Warhammer 40,000 Mechanicus (Feature Review) Playstation 4

Warhammer 40,000 Mechanicus (Feature Review) Playstation 4
Review Score:

Developed by Bulwark Studios and published by Kasedo Games, Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus is a turn-based strategy RPG that uses a Visual Novel-like presentation to convey its story.  As the game’s main protagonist, the player is given control over various ‘Adeptus Mechanicus’ units, including  tech-priests and standard military grunts (all of which have varying degrees of skills). The game’s premise focuses on the retrieval of ancient technology from the unholy catacombs of the Necron, who have remained in hibernation for nearly 60 million years.

As the player invades the aforementioned ‘tomb’, something activates the slow revival of these ancient, human-like skeletal robots (i.e. the Necron) who were once servants of the C’Tan; the Star Gods of Aeldari myth. This throws the entire mission into chaos, as the player now has to quickly decide the fate of each alien artifact or piece of technology found (a feature that determines the outcome of the game), while also fending off an inherently expanding onslaught of enemies. Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus is like this from start to finish, and it’s definitely not for the faint of heart.

The gameplay is methodical in its design, right down to the units the player chooses to assist their Tech Priests. For example: The Servitors – a group of meathead grunts with no armor and five hit points – are the initial soldiers at the player’s disposal. While weak, Servitors are capable of swarming singular enemy units (i.e. Scarabs and Necron warriors) as a distraction for the Tech Priests. Essentially, Servitors are meant to perish in battle, and serve no other purpose. The same can’t be said about the other units, which become available throughout the course of the game. For example: the Skitarii Vanguard are ranged units the player gains access to during the mid to late half of the game. These units are capable of inflicting a decent amount of damage. In addition, they can be leveled up to have two ‘physical’ attacks every three turns. A second upgrade provides these units with 2 additional points of damage.

Among the remaining seven units are melee-based fighters (i.e. the Skitarii Vanguard Alpha, the Skitarii Ranger, the Sicarian Ruststalker and the Sicarian Infiltrators), crowd controllers (i.e. the Skitarii Ranger Alpha and the Kataphron Battle Servitor), and tanks (i.e. the Kastelan Robot). Some units are better than others, and its up to the player to decide which ones are the best to use.

Gameplay is comprised of multiple, thought-provoking scenarios that pose their own challenges. For example: during the early half of the game, firepower, health and Command Points are in very short supply. This makes every move – whether it involves attacking an enemy or healing a unit – crucial to the success of each mission. This also includes the ‘Event Rooms’, which are directly connected to the main story.

While exploring the ruins, the environment is depicted as a holographic image. Every area contains a handful of ‘Event Rooms’ where the player may encounter ancient Necron tech. As mentioned earlier, the player must decide on how to interact with the alien technology (i.e. confiscate it; try and study it; destroy it, etc.). How the player proceeds can depend on the mission in question. However, there are options available that allow actions to occur outside the parameters of a mission, changing the course of the game and the overall story.

Combat uses a turn-based system on a grid-like playfield. When a unit is selected, the playfield will outline the distance the unit can walk. Each unit – whether it be a Servitor or a Tech-Priest – has its limitations. Servitors, for example, can only travel a short distance, while Tech-Priests can cover large areas (and even setup ambushes against enemy units), before the player has to end that unit’s ‘turn’, and move on to the next one. 

When fighting the Neocron, the best strategy (and one that should be used often early on) is to use any available Servitors as ‘meat’ shields and/or CP generators for the player. This tactic will help the Tech Priests level up and gain access to armor and increased HP (i.e. Hit Points). In addition, the player needs to make sure that each unit has a ‘High Critical’ chance of dealing damage to enemies with armor that offsets weapon damage. Not only will this extend the longevity of the stock weaponry used by the player’s units, but it will also make surviving combat a lot easier.

It should also be mentioned that CP (Combat Points) are incredibly important to the player during combat scenarios. While Tech Priests are capable of performing minimal tasks without it, they cannot use specific weapons or move additional spaces on the playfield without CP. The best way to acquire CP is by interacting with obelisks (pillars that are located on the playfield), using certain equipment, or killing Necron enemy units. Keeping the CP bar full is the only way to actually survive the game’s many combat  encounters. Deviating from this strategy will only lead to repeated failures and bouts of frustration.

When the player isn’t participating in missions, they can invest in-game currency to increase the abilities of their Tech Priests. This includes  buying new armor, gear and weapons, along with the option to reset skills from skill trees, and then reassigning them. Thanks to these features, the player can create unique characters that all have a multitude of abilities unique to their class and personalities.

Fans of the Warhammer franchise will find that Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus – despite all its intricacies – is a simplified version of the tabletop board game(s). However,  the world of Mechanicus for PS4 benefits from having immersive 3D graphics, professional voice acting, and tough-as-nails gameplay. Not only does Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus does the franchise justice, but it’s one of the better strategy RPGs currently available on the Playstation 4.

Mike Pittaro
Platform: Playstation 4
Developer: Kasedo Games
Publisher: Kasedo Games
ESRB: T (Teen)
Price: $39.99

Warhammer 40,000 Mechanicus Official Website: https://www.mechanicus40k.com/

Review Score
Atmospheric 3D graphics and smooth animation during combat.
Impressive voice acting and great sound effects.
Strategy-laden gameplay that punishes mistakes.
Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus does the franchise justice.
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