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Mordheim: City of the Damned

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Mordheim: City of the Damned is a PC and console adaptation of the Games Workshop’s classic tabletop game Mordheim from 1999. Developed by Rouge Factor and published by Focus Home Interactive, it was initially released for PC in November of last year but now finds a home on both Xbox One and the Playstation 4. For the purpose of this review I must state I have experienced it for the first time on Playstation 4 and can therefore offer no personal comparison between console and PC.

Mordheim is set directly after a comet has struck the city and has scattered a valuable material known as Wyrdstones across the city and the rivalling warbands are all competing to collect this rare material. Wyrdstone is the raw currency of the game meaning that it is traded for gold and then the gold is used for all your commerce related actions. The narrative is set up quite spectacularly with a narrated comic book like cut scene upon launching of the title, this gives a quite a detailed set up to what has taken place and gives clarity to the motives of all the classes in the game.

Mordheim consists of four base classes to choose from and one paid DLC class. These classes are:
·        Human Mercenaries – Warriors with reliable shield and sword abilities.
·        The Skaven – A rodent like class, quick nimble assassins.
·        With Hunters (DLC) – Hunters of all things evil much like the mercenaries but more organised.
·        Sisters of Sigmar – Branded as witches but have much more pure motives.
·        Cult of the Possessed – Inhuman, subhuman and nonhuman that possess power of a darker variety.

Each class has its own campaign to play through but must be noted that very little to no variety is added in this aspect. When I say little variety that is in reference to the overall narrative but of course each class does have its own unique features and battlefield feel.

Each warband consists of a leader, heroes and henchmen. Your leader and heroes each have special skill sets and abilities whereas your henchmen are as they sound, generic soldier units with no real over the top abilities. This by no means that the henchmen are disposable due to a perma-death mechanic each character needs to be managed and looked after. As you progress through each battle you need to be wary and calculated as death to any member has to be replaced by another which cost money, where the money needs to be used elsewhere to improve your units. With this mechanic in play it does yield a very thoughtful approach in order to achieve any level of success.

Movement is controlled like any other traditional 3rd person action game but everything else plays out like a turn based strategy game. In each “turn” units can move a certain distance based on their initiative score and can attack based on their available pool of points. Staying true to its roots as a tabletop game adaptation there is a virtual dice roll in the background that governs a level of success whenever there is a variable at play. Staying true to its traditional predecessor buildings, height and positioning of units makes a lot of difference in success rates. When moving units around a green circle on the ground indicates where it is possible to position yourself in said turn and it is not necessary to use all allocated movement and attack points in a certain turn some can be reserved for the likes of counter attacking and such.

A very valid point was raised when conversing with my good friend and colleague Lucas, which was "would true die hard fans of this medium be more likely to play the physical adaptation of the game?" In a nut shell the overwhelming conclusion was yes but this title would also serve as a good practice tool and help close the distance between fans and expand the amount of human players you can pit yourself against. With this being said I must raise the point that this title would have a very cult like niche following and the abundance of knowledge required to succeed would need to be at a level of that would be found in someone familiar with table top version. Although this being said, avid turn based combat game players would quickly find their feet and find great enjoyment out of it.

The graphics are definitely not something to write home about but it also does not have the price tag of a fully fledged AAA title. The same can be said about the soundtrack but the narration is spot on and second to none within the genre so all-in-all it is not a knock on the quality merely an observation. Where the game truly shines is its turn based mathematical heavy combat with all its variables taken into consideration. There is a lot of hours of gameplay here reserved for the purists not only of Games Workshop but the strategy gamer alike.
A lot of things need to be taken into consideration when deciding whether to recommend this game or not and unfortunately there I do not have an impeccable dice rolling mechanic installed in my brain so I must go with my gut and say this is for you if you have previous and or intimate knowledge of the Games Workshop Mordheim/Warhammer lore or you are really into games like Wasteland and X-Com.


I would love some feedback from anyone who has either previously played this on Steam or who have picked it up on a console and see how you think it fares. As always we a contactable through many avenues and the comment section below is but only one of them but for the most swift response I can only recommend you head over to our Facebook page and converse directly with us there.   


SCORE: 6.5 out of 10

Positives:
  • Turn based combat at its best
  • Great tabletop adaption
  • Superb dice rolling mechanic
Negatives:               
  • Graphics could use polish
  • Very long tutorial
  • May only be big amongst people with prior knowledge.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox 1, Microsoft Windows
Genre:  Turn based combat, Tactical RPG
Initial Release: November 19, 2015 
Developer:  Rogue Factor
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive

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