“There is no truth in flesh, only betrayal.”
“There is no strength in flesh, only weakness.”
“There is no constancy in flesh, only decay.”
“There is no certainty in flesh but death.”
— Credo Omnissiah
The Warhammer 40k universe is a fascinating one. When we think of Warhammer 40k, we mostly think of Space Marines mankind’s greatest warriors created by the God Emperor. Most Warhammer 40k games will feature the Space Marines front and center, but not Warhammer 40K: Mechanicus. This time we play as the Adeptus Mechanicus or the Tech-Priests of the Cult of the Machine based on Mars. These guys are no Space Marines, but Bulwark Studios has made it interesting to play as the Tech-Priests. So bring your Combat Servitors and Skitarii along for one hell of a ride.
Warhammer 40k: Mechanicus is a turned-based strategy game similar to XCOM. Developed by Bulwark Studios and published by Kasedo Games only on the PC and released only for Steam on November 15th, 2018. It starts off with Magos Dominus Faustinius of the Adeptus Mechanicus, who leads an expedition on the newly rediscovered planet of Silva Tenebris. Once a human colony now deserted, Magos hopes to find knowledge that can aid the Imperium. But once the expedition lands on Silva Tenebris, the Tech-Priests soon discover the planet is home to Necron tombs. The Necrons begin to awake within their tombs and Magos has a limited amount of time before they fully awaken and destroy his expedition.
Warhammer 40k: Mechanicus is visually pleasing to the eye. It’s not AAA groundbreaking graphics, but they do justice in showing off the tombs of the Necrons and little details found on the Tech-Priests. Though when it comes to the sound design of the game, this is where the game really shines. The atmospheric soundtrack is perfect for this machine on machine battle as you fight your way through the Necron tombs. Sound effects fit perfectly for each of the Necron units you’ll face and the Tech-Priests themselves. Even down to the movements, Bulwark Studios did an amazing job with the sound design to bring the game to life within the Warhammer 40k universe. The only area I felt was lacking here was the voice acting. The Necrons sounded amazing but the Tech-Priest conversations didn’t have any voice acting, just machine sounds when they spoke. Not a big deal breaker, but worth noting that you’ll be reading their conversations a lot between and during battles.
Like the XCOM games, Warhammer 40k: Mechanicus gives you the ability to choose who you want to go on your missions. You’ll have choices of Tech-Priests, Combat Servitors and Skitarii. You can also customize your Tech-Priests with different augmentation parts that can provide combat abilities and support abilities. You cannot, however, customize the Combat Servitors or Skitarii. Through missions, you can gain upgraded versions of those troops. But the Tech-Priests, on the other hand, are fully customizable down to the skills you want them to learn and the augmentations you attach to them. They are the heavy hitters of your group and will do the most damage to the Necrons. The weapons and augmentation parts are awarded for completing missions or found while on a mission exploring the Necron tombs. These can be added to your Tech-Priest, so long as you have enough augmentation capacity. When you start off your Tech-Priests augmentation capacity will be at a set limit, but will increase as you upgrade your Tech-Priests via their disciplines.
Disciplines are the skills you can buy for your Tech-Priests. And when I mean buy I don’t mean with real-world money. Upgrades to your disciplines are bought with an in-game resource you collect while on missions. There are six different disciplines you can train your Tech-Priests in, and you can mix and match as you see fit. Along with the skills they provide your Tech-Priests, disciplines can also unlock body augmentations. Body augmentations are like armor, each piece will do different abilities such as increasing your health, armor, provide greater movement, dodge attacks, and so on. You can only use one piece of body armor per category, meaning you can’t have two head body augmentation parts added to your Tech-Priest, you must only choose one. The body categories are Head, Chest, Legs, and Hands.
After you finish customizing your Tech-Priests to your heart’s desire (painting them any color you want as well). You will then move on to the missions screen. Here you will choose the missions you want to go on. Unlike XCOM, you will not be punished for picking one mission over another. You can complete any of the missions in an order as you see fit and more missions will unlock as you complete others. I found the best way to pick a mission was to see what rewards it offered for completing said mission. Such as a new weapon, augmentation, even unlocking more Tech-Priests, Skitarii, Combat Servitors, or an upgrade that allows you to bring along more troops. Once you pick your mission, you will be taken to a computer screen that shows you the tomb and its pathways. From this screen, you will make the decisions on where your troops will go from room to room. Each room in the Necron tomb has a different situation. Some rooms are pure combat, others have you making a choice and depending on that choice can harm or help your troops.
