Necromunda: UnderHive Wars, Rogue Factor, is a translation of a table strategy board in a video game format. This is another of the many games based on the Warhammer franchise, and it presents intriguing aspects that are worth the detour, even if you are not an unconditional fan of Warhammer. In the end, however, it lacks greatness because of its general lack of varnish.
This is a tour strategy game, but not quite the way you expect if you have played games like Xcom, The Banner Saga or Wasteland. In Necromunda: Underhive Wars, there are some differences: first, your point of view is not an isometric, aerial view, but a third-person view at ground level. It is crucial because it requires you to see the environment from the limited point of view of the person you control. It seems a little embarrassing compared to what I’m used to, but I admit that after playing, it’s a nice additional strategic consideration that adds a challenge to each battle.
Secondly, Necromunda’s combat arenas: Underhive Wars have several levels, which you have to move between fighting using stairs, elevators or even ziplines. If a typical TBS game is chess, so it’s 3D chess. You must take into account the movement between the levels in attack but also in defense against enemy movements. It’s not just a nice wink to the origins of the game on table, but adds a new series of new wrinkles to the usual tates like.
In combat, you control several characters against several enemies, as usual, and spend points of action between movement and combat. Unlike some games, there are no grids that limit your directional movement – instead, you have a luminous ring indicating the furthest measure in which you can go in any direction. This gives more freedom, but it can also seem imprecise and I was sometimes not sure, for example, from the distance I could advance once I changed their level or that I had arrived at the top of a stair. It’s a bit of a problem when it’s so important where you find yourself and how you are exposed to the next attack of an enemy.
Overall, battles in Necromunda: Underhive Wars are… OK. The basic combat system and the third-person view are good, which makes me feel more involved in action than an isometric grill style arena. However, battles in their ensemble are not as fun as they should, because they take place very slowly. Your towers are followed by enemy movements, which you have to monitor and sometimes they take some time. In addition, large combat arenas, on several levels, mean that you often have to move a little before you can attack an enemy. I found that the game forbid me to get closer to getting a good percentage of chances of making damage, and it meant a lot of tricks running to a new position. So, imagine both your fighters and the enemies of the IA running enough slowly and put yourself in a position most of the time, and you have the idea why the fight could be better.
Larger is usually better, but in this case I would have liked to see smaller and simpler environments that forced the direct combat. I am good to have to think about blanket and angles when I play a strategic combat game, but I was not a fan of unnecessary distances involved in Necromunda: Underhive Wars. The enemy movements of the IA also add to frustration, because they often move away from you or illogically, which has extended the battles or simply irritated me. It’s even worse if the IA is part of your team. I also encountered frustrating moments of illogism, like a curious inability to use a gun on an enemy when I got closer, and to have to move to a melee weapon to attack. Or, I might be right behind an enemy, but I was told that I still had 70 to 80% chance to touch them. According to my experience, the AI and the combat system always thought they needed a little polishing.
Another thing that was to be further expanded was the tutorial aspect of the campaign. Although it provides a series of 15 preparation fights that allow you to learn and practice the basics, they are not quite well explained. Much of the learning in Necromunda: UnderHive Wars is a test and an error. All the different systems and mechanisms essential to combat are only partially explained at first, and I found myself to have to fend for me alone by picking up a lot of bases. In general, Necromunda: Underhive Wars had the impression that it was necessary a little more work to smooth the rough edges.
On the positive side, Necromunda: Underhive Wars has very beautiful cinematic scenes between the battles of the countryside. They are very busy and well rendered, and as with most Warhammer games that I played, they use their rich narrative source. In the countryside, you control a gang, Escher, while they fight other “houses” – Orlock and Goliath are the other two – for power in underhive, a massive (and terribly dark) system of tunnels and caves. The characters are well expressed with a cheeky and nihilistic dialogue, although there are some exceptions. I was not in love with their totally unimaginable personalities that made it difficult to really worry about what happened to them – maybe it’s the point; After all, they must be combat consumables.
When you finish battles, you can enjoy a quite robust customization feature. You use points to improve active and passive skills and characters’ statistics, such as intelligence, which could help you fight, for example to improve your target or increase your scope. I liked the ability to train the team I wanted, then take them to fight again and again in the multiplayer of the game. If you are part of these players who like a lot of customization in your games, you will like Necromunda: Underhive Wars.
There is a lot to love in Necromunda: Underhive Wars, and there are some fresh ideas that bring a welcome change to the type of strategy in turn. But these positive points are disappointed by a general lack of polish and finish. The fight extends a little more than it should, and the initial phase of learning the game is quite frustrating for newcomers, without the help of developers. If you are a fan of the Warhammer universe, and especially if you played the Necromunda table game, you should absolutely take a look at it. Otherwise, you may want to wait a bit for some updates.
- BEAUTIFUL VERTICAL TACTICAL GAMEPLAY
- Well done scenes
- A lot of customization
- The fight is too slow
- The IA is stupid
- Not enough help for beginners