A year has passed since the arrival of Warhammer: Mark of Chaos, real-time strategy game set in the warlike Games Workshop universe. The title has been able to carve out a certain group of admirers thanks to the charisma of the setting in all its splendor, and to an interesting gameplay. Battle March is the first expansion for Namco's strategy, which now also arrives for Xbox 360, also including the base game (essential for the PC version). The events narrated in this episode see humans now cornered against the powerful armies of Chaos, but from the east a new fearsome army made up of an alliance of Orcs and Goblins advances dangerously, tragically undermining the balance of the conflict and making the situation even more uncertain. However, a mysterious faction works in the shadows, intent on favoring the advance of the orcs for reasons that will be revealed in the course of the missions.
There is no peace in Warhammer
The new campaign puts the player initially in command of two orc heroes, a warrior and a powerful shaman, engaged in a sequence of very varied and challenging missions. Unlike other strategic ones, here the collection of resources and the production of units are missing, although in the course of some missions it will be possible to aggregate new teams of warriors, but these are completely scripted events. It is also not allowed to save during the missions, but only upon completion of each one. The impossibility of being able to save forces the player to carefully consider every single move, especially by opting for medium-high difficulty levels. Fortunately, the title offers a certain depth of gameplay and allows you to manage not only the formations, but also the speed of movement, the morale and the skills of the heroes, who in the most heated battles assume a crucial importance in the economy of the clashes. The practical management of the camera (completely free), allows you to always enjoy the best view. The gameplay provides for the control of entire teams of units, making the management of troops in battle more streamlined and practical, especially on Xbox 360. In addition to the standard troops, there are the inevitable heroes, who accumulate experience and level up over the course of the battles, thus gaining access to increasingly powerful abilities. The survival of the hero is a fundamental aspect especially during the campaign, since in case of premature death it will be necessary to restart the mission. The mechanics of the clashes are based on the classic stone-scissor-paper, with units lethal against others, but very disadvantaged against others. To tell the truth, infantry units appear in general as the most versatile ones, capable of adapting to almost all enemies, even if in the most agitated battles, their effectiveness decreases due to the impossibility of making all the units fight over the course of the clashes.
The best approach over the course of the numerous missions involves identifying enemy forces, sending armored units forward, supporting them with archers and mages to inflict damage safely. The presence of other types of units such as siege, flying or cavalry ones, makes the battles very varied and profound, also considering that sending your troops into disarray, is a tactic that does not pay in the long term, given that finding yourself with a small number of units can compromise the final stages of a mission or even the entire campaign. At the end of each mission, it will be possible to make a visit to the camp, in order to replenish the ranks of your troops, acquire equipment for the heroes and upgrade weapons and armor. To do this, it is necessary to use gold, which can be found during the missions and as a bonus upon completion of the missions. In all cases, even playing the lowest of the three difficulty levels, you never have enough resources to do everything you want, forcing the player to make choices. In all cases, starting the next mission, you will only be able to take a limited number of troops with you.
Longevity in Battle March, settles on rather high values, given the presence of a good number of mini-campaigns, composed on average of 5-6 missions. These, apart from some particular cases, are all sequential and prevent, for example, attacking one outpost first rather than another. Those who have the Xbox 360 version, in addition to the unreleased campaign, will also benefit from those of Mark of Chaos, for a very respectable final number of hours. In addition to the campaigns, it is possible to play the classic custom battles and of course play against other real users both in LAN and online. The possibility of being able to choose between 9 different sides (but not totally different from each other), guarantees rather varied battles.
All the charm of the Warhammer universe
Although a year has passed since the release of the first episode, the graphics of Battle March it is very current both on PC and on consoles, thanks above all to an optimization of the game engine, which at its inception seemed a bit jerky even on powerful machines. In addition to the mere graphic quality, the game is distinguished by an atmosphere and a detail capable of delighting strategy and miniatures enthusiasts. The outlines of the settings as well as of the characters appear deliberately blurred and this gives the game a particular charm. Approaching the camera then, you can admire well-made units and equally well characterized for clothing and style. Only by admiring the battles from very close range is it possible to fully enjoy the beauty of the battles, which appear bloody at the right point, with different units between them and excellent animations. The special effects related to the powers of the heroes also make a good impression, with shockwaves and distortion really nice to see. A small note should be made to the loading times, which on the test configuration well exceed one minute. The audio is another rather successful aspect, with well-characterized voices (subtitled in Spanish) and refined dialogue.
Warhammer: Battle March is a great expansion for Mark of Chaos, which while not introducing any significant innovations, still guarantees an original and at the same time streamlined game structure, capable of satisfying those who have already dabbled with the base game, both Xbox 360 users, who will take home both. the episodes. The graphics and the charisma of the title are also excellent, penalized by sometimes too invasive loading times.
- Well done graphics and setting
- Original gameplay
- Excellent longevity on both PC and Xbox 360
- Rather long loading times
- No major news
- Processor: 1,5 GHz Pentium IV or equivalent AMD
- RAM: MB 256
- Video Card: GeForce 3 with 64 MB of Ram
- Disk space: 3 GB
- Warhammer: Mark of Chaos
- Processor: 3,0 GHz Pentium IV or equivalent AMD
- RAM: 1 GB
- Video Card: GeForce with 256 MB of memory
- Disk space: 3 GB
- Warhammer: Mark of Chaos
- Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 1,66 GHz processor
- RAM: GB 2 DDR2
- Video Card: Geforce 7300 with 256 MB of memory