Death And Glory

Written by on Thu, Dec 31, 2015 12:00 PM
Where does Mordheim: City Of The Damned rank in the list of the most demanding games?
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Located in the north east of the Empire is a wretched place full of death and destruction - Mordheim: City of the Damned. The streets; filthy, rotten, and devoid of hope, are the only things seemingly left intact. Devastation has flowed through the city thanks to the unheeded warnings of a massive twin-tailed comet. In its wake lies the alien substance known as Wyrdstone, whose power seems as infinite as it does dark.

There are many factions trying to gain control of the ravaged Mordheim, and it is your goal to collect as much Wyrdstone to sell to these factions as possible, consequently netting boatloads of cash in the process. Taking control of a Warband made up of criminals, villains, warriors and thieves, you plunder, pillage, and power your way through the decimated areas of Mordheim in this turn-based tactical game based on the classic Warhammer Fantasy tabletop game of the same name.

Choosing from one of the four playable classes: Human mercenaries, The Skaven, Sisters of Sigmar and The Cult of the Possessed; you begin your journey into darkness. As you progress, you will gather and sell more and more Wyrdstone, giving you plentiful supplies of coin to buy weapons, armour, upgrades and enchantments, increasing your warband's power.

The gameplay in Mordheim: City of the Damned is similar to the turn-based strategy of the Games Workshop board games. Each member of your Warband has a limited number of offense points and strategy points, allowing you to advance further and use more actions against your opponent. Every action has a chance of success or failure and you need to be smart when choosing whether to strike, parry or dodge. Mordheim is a game of percentages, but unlike some other games, it doesn’t feel so random or unfair. You may not always win, but you won’t feel like the AI is always enjoying a higher success rate than you.

Playable maps for skirmish matches in Mordheim take place among the maze-like ruins of the city. It's easy to get turned around, as many of the buildings look alike or blend their models together. This is challenging if you want to navigate a member of your squad as backup if you get into a conflict. Luckily, the map feature helps tremendously in navigating around, although a mini-map of sorts would be well appreciated. The maps are procedurally generated, randomizing the overall layout and providing plenty of scope for replayability.

Environmental traps litter the battlefield, making movement across the map an enemy in itself. Noxious poison traps scattered around the combat zone will manage to startle you as well as have an impact on your character. Climbing and jumping off of ledges has its own risk, as characters can fall down and take damage from failing their check.

This richness of the atmosphere and the demandingly tactical combat are obviously pleasant, even exciting, but they come at a cost: Mordheim is really finicky to handle. The interface works on a manual scroll principle of possible actions and systematic confirmation of orders. So, even firing a bow will take several clicks. Fortunately, beginners can always count on the failures of AI to get by as best possible. Thus, it is not uncommon for a difficult enemy to be stuck in some elevated outlook, while your archers patiently shoot at every turn.

The biggest technical issue found in game concerns the missions loading times, which usually takes one to three minutes each time even on a good rig! The problems of this type, associated with the overall complexity of the game and its lack of accessibility, can cause the average player to be frustrated, even if he is already accustomed to the strategy turn-based XCOM style of gameplay. However aficionados who appreciate the Gothic Mordheim universe will find themselves in familiar territory, learning how to deal with a true and uncompromising adaptation of their favourite board game.

Heading into battle you will notice the pleasantly morbid atmosphere, from which an H.P. Lovecraft novel could be sprung. While the often poor textures of the walls can sometimes leave something to be desired, overall Mordheim is quite a spectacle for eyes as well as the ears . . . Just not necessarily for the stomach. Mutilated corpses dangling from crossbeams in lifeless rubble that grotesque structures daunting tracking eyes seemingly grow off of the atmosphere of a horror film is well captured.

There are great things shining elsewhere: the skill system is very detailed and extensive, as you begin to develop the basic tools of war, abilities, spells, and other character types begin to unlock. You gain skill points to spend on those and other abilities for your crew, investing money to train them with new powers. The spells and abilities feel balanced and are all suited for situational advantages; your squad member's abilities can be active or passive. An active ability, for example, would be a skill that taunts your enemy. Making your foes distracted and easier to hit. A passive ability would increase your magic or melee resistances, or the "underdog" ability that increases critical hit chance when surrounded by two or more enemies.

Don't let the difficulty of Mordheim: City of the Damned throw you off. The initial experience looks punishing, but a few rounds of skirmish matches will help you understand the mechanics. From there, you'll bond with your squad through the trials, triumphs, and failures you experience together. Mordheim: City of the Damned isn't about winning or losing, it's about making the best of the bloody journey.

Pros

  • Very advanced tactics
  • Deep character progression
  • Detailed customisation

Cons

  • Some AI misfires
  • Unbearable load times
  • Unclear interface
Score

8

Good

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20:00 Dec-31-2015

"... thanks to the unheeded warnings of a massive twin-tailed comet. In its wake lies the alien substance known as Wyrdstone, ..."


Does the game come with a tinfoil hat?

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14:32 Dec-31-2015

"The gameplay in Mordheim: City of the Damned is similar to the turn-based strategy of the Games Workshop board games." I think I might give this a try then :D

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