When you think about it, there are many games that could be awesome in Virtual Reality. And with that, tabletop games are no exception. Breaking out of what could only be imagined before, Warhammer 40K is certainly one that could please the massive fan base. The Horus Heresy: Betrayal at Calth has just been released, does it depict what players have only dreamed of before?
Set in the world of Warhammer 40K, The Horus Heresy: Betrayal at Calth is a turn-based strategy game based on the origins of The Adeptus Astartes, part of the 31st Millenium. These soldiers enter the depths of Calth to wage war upon the Word Bearers.
Utilising the assortment of Legionnaires, Veterans, Sergeants, Terminators and Dreadnaughts each with their own advantages and disadvantages, you have the freedom to play as you wish to strategically defeat the villains.
As a newcomer to the franchise, I found it took a little time getting used to each character type and which way to best use them in battle, but I eventually managed to figure it out.
What I can say about this game is the attention to detail that stay true to the lore of the tabletop game. The artwork is spot-on, the character armour has the correct patterns and even the missile launchers are designed to the old models, a clear reference to the original artwork. I’m told they even use the correct language for the era, so there is definitely a love for the franchise reflected in this game. The only thing I can criticise is that everything looks too clean. These are meant to be experienced warriors, but nothing is showing battle damage. This could have added a little extra to the visual presentation.
Players have a selection of playing Skirmish and Deathmatch modes, either against AI or in multiplayer, but the campaign is a good place to start as it gives a tutorial on how to control your units as well as giving an understanding of each unit’s attack patterns and weapons. I found this very useful however since many characters look similar aside from a few differences, so attention to detail is key to co-ordinate an effective strategy.
I want to touch on the scenario and location based on the characters at hand. The positioning of this battle against the Word Bearers within the caverns of Calth is questionable for me. I know that the Word Bearers are not a legion that “played nice,” they cause large scale destruction and this game doesn’t reflect that. All the battles are very small scale and they don’t portray the epic scale battles one would expect from Warhammer 40K. There is no mass destruction or large-scale units and weapons that Warhammer 40K is known for and I think that will be this game’s downfall.
Visuals and Audio
I have covered a lot of this already, but I wanted to summarise to secure my views. The Horus Heresy: Betrayal at Calth is very true to the original artwork but it could have been better if they showed existing damage to represent experienced warriors and not new recruits straight out of training camp. The sounds and language are good and correct to the lore.
The Horus Heresy: Betrayal at Calth is worthy of its position within the Warhammer 40K game library, although it didn’t pack the punch of what I expected from the franchise. It has been said that Warhammer 40K is like someone beat you over the head with an actual Warhammer and unfortunately, this game didn’t have that. The epic battles and scale are missing, and I have to say, it feels closer to playing VR chess than Warhammer 40K for me.
Thankyou to Steel Wool Studios for providing a copy of The Horus Heresy: Betrayal at Calth for review purposes.