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Saturday | October 20, 2018
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Warhammer Battlemarch (PC)

Warhammer Battlemarch (PC)

Battle March is a standalone expansion to Mark Of Chaos, the latest in a long line of popular strategy games. The new game features the greenskin and dark elf races in the single player campaign as well as adding a ‘world domination’ multiplayer mode playable via Gamespy’s matching service.

Battle March’s new campaign places you in control of Gorbash, the Orc Warboss who was released from the slave pits so he could continue his campaign of terror. Along with his sidekick Wazog, the plan is to inflict as much terror and mayhem as possible.

Just as before, the new game has the same linear path style mechanic and you move around the areas via the overworld map system. The map is rather pointless as you don’t really have many path options throughout the game. You basically move from point to point and then attack or retreat as you go. Every battle you fight you get gold and you can spend this money to enhance your armies (or replace units that were killed in combat). You can also buy potions as well as get the ability to upgrade your armour and weaponry.

Sadly this is about as strategic as the game gets which may appeal to some people, however Total War aficionados will be sorely disappointed with the limited options for detailed combat. The scenarios are designed in a way that you run into groups of enemies, so the course of action is to outnumber these heavily so you don’t sustain heavy losses. Basically this same mechanic is used throughout, if you can outnumber the enemy heavily and charge into battle, you will win.

Some of the maps have little tactics you can learn through trial and error. Which path is the best to take, and sometimes you will need to find and destroy siege weapons that may be laying waste to your troops. One of my favoured tactics was to start a level, save it, then explore the map as quickly as possible to learn locations even if my troops died. Reload the level then handle it correctly with the foreknowledge of all the locations.

The real time battles are obviously the heart and soul of a game like this and unfortunately they are treading old ground, and while they were fresh when they were first released, the series is now somewhat lacklustre and stale. You don’t have a plethora of options for line formations or tactics. You basically have melee units and ranged units. Your troops do have stamina which will affect their ability in combat and morale can be broken causing them to run for their lives. Again, that is as good as it will get.

The real life tactical control is also sadly lacking because once you make your initial placements it is virtually impossible to have any kind of fine control over the units. It is difficult to control and as the game always runs rather fast it ends up a mish mash of combat on screen with you basically hoping and praying that your units will prevail. Invoking heroes special abilities is about as good as I could manage.

These heroes are basically your focus within the game as they can affect the outcome of a battle to quite a significant manner. They have special abilities such as adding speed to units, invisibility, increasing attacks or defence as well as improving upon morale. All of these are normally handled through magic and all your heroes pool the magic (from what I have no idea) so you end up with drained magic resources even if one of your wizards has been standing still throughout the fight. I don’t particularly like this concept as it would have been much more realistic to have each unit draw from his own resources, not some imaginary "pool" which everyone shares.

These heroes also have the ability to enter into a personal style combat with an opposing hero. While they are in this state they are immune from attack outside the one on one combat zone. I quite like this feature however I am not sure of the realism of two guys standing in the middle of a few thousand units and everyone just prancing around them without leaving a mark. Taking out an enemy hero can sometimes even tip the flow of battle in your favour as the opposing forces will lose a huge amount of morale.

Graphically the game is a major let down, the engine is basically two years old and when you zoom in on the units closely it looks awful, even with high end hardware. This doesn’t kill the game completely as you need to remain at a low level of zoom to see all the formations and groups, however the animations are also shoddy and substandard. You frequently see your soldiers hacking at air when the other forces are moving, as if they are caught in a time warp from a few minutes ago.
The audio side of things is better as the voice acting is very good, there are also a plethora of groans and grunts from the units as well as the usual weapon sound effects. It is not class leading by any definition of the term but it seems a masterpiece when compared to the visuals.

As well as single player mode there is skirmish mode with AI players on your side as well as opposing. These are quite fun as you don’t get bogged down with map routing, they are straight head on combat. You have Skaven, Orcs, Hordes Of Chaos, Empire, Gobins, Dark Elves, High Elves at your disposal, so the combat is varied.

As well as skirmish there is also support for Lan games as well as online which can be fun if you end up with the right people.  A new online mode called World Domination can also be quite entertaining. This is a 2v2 or 3v3 structure and you battle within multiple domains. You skirmish with an opposing player and if you win you get control of that section of the map. This continues until one team has control of the world.

Warhammer Mark Of Chaos Battle March is a rather poor strategic game which is showing its age. It isn’t inherently awful, as many die hard fans of the series will find reward from playing with heroes and taking the fight online. For the majority of gamers however the game is rather two dimensional and the control method does not allow for deep strategic options or fine tuning. Most times it ends up a mad charge with your trigger finger ready for hero spells. If you are interested in a deep and involving strategic experience, then look elsewhere, possibly in the direction of games such as Total War, or Supreme Commander. This is one to be missed.



no strategy and limited appeal for the majority of gamers.


Dated engine from years ago, which is not appealing at all.


Good voice acting and music that adds to the atmosphere.

Fans of the series may find reward from the online options.
(not an average)



About Author

Stuart Davidson

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