Warhammer, in its futuristic declination, is an inexhaustible source of inspiration for strategic games. Sure, those in real time have gone down in history thanks above all to the contribution of Relic, but there is also room for smaller productions that rely on the stainless turn-based structure. It is the case of Warhammer 40,000: Battlesector, which you are reading the review for, published by Slitherine and developed by Black Lab Games, the same software house as Battlestar Galactica: Deadlock.
Unlike Gladius: Relic Of War, published under the same banner a few years ago (and reviewed by Simone Taglifarri), Battlesector almost completely renounces the management part which, as we will see, is limited to simple upgrades, to focus exclusively on the tactics that are develops in rather small arenas so that they can be defined, as the title itself suggests, real sectors.
Much closer to its ropes is Straylight Entertainment's Warhammer 40K: Sanctus Reach, with which, as we'll see, it shares more than one aspect.
A story to be written
If you are not passionate about the Warhammer saga, you will hardly be able to get caught by one history told through dialogues and cartoons: the absence of expensive cut-scenes and the very few exchange of words between the characters during the game sessions certainly do not help to contextualize the plot that follows the exploits of Sergeant Carleon at the helm of the Blood Angels, overwhelmed by the invasion that the Tyranids brought to their homeworld Baal the Second.
After the convenient ones, you immediately move on to theaction: the battleground is divided into a square grid, on which the various units move, each characterized by a quantity of action points that make it more or less mobile. There are covers that can modify the results of an attack or defense, making them more or less effective, although the maps are developed only on the horizontal plane and the terrain cannot be modified by attacks. Units are made up of one or more elements, depending on firepower, and each of these has its own health bar.
In addition to the standard ones, whose ranks can be replenished at no cost between missions, there are heroes, including the aforementioned Sergeant Carleon, who have specific skills and whose untimely death will coincide with the game over. From what has been written up to this moment it should be clear that Battlesector neither adds nor takes anything away from the typical structure of turn-based strategy; however, the developers decided to spice things up with the introduction of the momentum, that is a bar that fills up as you kill the Tyranids and that unlocks a special attack.
The intriguing aspect is that the points are lost leaving the troops in a defensive position; this mechanism adds a welcome tactical variable because it is sometimes worth taking the risk of moves that can prove to be as triumphant as they are catastrophic.
As written initially, the maps they are small, nevertheless they can take a long time to be released. This happens due to the continuous enemy regeneration that is interrupted only when the primary objective (escort the blood priest to the certain point, deactivate the defensive towers, resist an alien invasion for a certain number of turns) is reached. At this point, regardless of the efforts made previously, it is still necessary to get rid of all the tyranids left standing: this is the most critical moment of all because it is precisely in correspondence with the final turns that the invasion produces its maximum efforts. The first maps seem to be accessible at the level suggested by the game, but soon the difficulty increases exponentially and already at the fifth mission it will be necessary to resort to the loading function.
La challenge it is not given so much by artificial intelligence, but by the overwhelming number of units controlled by the CPU, on average more than double those available to the player. With these premises, the conditions for failure are clear from the deployment of the units, because neither the positioning of the opponents nor the composition of their army is known. This "trial and error" mechanic is not new to this genre of games, but it is often a source of frustration, and Battlesector is no exception.
Furthermore, the fact that all units are revealed before the middle of the game and the absence of secondary objectives during the missions are elements that risk making the action repetitive.
PC System Requirements
- Operating system: Windows 10 Pro
- Processor: AMD Ryzen 9 5950X
- Memory: 32 GB of RAM
- Scheda video: AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT
- Sistema operativo: 64-bit Windows 10
- Processor: Intel Core i5-4460
- Memory: 4 GB of RAM
- Video card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750
- Memory: 25 GB of available space
- Sound Card: DirectX Compatible
- Processor: Intel Core i5-6400
- Memory: 8 GB of RAM
- Video card: NVIDIA Geforce GTX 950
The part management is reduced to the bone: by completing the missions you get experience points that can be spent in the skill tree of the generals, unlike the troops that always remain at the same level regardless of the number of kills. In addition to the classic distinction between active and passive, some concern the single hero, others concern the standard units. Of these, in particular, we find ten types for each of the two factions represented, while the Tyranids, unlike the Space Marines who have five, have only three champions.
Le mode of the game are only two: the focus of the offer is the campaign of the Blood Angels, divided into about twenty missions. Then there is the classic skirmish where finally invaders can also be selected, and where it is also possible to set some parameters including the automatic regeneration of enemies. However, the maps are only eight and the mode is only one, that is the one who gets the most points within a set limit of turns wins.
The could not miss the multiplayer, in which we find "live" games, that is the traditional ones in which the two players compete in real time; those asynchronous, in which the turn is completed only when the player decides to get in front of the keyboard; the anachronistic hotseat in which the challengers use the same computer. Unfortunately, as often happens before launch, it was not possible to try multiplayer due to the absence of a lobby: however, we believe that this should certainly not be the main reason that drives the purchase of Battlesector.
CommentTested version PC Windows 1.0.0 Digital Delivery Steam Price 33,99 € Buy it here at Resources4Gaming.com
Elegant graphics, superlative voice acting, simple gameplay mechanics with deep facets: Battlesector takes full advantage of the universe created by Games Workshop to provide immediate and challenging turn-based strategy. Unfortunately, at times, the difficulty is excessive and it seems that there is only one way to get the better of the enemies. In terms of content, the title is far too thrifty: the single player campaign, dedicated only to Space Marines, should have been supported with a greater number of units and, at the end of the fair, there are only two factions. Looking forward to future additional content, the Black Lab game is a great choice for Warhammer 40,000 fans
- Immediate mechanics
- Technically good
- ... sometimes even for free
- Only two factions
- For non-fans it risks becoming repetitive soon