The goal of each mission is to head to the rooms with the gold diamond symbol. These are the main mission objectives, and heading to these rooms will always start a combat situation. If you reach and complete every gold diamond room, the mission is complete. You can explore every room of a tomb on a mission if you want, but doing so will increase the timer. Once the timer reaches 100%, the game ends. This timer is the percentage of Necrons awaking within their tombs on the planet. I found it best to stick to the gold diamond rooms. Because every room you venture to and combat situation you fight will increase the percentage and at the end of the mission will add that percent to the overall percentage of the Necron awaking protocol. Most missions will only add 1 to 3 percent to the overall clock. But the longer you stay on a mission and the more the percentage clock increases, the game adds more benefits to the Necrons during that mission. This can mean adding more Necrons during combat, Necrons regenerate faster, and so forth. So its best to get in and out as fast as you can, because completing more missions means more weapons and augmentations for your Tech-Priests.
Combat situations are initiated when you enter a room with a gold diamond symbol or a room with red Necron troops. Once you enter combat with the Necrons each situation will have its own objectives. Nine times out of ten the objective is to scan or destroy Necron terminals, sometimes you have to get all your tech-priests to an escape section of the map, or survive an X amount of rounds. But more times then any you will be scanning terminals. If you scan the terminals you gain bonus resources, but if you destroy them the timer will decrease. This adds another layer to the strategy, to destroy or scan. Do you want that resource to upgrade your Tech-Priests disciplines or more time to explore in the tomb? Of course, the Necrons are not going to let you scan or destroy their terminals without a fight. And you will fight many Necrons and many different types. There are melee focused Necron units, all the way to heavy gun Necrons. Each should be approached with caution, as Necrons are very dangerous. They have high damaging weapons and can regenerate after falling. The good thing is, once they enter regeneration phase you can hit them again and the Necron will disappear. Often times if you befell all the Necrons the combat situation will end with a success. So you don’t have to hit a fallen Necron to succeed, but all Necron troops have to be in this fallen/regeneration phase to win the combat situation.
During combat, each unit will take its own turn. Depending on the initiative will determine who will go first. As each unit takes their turn you have to decide where to move your troops to best combat the Necrons. Combat Servitors and Skitarii troops only get one to two attacks and can move a limited distance during their turn. Tech-Priests can get up to three attacks, depending on what weapons you are carrying, and can move very long distances if you have the augmentations to allow it or spend available Cog Points. Cog Points can be thought of as action points, you have a limited amount and once used they have to be replenished. They can be used to move your Tech-Priests extra distances or spent while using high powered weapons, support augmentations, even some skills may require them. Replenishing Cog Points can be achieved in a few ways. During combat, there are energy towers where you can siphon Cog Points from. This will be the main way to replenish them, but you can also steal Cog Points from the Necrons if you are in melee range and have the right augmentations attached. Also, some Tech-Priest discipline skill trees will allow you to replenish them as well. When a full round of combat is complete, meaning all units take their turn, a new combat round is started. During the new round, the energy towers with the Cog Points replenish, and you can spend any saved up Cog Points to bring in more troops for the battle. If you take to long to befall the Necron units, the percentage clock will increase more and more.
At the end of the day Warhammer 40k: Mechanicus’s gameplay loop is taking on missions, fighting Necrons, customizing your Tech-Priests, and unlocking new augmentations. You’ll rinse and repeat this till the clock reaches 100%. At that point, all missions disappear and you are forced to fight the Necron Overlord of this planet. So make sure to make the right decisions to gain the most out of your missions before fighting the final boss. You will need it.
I’ll have to give credit where it is due, Warhammer 40k: Mechanicus is a fun and interesting look at another side of the Warhammer 40k universe. Who would have ever thought about making a strategy game based on the Adeptus Mechanicus, when the stars of these games are mostly Space Marines. I rather enjoyed the combat and facing off against the dangerous Necron enemy. Customizing my Tech-Priests brought on that addictive feeling of, I can’t wait to try this combination of augmentations against the Necrons. The music is spot on for this game, I really enjoyed listening to the tracks as they play in the background while I destroyed me some Necrons.
But Warhammer 40k: Mechanicus is not without some faults. The exploration of the Necron tombs is pretty boring. Moving from room to room and the only stuff to do in the said room is to play a game of choosing the right answer or picking the right Glyph symbol? I just wish Bulwark Studios made this part of the missions more interesting because I felt bored and wanted to rush to the combat rooms just to get a thrill. I also found that reading the conversations of the tech-priests got a little redundant. I understand it is supposed to give the feeling that they are talking in machine language, but a little voice acting could have helped.
Otherwise Warhammer 40k: Mechanicus is an awesome addition to the ever-growing Warhammer 40k library of interesting and fun video games. If you are a fan of turn-based strategy games and the Warhammer 40k universe, then this is a must buy in my opinion.