It seems the curse of GW games adapted to PC has struck yet again. Like many of the GW PC games I have reviewed/played, on turn one I was filled with excitement at the massive potential there could be in this title (I have never played the first one) and by turn 15 I was clicking auto-battle with my head in one hand elbow resting on my desk day-dreaming about what could have been. I have completed the content given to me on normal and hard and it all felt exactly the same and brutally boring, not to mention brain numbingly non-strategic. At one point my mind was making parallels to mobile "stategy" games I have played. Tons of "mechanics" most of them automated the rest non-crucial to actually winning or progressing. There are a ton of menus, upgrades, ships, weapons, planets, and buttons to click yet within 10 minutes of playing I came to realize almost none of it meant anything and added absolutely nothing to the game. Throwing a bunch of spices and A-1 sauce on a bad steak doesn't change the fact that it is still a bad steak. Not my best metaphor. My point is that in the entire first sector of both campaigns I did nothing, no upgrades, no mines, no space stations I just added ships to my fleet and right clicked. The chaos ships never once attacked and when they did I was warned ahead of time...??? I took Cadia on my first non-tutorial turn and it was all quest based and scripted. Absolutely no replayability and no grand strategy element. No sense of urgency, or planning...or strategy...was needed in the campaign map part of the game so the devs added an arbitrary "urgency" meter to railroad things along. This game needed a more sanbox(y) element, kind of like a Total War campaign, pick a faction and get plopped into the 40k universe to shape it's starways as you like, every playthrough could be totally different. not this highspeed mag train of a railroad I've experienced so far. What was the point of having a campaign map with upgrade menus, and points of interest and planets and this and that when the entire game is so obviously developed to race you from one generic battle to the next. God I was so excited the mere potential; heavily customizable ships, nope they are all basically the same as far as gameplay is concerned, nothing like the tabletop version, drifting hulks! Sweet I can put together a hodge podge fleet of stolen enemy ships!? Nope. Yawn. Can I at least paint them? Nope. How about swapping ships between my fleets. Hell nope. This one made my brain 'urt. That and the complete lack of zoom levels on the campaign map and battlefield...I love scrolling aimlessly for 30 seconds through a sector trying to find everything, why is it that i cannot simply flick my middle finger down my mouse wheel and get a nice wide scope of any system I am in? It felt so awkward that I kept instinctively doing it and being forced into the pointless multi-sector view. I spent most of the time wanting to be able to do a ton of stuff I couldn't, ignoring most of the stuff I could and not understanding the point of the rest. All in all I have to say I am severely dissapointed in the pre-release campaign, I mean either stay true to the table-top version or remake it into your own game, not some bastardized mediocre mixture of both that it seems to be. But fanbois will be who they are and I am sure they will make a decent amount of money and everyone will love it, because gamers are like abused dogs nowadays, desperate for any scrap of food and a nice word from their masters. I just read a thread, "best strategy game of 2018?". This was before I had gotten very far in the campaign so all I commented on was the fact that it is 2019...but christ, really, are our standards this low? There is no strategy to be found at any level in this title. As for the actual battles yes, you CAN play them strategically...you can also eat a snickers bar with a knife and fork with a nice bib on...but why the f&ck would you? Group everything together and either hit auto-engage or better yet right click the closest ship until something comes off cooldown and everything is dead. pausing and carefully planning or even micro-managing in real time made no difference in how well I did vs just auto-engaging or right clicking and hitting command cooldowns. Well, perhaps the speed of the battle itself...those plasma bombs are insane... I started a battle last night got up made coffee, pissed, talked to my wife and came back to a victory screen. "Strategy". It is almost like the devs knew how tedious gameplay became after 5 minutes so they just made everything automatable. And that is the real problem with the game, because yes I know everyones rebuke is going to be, "It's meant to be played against other people" or "Nobody plays single player." well, friends it is being sold as a strategy title and the actual battles themselves, pvp or AI, are anything but strategic. Just like my gym teacher used to say when he forced the boys to all take showers together, "If you've seen one you've seen 'em all!" The ships all have the same weapons, ranges, stats, style, armor, etc. All the batlles feel like the one before. A giant pot of mashed potatoes separated, molded into different shapes and called different things is still just mashed potatoes people! Damn, I must be hungry tonight that is my third food metaphor...This game could have been something great, it really could have. I have been tasked with writing a release review on this title so here's me hoping after sector one/post-release there a plethora, a cornicopia of MEANIGFUL options that open up in the campaign that are locked behind story progression or something. As of right now I'd recommend taking your hard earned dosh and bolstering the Blood Bowl II player base or buying one of the Total War: Warhammer titles, or food.
Wall Of Text critically hits you.
Besides that - i partially agree with you and disagree at the same time.
Yeah the choices you can make do seem underwelming.
On the other side i have the impression that the entire first sector of each campain is just really trivial tutorial content. Maybe even some stuff in the next sector.
So yeah - the choices have to be "underwelming" - less impactful - because the designers want to protect you from completely fucking up.
On the other side that means the exciting stuff comes (hopefully) later.
Imagine what kind of impression you would have from Total War: Warhammer if only playing 10-15 rounds without the higer tech - maybe conquering only the first province.
Personally i am going to try it out and see for my self if its fun or not.
For those who dont want to risk it i am pretty sure there will be a few content creators on youtube and twich to watch first and buy after
First: Emperor be damned, use some points etc.! The Emperor gave us the Gothic language and letters for a reason, use it properly. Couldn't read past the first few lines because it is just a massive wall of text hurting my eyes.
Nonetheless this already confirms my suspicion: You think the tutorial sector already shows the whole game experience. I played the campaign closed beta and believe me, you are not even close. Expect counter invasions, incursions, rebellions and pressure from all sides. You have seen probably 3-5% percent of the game play, and this is only the very easy tutorial. Wait for the full game.
I agree with your points, but only because I haven't seen what the rest of the campaign has to offer.. It's very clear to me that what you start with is just a tutorial area... For the Space Marines campaign, I managed to level up twice, and this in turn already allowed me to have larger fleets, and this was just in the first tutorial sector of the game.
This just makes me look forward to the larger areas, because it's bound to get more intense, right now, I did feel limited, I did feel like my choices didn't mean all that much and I could very easily rush through that first system without so much as a single worry, the emperor would most definitely protect.
But that's the point I think. It's like when you start a game like Final Fantasy 7, you start off with enemies you can easily beat, that have no or just one gimmick, very basic, very simple untill you learn more of the game and that's when fights become more interesting.
I bet it's the same with this game, maybe I'm going to be wrong, I sure hope not, but I at least right now feel like the campaigns have a looooot more to offer beyond that first sector.
Like for example, the threat building meter, it builds up, you can't do anything about that, but once the second sector was opened up for me and it was back to zero for the new sector, I now had points I could spend on reducing the threat. This means that the game is giving me the option to either save those points for harder future threats, or use them to reduce it now. Deepening that layer, and this in combination with all kinds of other structures on planets that don't SEEM to do anything to change the gameplay currently "Threat reduction etc", I bet it's going to get a lot more interesting and a lot larger in scale!