General game information
Game name: Warhammer 40,000: Armageddon – Da Orks
Release date: 18 Aug, 2016
Price: US$ 19.99
Genre: Turn based tactics
Warhammer 40,000: Armageddon – Da Orks (phew, that’s a long name!) is a turn based tactics game set in the Warhammer 40k universe. It’s also an almost perfect Panzer General game, but the player commands green skinned beasts instead of Axis or Allies units.
The basic gameplay is almost identical to Panzer General‘s (or rather, Slitherine‘s most excellent Panzer Corps, which was Panzer General in all but name) Players get a number of units (which increases as the campaign advances) and they have to overcome enemy forces using tactics, rather than sheer troop numbers. Every unit has different stats, and armchair commanders need to take into account unit weaknesses and terrain if they intend to make it past the first series of missions (by the way, the game can get quite hard even on the normal difficulty setting)
Objectives vary, but there’s always victory and resource points that must be captured before the turn limit ends (and defended, as the Imperium’s forces don’t take kindly to greenskins occupying their territory) Battles take place on familiar hex maps (hexagonal tiles can be turned on or off at will) and the game maps are highly detailed and succeed quite well in their task of showcasing a ruined planet in the far future of the Warhammer universe.
While it’s possible that new players may be able to play the game without reading the manual, I would encourage everyone to give it a look or maybe twenty, since it ends up being an invaluable source of information (and the in-game tutorial isn’t as in depth as I would have liked, an issue that also plagued the original Warhammer 40k: Armageddon) It’s not particularly long, sitting at a comfortable forty pages, and it does an admirable job at explaining the differences between different units, and the impact that the terrain can have on their combat effectiveness.
Speaking of units, the variety on offer is staggering. I could spend hours picking new ones for my armies, and they are all exquisitely detailed and competently animated.
Playing as the Orks brings some interesting tactical choices to light, as many units rely on close combat abilities. Sadly, most missions don’t really feel as if the player is in command of the WAAAGH! since the enemy forces are usually similar in numbers, if not superior.
The game’s Achilles’ heel is its dificulty, as it presents some rather sharp spikes, even at the normal difficulty setting (in all fairness, I haven’t tried turning the game down to easy, but its predecessor was TOO easy when I tried that, so I would think that isn’t a good solution to the problem at hand) Some people may find the challenge a bit too severe, and I wouldn’t blame them, though most of the problems seem to stem from the lack of good tutorials inside the game (which is why I highly recommend reading the manual)
Visually, the game is competent, but not extraordinary. The maps are highly detailed, as I said previously, and the units are all quite beautiful, with competent animations (though people not used to this kind of game may find them a bit too austere) Sound design is also competent (with special mention to the voice overs used during the game’s many story panels) and hearing bolter fire, lascannon shots, or even listening to the units moving (they all have specific sounds) is always enjoyable. The soundtrack is serviceable, and it’s always in the background, never getting in the way of the action.
Strategy fans will get a great deal of enjoyment out of Warhammer 40,000: Armageddon – Da Orks, and 40k enthusiasts will get even more, due to the game’s faithful representation of the tabletop game’s units. It’s not perfect, and it’s sad that the development house didn’t include a better tutorial, since not all players will read the manual, but it is a welcome addition to the videogame branch of the Warhammer franchise.
Note: The game also features a multiplayer mode (of the Play by Mail type) but I did not get the opportunity to try it.