Betrayal at Calth was a great game and box set of miniatures from Games Workshop, bringing the Horus Heresy into plastic. Now Steel Wool is releasing the first PC Video Game set in the Horus Heresy and it is based on the Betrayal at Calth box set! TFG Radio, among others, were given early access to the game to play, stream, and review!
As TFG Radio’s resident “tech guy” and video gamer I took it, or swiped it out from under everyone else, upon myself to jump in and start playing and streaming the game just as soon as we had the hot access key in our digital hands! The game is said to play similar to the Betrayal at Calth set available from GW, and Frontline Gaming, with turn based mechanics. The game is also designed with VR in mind, and that is readily apparent once you’ve jumped in and played the game for just a few seconds. It’s pretty obvious how the game play would be more fun with a VR set up.
I’m a firm believer that the best way to review a game is by watching someone play it rather than reading a text based review of something so visual. Embedded below is a recording of my first play through of the Early Release campaign on the TFG Radio Twitch channel.
The game is a turn based strategy game that utilizes the same “hex” style maps as the board game. The player controls an “army”, more like small detachment, of Ultramarines as they attempt to consolidate what’s left of their forces and defend Calth against the traitorous Word Bearers. It is the first major video game set in the 30k setting as opposed to the 40k setting. The game play is fun and smooth, the sound is great, and the music is fun too. The controls are intuitive and easy to understand, the walk through makes it even more so. The Camera is really well designed, with VR in mind, and it’s designed after the idea that you’re viewing the game from the perspective of a Servo Skull. Think of it like playing a Turn Based strategy game with a Drone as your camera! My favorite part, though, is the game play.
Each hex is occupied by a “squad” of 4 Space Marines, who can be kitted out in various ways. Bolters, sergeants, Plasmaguns etc. Depending on the weapons you give the units they do better jobs, obviously. A squad with flamer and Sarge will be better at assaulting, while a squad with a Plasmagun is better at destroying terrain. The coolest aspect of the game is that it really feels like it takes place in the GW 30k setting, some terrain can be destroyed, which can reveal enemy units etc. The game itself isn’t just a move and shoot, wipe the enemy off the board and win style Turn Based game either. There are specific objectives with multiple avenues for success. One of the things I found was awesome when playing the Early Release campaign, which is not the entire game it’s only 4 missions, was how the final mission really required you to do something that goes against every fiber of my GW/Space Marine fanboy side. Run your Ultramarines to the get away points as fast as possible and forget about sweeping the enemy from the area! It took me a solid 3-4 attempts before I understood fully, what to do, and how to achieve it. It was excellently done and made you play in a way that was both interesting, and unexpected.
The setting is really well done, and if I had a VR set it would only be more immersive. While the graphics aren’t top notch, they are really good for a game that is VR ready. A VR game is built quite differently in terms of graphics so while a game like Eisenhorn, or even Space Marine, may seem more visually advanced; the VR concept and controls make it so this game will appear less stunning in terms of detail but will feel much more immersive than other offerings from the GW 30k/40k universe. This game has me quite excited, for the first time, about the prospect of trying out some VR games; the controls alone feel like they’re made for VR and the camera definitely is programmed with VR in mind.
As the game developers put out more content I can only see the game improving. The next steps for us at TFG Radio with the early release is to play a few games in Multiplayer mode live on our Twitch channel, and play any additional content the developers release for the solo campaign. Who knows, maybe we can even get Reece or Frankie in on the action and we can see whose PC gaming skills are better, live on the internet!
Check out the TFG Radio Twitch page and give us a follow so you can get notifications when we go live with our twice monthly Twitch talk show about 40k, and when I stream games! You can also follow TFG Radio on YouTube in case you miss the live streams. See you at LVO 😉
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