (Necromunda, Gorkamorka etc etc) will feel right at home. With Focus being in charge the game seems utterly faithful to the tabletop rules (the Living Rulebook as it is known) with percentages replacing dice rolls.
The premise, is to take your wandering war-band of souls – represented currently by Human Mercenaries, a militant order of nuns called the Sisters of Sigmar, and the rat creatures known as Skaven, and fight across the devastated city of Mordheim, treasure hunting and battling other roving war-bands. In doing so you will uncover new allies, loot and your war-band grows in experience and starts developing their own personality via traits, injuries and equipment. Players of Blood Bowl (and anyone who ever played Shadow of the Horned Rat!) should already be frothing at the mouth. As your war-band gathers its strength, the game will eventually allow you to micro manage skills, spells and even resources for new armour and weapons, as they look like they will have to be replaced should your ”people” get defeated in battle. It is turn based, like Blood Bowl, and there are a plethora of attacks and stances to take advantage of in order to weigh battle in your favour.
The game modes currently on offer are the tutorial and a skirmish mode, that allows you to test each of the three races on offer, against a PC opponent or online – although I couldn’t seem to get a game online for one reason or another. Plastered across the remaining options is ‘Coming Soon’ including some of the mechanics such as poison and looting and treasure. The game plays brilliantly, the graphics are really well presented, with the Rat Ogre being particularly gruesome and unsightly. I had a few issues with camera angles, which had me looking at a brick wall whilst my soldiers attacked their opponents. A little frustrating but it was fairly rare. The game screams out for floating tool-tips, as I was using stances and spells that I had no clue what effect they had. Furthermore, the game has a feeling that once your warriors are well equipped and certain skills are unlocked, that they will become an unstoppable force of death, steamrolling over all opponents and taking away the challenge- I mention this as this was quite common in Blood Bowl, there were specific traits that basically reduced the chance of failure to an insignificant number. Saying that I did come across a few quirky numbers based on the way the game calculates the chance to hit – I had a 98% chance to strike my opponent, and I missed because he had a 46% chance to dodge. I would love the full series of numbers to be displayed, allowing the gamer a greater choice of action.
This minor issues aside, the game could be released tomorrow (content unlocked of course) and it would play very very well. The depth and loyalty to the original tabletop game do it a lot of justice. Rogue and Focus should be very proud of what they have achieved so far, as the Steam community have mentioned in their droves. The addition of a little more random chance and events should keep replay value through the roof, as will the release of more war-bands, the potential for hot seat play, this is sure to keep fans happy.
If what the studio have envisioned comes to pass, I would be giving this game a solid 8 out of 10 as it plays so cleanly as it is. Well done Rogue Factor and Focus, I can’t wait to see what comes next.