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Warhammer 40,000: Regicide

Score: 88%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Hammerfall Publishing
Developer: Hammerfall Publishing
Media: Download/1
Players: 1 - 2 (Online)
Genre: Strategy

Graphics & Sound:

I was pretty high on Warhammer 40,000: Regicide when I previewed it a few months ago, and my opinion hasnít changed much with the official release. As someone who has always wanted to learn to play Chess, but lacked the patience to actually learn to play, Regicide is a great thing. Itís the basics of Chess, with the added strategy of shooting other pieces from across the board.

I have a pretty decent laptop. It is nowhere near a top-flight gaming rig (or even some higher-end laptops), but it does its job admirably. I had to make a few tweaks Ė such as shutting off some effects Ė but even then, Regicide looks really good. I actually found turning some off, such as one that obscured the parts of the board with tree limbs, provided a distraction-free gameplay experience, which is what you ultimately want. At its core, Regicide is a Chess game Ė so expecting mind-blowing visuals on par with other major PC releases might be a bit far-fetched. At the same time, Regicide is a damn good looking game of Chess. That said, if you want flair, Regicide can deliver.

For me, however, itís the details that make Regicide. The outright cool aesthetic Games Workshop applies to its licenses is what made me a fan long before trying the tabletop games. I had at least 3 armiesí worth of figures on my shelf and spent hours flipping through the free Games Workshop catalogs from my local hobby shop. With this in mind, Regicide looks really good. What it might lack in spectacle it makes up with smaller details. Units look like physical figures and thereís a healthy selection of unlockable skins for your units. Additionally, the little touches made to each 8x8 game board to make it look like a battlefield are impressive in a minimalist sort of way. The only real disappointment is you're limited to Marines and Orcs, cutting out some of the more interesting Warhammer 40K races.

On the audio front, Regicide doesnít shine as brightly. Audio is alright, but nothing about it really stands out other than to say it blends well with the rest of the game and provides a nice environment for thinking.


Gameplay:

Out of the gates, Warhammer 40,000: Regicide offers two gameplay variations. Classic Mode is the vanilla game of Chess with a Warhammer 40K overlay. The pieces may look different, and capturing pieces comes with some ultra-violence, but itís the same game people have been playing for decades. No ranged attacks required.

Regicide Mode is a different game altogether. Some of the basics of Chess are retained, such as the 8x8 board and traditional piece movements. Each turn, you can move one of a handful of pieces the same way you would in a normal game of Chess. Where Regicide Mode differs is the addition of action phase. Pieces have a limited number of attack skills they can use to either eliminate or damage other pieces. Essentially, this means you arenít limited to capturing pieces in the normal sense (which, I should mention, is still an option), but can choose to toss a grenade or shoot another piece to get them off the board.

Of the two, Regicide Mode will likely get the most attention from players. Classic Mode is okay, and offers a great game of Chess, but the added strategy involved with positioning pieces and using their abilities adds a fun, new level of gameplay. Basic abilities like shooting can disrupt most traditional Chess strategies, while more advanced abilities can completely shift the balance of matches.

Both modes are available as online variants, while Regicide Mode also offers a short Campaign. As you progress through Campaign, you'll level your pieces, unlocking new abilities and progressing the stats of your pieces. Also of note is that the story isn't half bad, so it's an enjoyable experience.


Difficulty:

Another advantage offered by Regicide Mode in Warhammer 40,000: Regicide is it evens the playing field just a bit for newcomers. Even the best Chess players will have to rethink their usual strategies when faced with piece abilities. A strong understanding of basic movement fundamentals are an advantage, but only in the sense that you get an instant-kill option if youíre able to maneuver a piece into a kill position. Doing so will prove difficult once the opposing player starts tossing grenades or sharpshooting your pieces.

You can adjust A.I. settings, though even on easier difficulty settings, luck plays a huge role in your success. Even if you maneuver your pieces in perfect positions, thereís always a chance an attack will misfire or an opponent will hit big on an attack and take a piece out.

The included tutorials are great, though youíll want to work through Campaign to get a feel for how everything works. The 50 or so puzzles offer a variety of situations to work through, allowing you to think through the ways your attacks can be best utilized, as well as how to better manage the marriage of special attacks and Chess rules.


Game Mechanics:

The reason Regicide Mode is so compelling is there isnít necessarily a "safe" place to be on the board. By normal rules, you know where to position pieces to keep them out of harmís way. Thereís always the knowledge that as long as Piece A is in front of Piece B, your opponent canít get to it. While these rules will matter in Regicide Mode Ė effectively protecting the piece from an instant kill Ė your opponent can still chip away at the piece, eventually killing it if you fail to counter the attacks.

There are, thankfully, some limits to what or how many special moves a player can use per turn. For instance, youíre allowed only one move per turn, as in a normal game of Chess. After this, players are allotted a limited number of points to spend on special moves. Additionally, you wonít always have a full complement of pieces to use, especially during the Campaign, limiting your access to the types of attacks. Most of the non-movement based strategy involves managing your cache of points and getting the most out of them. If you want, you can have all of your pieces use weaker, low-cost attacks or go for an expensive, powerful attack.

The trick is, damage isnít guaranteed, so you canít rely solely on attacks to win. Every attack has an accuracy rating and it is possible to whiff on guaranteed percentages, requiring you to keep those basic Chess moves in mind. More times than not, youíll end up shooting your way through games, but sneaking in a few Chess techniques wonít hurt and could even work to your advantage.

The idea of a Chess hybrid isnít exactly new. I remember playing them as far back as the Commodore 64 during my first few attempts to learn to play. Clearly those attempts didnít end in a lifetime love of the game, but Iíve always remained interested in the hybrid concept.

Warhammer 40,000: Regicide is a great take on the concept. Will it finally get me into Chess? Probably not, but it's still a lot of fun.


-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

Minimum System Requirements:



OS: Windows Vista; Processor: 2.4 GHz Dual Core (2.4 GHZ); Memory: 3 GB RAM; Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GT / ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT or greater; DirectX: Version 9.0c; Hard Drive: 4 GB available space; Sound Card: DirectX Compatible
 

Test System:



OS: Windows 10; Processor: Intel Core i7 2.2Ghz; Memory: 8GB; DirectX: 11; Hard Drive: 500 GB

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