Review: Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus (PS4)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • Nintendo Switch
  • PC
  • iOS, Android

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • 4K HDR

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
Title: Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus
Format: PSN (8.85 GB)
Release Date: July 17, 2020
Publisher: Kalypso Media
Developer: Bulwark Studios
Original MSRP: $39.99 (USD)
ESRB Rating: T
A code for the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
Right off the bat I have to start off on a negative. A game like Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus has a lot of background to cover in a short period of time. It’s got to tell the previous stories in the universe it inhabits. Also, it needs to build up its lore.

I’m not sure what happened with Mechanicus or who put in the work, but was so jumbled up I had to watch the introduction twice. Perhaps it was too much to tell at once, with Warhammer‘s storied history, so I would have liked to see a “cheat sheet” of some sort for the lore for new and lapsed players to the Warhammer universe.

The story is your basic tale of galactic domination (I kid, I kid), but it is basically good guys vs. bad, which is fine. That trope should never get old. But it is kind of a waste of a rich universe to tell a standard tale that’s been told before, at least for the hours I’ve played.

The story is told through text windows. While very in line with a RPG, it made the story hard to follow. The text is very Techno-Babble focused, and was hard for me to follow completely. Truth be told, I started to half-read the text and move on, which is not fair to the game, but I just couldn’t keep up. At times you will have to make choices which strongly and awesomely reminded me of Dungeon and Dragons. I have never played the table top version of Warhammer, but I assume it’s similar.

Combat is done through the three-quarter perspective map, and is turn-based. It’s a great choice for this game. The character classes you control are built more for this type of gameplay. Slow and methodical is how you will want to take it. I noticed when I was more aggressive and didn’t take my time, my units were in more trouble than when I took my time. The camera is great as well; you can do all the things you would expect in a strategy game.

After combat you go to your ship and can choose from three main areas: Tech, Missions, and Cohort. Tech runs the gamut of weapons, support items, etc. Two standouts in my eyes are the ability to upgrade your ship and Prayers. Upgrading your ship is self explanatory, but you can upgrade it to heal your units between missions and more.

Prayers are a little different, and exciting. They are like modifiers that change certain aspects of the game. You unlock these by completing certain in-game objectives, like winning ten battles, for example.

Missions are pretty self explanatory; this is where you choose what missions you go on. Last is Cohorts, which is basically where you level up and choose your skills. This is also where you change out your equipment that you have unlocked.

You can also upgrade your units, with various abilities and skills via a skill tree. It’s fairly basic and self explanatory. I would say it has a basic loot system that you can add weapons and support items. I would have love to see this expanded to look like the weapon choices like the recent Assassin’s Creed games.

Visuals:
Warhammer 40,000:Mechanicus isn’t a visual powerhouse that will test your system and television. What it is, though, is smart. The art direction is top notch here. It sets up a gothic and moody scenario that pays off in creating a environment that you fall for.

The other point I like to bring up is character design. They fit in famously to the universe. While somewhat creepy, the mostly cybernetic visages that you see in the chat windows impressed me every time I saw them. Which is no surprise with the rich visual style of the universe.

Audio:
The music is top notch here, very moody and atmospheric. It fits this title to a T. I would call it gothic chanting, or gothic rock. Nonetheless, it fits right into what Bulwark is trying to accomplish here.

One area Mechanicus does well is its use of voice acting. It is intentionally sparse. The Techno Priests, for instance, talk in machine code, while others are fully voiced. This was a nice choice that was lost on me at the beginning.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is single-player only, with no online component.

Conclusion:
Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus has the bones to make a great game. It resides in a great genre in strategy RPG, great art and sound design, and it plays well. But it fails in my eyes in the storytelling. There was just too much confusion for me to follow. It was surprising because the 40K universe does translate into the gaming world very nicely.

With that said, the gameplay is there and worth a shot. But overall, if I’m having trouble with the story, then I’m out, and I was definitely checking out on Mechanicus at times. So I do recommend the game mostly for its gameplay and moody atmosphere, especially if you rank storytelling lower than I do.

Score:

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

Written by Shawn Hiers

Shawn Hiers

Disabled gamer. Married Father of 5, and playing since the Atari days. I have a passion for all things Lego and an avid Toy Collector. I am also an huge Doctor Who Fan and can talk all things Who for hours 🙂

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