Title: Mordheim: City of the Damned
Version Tested: PC
Available on: PC
Developer: Rogue Factor
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Genre: Turn Based Strategy, RPG
Official Site: Mordheim: City of the Damned
Release Date: 11-19-15
Where To Buy: Steam
Mordheim: City of the Damned has been a game I have keenly been watching for a long time now, not because I have reviewed the majority of Games Workshop titles on The Nerd Stash but because it has always been my favorite ruleset released by Games Workshop to date. Based on the 90’s table top game developers Rogue Factor recently took the game out of Steam Early access.
Set in Games Workshop’s dark Warhammer universe, in the city of Mordheim, players must take their warband through battle after battle against rival warbands. The factions available to play include human mercenaries, Skaven, the Sisters of Sigmar and Chaos zealots. Each has their own unique playstyle, look and feel to them, from the campaign down to the heroes, henchmen and impressive characters.
The turn-based system is more like X-Com than the traditional Games Workshop ‘your turn, my turn’ mechanics of play that you see in Blood Bowl, Warhammer or Warhammer 40,000. Instead, there is an initiative based system. This system, of course, means that warbands with a higher initiative like the Skaven move before the other team which can lead to a massive advantage in many situations, especially early on. This did not necessarily mean that Skaven warband would win because of it, more often than not the AI would overextend allowing them to be picked off one by one in the subsequent turns.
Every faction is balanced in their own way, and each had their own unique campaign, while not that deep in story or character building the missions proved more challenging than the standard missions, with endless waves of enemies and specific tasks that required completing. Of course not every warband does well, one loss can prove devastating to your warband in Mordheim, deaths and maiming injuries can cripple your warband financially and physically. Thankfully the built in achievement system dubbed the veteran system awards players slight advantages that give players points to spend on warband upgrades, these are persistent across all your current and new warbands. Upgrades included cheaper upkeep costs, cheaper healing costs and higher sell values to the store, among others, this also gives the player some incentive to keep playing Mordheim after their warband has been decimated.
Characters in your warband are customizable, their outfits and clothes can be customised to a point to give your warband a unique look or colour scheme. The scaling of your warband is matched by your warband’s rating, and you will find yourself fighting more difficult warbands as you progress through the game. Injuries and mutations on your charters are also shown, maimed characters will have a peg-leg or a missing arm, or if they have lost an eye it will show up on their character. Eventually, your warband will look as war-torn as it is experienced.
I found the graphics for Mordheim: City of the Damned to feel and look great, from the chaos zealot’s gruesome mutations, in particular, stood out for me, their damage in combat matched their looks, you don’t know fear until your warband leader has been charged by a Chaos Spawn. The graphical options can all be changed, and the key bindings in Mordheim are all re-bindable. I found the lack of a tutorial might prove confusing to new players however I had little problem understanding the basic game mechanics straight off the bat. Character screens had good tooltips and information on skills and spells was clearly explained, I never felt that I did not understand how something happened. Loading screens were extremely long and boring. I enjoyed the music, it was atmospheric and matched the setting, however, it was no Shadow of the Colossus soundtrack.
Rogue Factor hit the nail on the head with Mordheim: City of the Damned, all the right ingredients for this game were here, perhaps its only weakness was the lack of any originality or deviation away from Games Workshop’s 90’s formula. After some time playing the long loading screens do get irritating, I found myself walking away from the computer and making coffee or tabbing out of the game which was an unfortunate break in the immersion. I did come back to the game each time, however, as Mordheim: City of the Damned offers an enjoyable turn based strategy and role play game experience. This is a game where early access has seemed to help it more than hinder it, Mordheim is a pleasure to play, had a vast amount of replayability and even had a multiplayer mode, where you can pit your warband against other players (you can choose a friendly match mode for multiplayer games).
Mordheim is priced at $40 (at full price) on steam or your regional equivalent which I feel is slightly too much, however if you are a Games Workshop you will want to pick up this game. If you have been looking for a fantasy turn-based RPG game, this could be the one for you.
Gameplay: True to the original tabletop game, Mordheim is balanced and each faction is unique in their own way.
Graphics: This game looks great, the texture quality is good and the maps are large and complex in design.
Sound: The voice acting is well done and everything has a sound effect, the soundtrack is decent and captures the mood, but will get repetitive.
Presentation: The developers have kept true to the theme’s set out in the original tabletop game and it has paid off, from the characters right up to the scenery and the game mechanics.
- Great setting and feel
- Great replayability
- Based off Games Workshop classic tabletop game
- Long loading screens
- Unforgiving injuries
From London in the United Kingdom.
Games and technology journalist.
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