Warhammer 40.000: Mechanicus is a turn-based strategic game that puts you at the center of one of the most loved and advertised conflicts in recent years by the Games Workshop in the latest editions of the board game: Adeptus Mechanicus against the Necrons. Your majestic spaceship Caestus Metalican, commanded by the Magos Dominus Faustinius, discovers a Necron Tomb world following the latest traces of a transmission of a magos long gone.
We are in the world of Warhammer 40.000. For more than ten thousand years the Emperor has remained motionless on his golden throne: it is a rotting carcass kept alive by the technologies lost by the Dark Age of Technology. He is the lord of the Imperium for which a thousand souls are sacrificed every day. Living in this world means being in one of the cruelest and bloodiest regimes imaginable. Forget the power of technology, science and humanity, forget the promise of progress and knowledge, because there is no peace between the stars, only an eternity of carnage and massacre and the laughter of thirsty gods.
The Adeptus Mechanicus it is the organization that controls all human technology and science. Their forge worlds are vital, planets converted into planetary factories, intent on producing all sorts of war machines to allow humanity to face any threat from the Milky Way. Over the years, the Brotherhood of Mars has been expanded to receive an army of miniatures of its own in 2014.
I Necron they are aliens who participated in the greatest war the Milky Way has ever had aeons in the past. To return to being victorious and escape their weak fleshly existence, the whole population transferred their consciousness into indestructible metal bodies. At the end of the war, they retired into a long sleep and now, in the 41st millennium, their grave worlds are awakening.
In putting against the Mechanicus and the Necrons, there are many interesting and exciting science fiction elements. The Mechanicus is composed of humans who replace pieces of their weak flesh with artificial machinery, in search of the perfection offered by technology, but always remain with one foot between the two worlds. Their knowledge of technology is not total, but mixed with a religious mysticism due to an era that has destroyed much of human knowledge. Their retrofuturistic aspect gives a flavor of "held up with adhesive tape", where the most advanced technologies are often shown in the most rudimentary way.
The Necrons are mysterious, their technology is perfect, it's magic. Their troops have no emotions, they are efficient and their metal is able to repair itself. Their weapons fire streams of energy capable of disintegrating the bond of the target's atoms. They are relentless, Terminators.
Thanks to the pen of Ben Counter, a writer with a lot of experience of Warhammer 40.000, author of many books, among which the legendary "World Engine" Warhammer 40.000: Mechanicus frames all the characters perfectly, going to show with great skill all the currents of thought within Admech. It's not a game that does its best to introduce new fans to the franchise: it's better to already have a smattering of the setting.
Scaevola it is the prototype of the technoprete of Mars, now almost removed from his humanity, he expresses himself in a cold way, like a computer. To make up for it, Videx, with many more human parts and strongly linked to the Mechanicus religion. Fighting Necrons with binary prayers and incense shouldn't work, but in the world of Warhammer, faith is sometimes stronger than any weapon.
In the game we find ourselves on the bridge of the spaceship Caestus Metalican and each member of the command provides different missions. Each mission corresponds to a reward and completing all the missions of a character leads to the fulfillment of his history. However, there is an impending danger: the awakening of the entire grave world, which must be avoided in the most absolute way, for the good of the Imperium. By carrying out each mission, the awakening counter increases. The player is therefore faced with choices: which missions to prioritize?
It's about balancing your team's bonuses, upgrades, useful information to stop the Necron threat, or simple side quests, all against a single counter. It is not said that on the first run the player is able to see all that the game has to offer. On a belt of missions available, there is time to do about 30 of them, this, combined with multiple endings, gives a good replay value to the title.
Before going on the battlefield, you need to prepare yourself properly. Your own handful of warriors is made up of some Tecnopreti, real characters that can be 100% customizable, and troops who unlock themselves by continuing the adventure. The techno-priests have a large system of equipment and progression linked to the expense of a resource recovered from the field, which allows you to acquire skill points in many branches. There is a lot of flexibility in how to build your own Tecnoprete in Warhammer 40.000 Mechanicus: you can create hand-to-hand combat monsters, cannons on legs or commanders of troops. Potentially, many different teams can be built over the course of the campaign, truly bringing distinct styles to the approach in battle.
However, the system is not particularly balanced and after the first skirmishes that see you in clear inferiority, it is possible to create characters capable of asphalting the whole countryside with little effort.
Once on a mission, the game alternates between a dungeon exploration phase and the actual battle. In the exploratory phase, you must simply move between boxes, deciding how to act with respect to the various random events or not that your team encounters, until you get to the critical room for the mission, in which a fight takes place. Exploring all the rooms has the potential to recover more resources, but at the same time allows more Necrons to get into business, making your final fight more challenging.
Once in combat, we are faced with a game with interlaced turns, where your units and enemies alternate in a randomly decided order at the start of the fight. You have a pool of cognition points shared among all your troops. Some basic actions, like moving and shooting with some low-power weapons, do not consume points, while anything else vaguely interesting, such as shooting with a volkite cannon, letting a Necron taste the power of your acid-enhanced halberd or treating your team , consume cognition points. These are recovered by interacting with the environment, knocking down enemies and thanks to different skills.
Going to find ways to maximize them in battle is the heart of tactical thinkingas well as being fun to implement. Planning your moves to get so many points to repeatedly attack the biggest enemy in the formation is rewarding. The variety of enemies is good, with all non-vehicular size Necron units represented in the game and with unique characteristics on the battlefield, to be taken into consideration when you need to understand which target to attack first. The presence of two sources of damage, physical and energy, and armor dedicated to the type, forces you to have a team capable of being ready for anything.
As I have already mentioned, however, the battle loop sees its difficulty drop drastically after the first missions, when your Tecnopreti begin to become unstoppable machines, able to accumulate cognition points with great effectiveness.
However, a help comes to us convenient menu that allows you to adjust all the difficulty options. Reduce or increase monetary rewards for missions? Doable. Give buffs and debuffs to enemy units? Remove aids and side events from exploratory maps? In short, playing well with this menu, it is possible to alter the experience a lot, going to calibrate it upwards if you lose the bite. Or do the opposite and simplify it beyond belief, if you are not particularly accustomed to the genre.
The version of Warhammer 40.000: Mechanicus covered by this review is the one for Nintendo Switch, complete with Heretek DLC. This adds a new questline, new locations and new units. A nourished addition and seeing it included is certainly a pleasure.
The game has undergone a graphic downgrade compared to the PC version, visible in particular in the personalization screen of your Tecnoprete. The uploads are not the best of speed, and I have noticed several slowdowns and jamming. Nothing, however, that undermines the overall experience, being a turn-based game. Promoted on Switch.
Warhammer 40.000: Merchanicus is a good strategic game. Which becomes highly recommended if you are a fan of Warhammer 40.000. Aesthetics, style and GRIMDARK are perfectly captured, both stylistically, graphically and musically.