After excellent work done in 2017 with Battlestar Galactica: Deadlock, Black Lab Games returns to the scene by collecting one of the many legacies of space Marines for development Warhammer 40,000: Battlesector, a strategic release for PC and consoles that will put us in the place of the relentless Angels of Blood or Tyranids, one of the many beautiful alien races that inhabit the universe. Set during the so-called Age of Grimson Dawn (Crimson Dawn, which is also the title of a novel written by CZ Dunn), the game is told through a single-player campaign lasting twenty missions during which we will experience the consequences The destruction of Baal: after the invasion of Tyranid on the home planet of the Blood Angels, the latter managed to repel the alien forces at the cost of huge losses. Warhammer 40,000: Battlesector investigates the aftermath of this attack through the eyes and actions of Sergeant Carleon, engaged in clearing Baal Secundis.
To briefly contextualize the factions in the game, Blood angels they are one of the twenty first-founded legions of space marines and among the oldest chapters of the army, serving the emperor for thousands of years; because of their bloodthirstiness in battle and the curses they carry with them, they are especially afraid of them. On the other hand, ie Tyranids they are an alien race driven by a single will called the “Mind of the Hive,” whose commands are taken over and transmitted by more developed tyrannical organisms. Tyranid spacecraft and weapons are more biological in nature than technological in nature, and when a bio fleet attacks the planet, it consumes every last drop of energy. While not a toy faction in the main campaign, whose core is Blood Angels, Skirmish Mode allows you to step into their shoes.
For Sanguinius and for the Emperor!
Having created the necessary preconditions for the contextualization of the game and the main actors, let’s talk specifically about the tried and tested ones: in addition to the textbook so as not to be completely unprepared for real battles, we had two different sections of the game called “Breakthrough in the Heavenly Wall” e “Armaments and supplies”, just a taste of what Warhammer 40,000: Battlesector intends to offer. However, playing is any strategy you’ve ever played (with due differences in settings and characters, of course) that puts groups of units, vehicles, and individual leaders on the field. Each unit has an action point – apart from the leaders – and a few movement points that they can spend as they please: the first allows you to use offensive skills and enter surveillance mode, directing attention to the point of your choice so anyone enters the field of view. the unit is greeted by a salvo of bullets. The position of the hull in relation to the enemy must also not be underestimated, as an attack on the hips or from behind means greater damage.
After your turn, it is on the Tyranids that will, as far as we have seen, appear they prefer physical attacks while they have a chance to hit you even from a distance: while on the one hand it benefits the Blood Angels, on the other hand the enemies rely on the number and resistance of some units, which if they get too close not only inflict discrete damage but also create toxic an area capable of poisoning our soldiers. Overall, therefore, although both missions proved to be quite simple and aimed at understanding us in mechanics, they were not to be taken lightly.
As a strategist, everyone plays their part in Warhammer 40,000: Battlesector when it comes to combat, especially leaders who primarily serve to support other units. Between attack, defense and support, one mechanic stands out above all others: swing, available in different ways, depending on the faction you control – in the case of Blood Angels, by killing enemies at close range and fitting into enemy forces, or by exploiting the leader’s abilities. In short, the game rewards an aggressive approach and punishes caution, deducting at least ten Momentum points per turn in the event of hull immobility or a general lack of action. Once the meter is full, you can decide if you want to spend all your Momentum to get an action bonus or upgrade a certain skill. This is an interesting mechanic that can lead to various reversals, as well as rethinking its strategies based on which unit is better to increase momentum which it cannot do with everyone. Decisions need to be made and they could change good and evil.
As far as we have seen so far, the gameplay is well implemented and intuitive. We also liked the fact that Warhammer 40,000: Battlesector is faster game in execution because you are not forced to wait for the unit to complete its action to issue other orders. Although the one we just gave the order to is still finishing, we can tell her something else: for example, we tried to push one group forward while the other cleared the Tyranids a bit and it worked. In short, even in this case it is possible to play in advance and see how to make the most of the individual units combined with each other to gain an advantage over the enemy. The combination of forces which, despite being set in advance, in the final version will be possible to build its own army, worked very well and enjoyed the various opportunities it provided and thanks to the presence of Land Speeder.
Aside from bloodthirsty enthusiasm, Warhammer 40,000: Battlesector it is not without flaws and you feel that you have played a material that has yet to be perfected. Camera controls can be a little awkward at times, and there were a few minor lens issues, which wasn’t the place to talk about. In addition, in the two missions tested, some background repetition was observed, and our Blood Angels explained the actual firewall that no Tyranid had ever been able to cross. The developers promised variety in the full game in terms of both approach and hull, and that’s one of the points we need to push more because at the moment, while fun, the game didn’t offer the challenge that seemed narrative premises to emphasize.
It is visually pleasing and the patterns are well defined when you zoom in to see them better. The same goes for sound, which involves presenting synchronized missions, and even some units with some lines of dialogue when they’re selected, move, or attack (nothing amazing, but it’s still nice to hear them “alive”). The sound effects of firearms or hand-to-hand weapons convey this idea very well, helping to identify with the Blood Angels and their mission to clear Baal Secundis of any alien trace.
Warhammer 40,000: Battlesector seems to be offered as a game on the Sanctus Reach line, more refined at some points and with the promise of a variety we hope will hold. There are extremes to the fun experience, despite the fact that it is currently overly repetitive and unresponsive. However, we are talking about two missions out of the total number that make up the main campaign, played with a pre-set army that we may not have in the final version (which is not so fed, of course) and against a series of threats that, in turn, could end up very different. With the exception of a few minor camera failures, there’s a chance it will provide Warhammer fans with a new experience where they can spend hours and hours of their time.