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Being a long time warhammer fan I was in two minds about getting this as I had a feeling they wouldn't be able to capture the Warhammer feel to it.
Personally I think they haven't and was a little disappointed with it, I’ll let you make your own mind up.
~ Background ~
For many the Warhammer experience started of as either board games or table battles. Basically you would have plastic or lead models of a fantasy nature to battle it out with eachother - easy ? Not quite, the board games were easy but the table top battles required you working out points to get the best army for the points and even then your strategy you fail.
Warhammer is hugely popular with children, teenagers and adults alike, although adults tend to hide it a bit more. Like other games there is great satisfaction in winning by creating a good army with the same points target as the other side.
The fantasy side of Warhammer can be split into normal fantasy and futuristic fantasy. Mark of Chaos is based on what I call normal fantasy, in that you have Humans, Elves, Dwarves, Goblins, Orcs, Wizards, beasts etc
This would go on forever if I covered the whole of Warhammer so now back on track to Warhammer Mark of Chaos.
~ The Package ~
Not to sure if you can get it on CD but mine was on DVD, it came with the manual, DVD and promotional leaflets. Nothing special, not really much else I can say about it.
~ Installation ~
Installation was easy, simply put dvd in and follow on screen instructions, after installation it put icons on the desktop as most games do. To install this game you apparently need the following minimum specification ..
I'll provide more info at end of review.
~ The Intro ~
Once the game is installed and you click the icon the intro kicks in and starts with a little story of the Empire which then flicks to a cut scene. As soon as the scene came up I got excited, the characters in the movie looked almost real. The graphics are very good and the battle scene that takes place is done very well, after seeing the end of the intro I was thinking I can't wait to play game.
~ The Game ~
It is as they state based on the table top game in that you can have units of characters or single special characters that you give orders to and position in what you think would be a good strategy/tactic. It is real time strategy in that it is not turn based like the table top game so you don't have time to stop think and adjust units while it's the other players turn.
The only time you get to think is during the start of a battle, known as deployment phase. You have to place your units where you think would be good within a certain boundary, once done you hit the deployment button and the battle starts. It is then up to you and whether you succeed or fail by the tactics you use.
There are two modes of play as well, single player and multiplayer. Single player being the campaign mode and multiplayer being the online play.
~ Campaign ~
This starts of as either Empire or Chaos, I’ve not tried the Chaos yet as I’m currently working through the Empire. Obviously the further you get into the campaign the harder it gets. Not liking the Empire myself I never used them in table top battles but soon found out that you are best to stay away from combat and use ranged weapons. It seems to be the case with this game in that ranged weapons rule the battlefield. It seems you me that providing you have ranged units you can panic the enemy more and then slaughter them as they run away. One thing to remember is as in the table top battle, don't forget a unit that has runaway as they might just compose themselves and flank you !!
During the campaign you will also get to play as Elves, what is disappointing is that the money you gain as Empire is then also shared when you are Elves. This means you have to plan your money out very carefully. If you play as Chaos the same applies and you will get a chance to play chaos and Skaven. You will get to see other armies but they are controlled by the pc.
If I go too much into the campaign I might spoil it for some people but I will state that if you want to win, get some ranged units and keep them out of combat ;).
~ Multiplayer ~
As it suggests multiple people can play against eachother, not having tried it myself I can't really review this bit but you can chose your side and units and pit them against strangers or friends. The same rules apply as in the campaign. One good thing is you can create your own army and customise it so it can be used for online play.
~ User Friendly ~
It is fairly user friendly in that most is done with mouse and arrow keys, units can be move by simply clicking on them and right clicking where you want them to go, if you keep the button down you can choose which direction you want them to face too. If you have units too close together it can sometimes be hard to pick the correct unit, but in saying that you do have your units listed at the bottom of the screen so you select them down there.
You can zoom in and out of the map but I find it too sensitive, not sure if you can turn down the settings but when zoomed in it is slightly harder to control units.
In general the game is fairly user friendly so that someone who has never played this type of game can easily pick up how to play it.
~ Graphics ~
Very detailed both zoomed in and out, I can see why you need a good card to run game. Due to this you might have to turn down graphics if you experience problems, even with my system I am experience bottlenecking. Even though the graphics are great you probably won't spend much time zoomed in looking at them. There are cut scenes through the game which I thought were disappointing, they simply looked like ingame footage converted to video and added a blur to it.
~ Cost ~
Costs seem vary from place to place as usual with it being £34.99 in some and £17.99 in others. When I bought it, it was £26.99 and I had a £20 voucher to use which meant I only had the game for £6.99. For this was really good as I’m glad I never paid full price for game. There are collectors editions out which are more expensive again but I don't see the point.
~ Summary ~
A good game to pass time, good graphics and sound effects, to me seems to be a re-skinned version of the Total War series. If you like Warhammer you might be disappointed by the game, if you’re new to Warhammer you might like it. If you are going to pay full price for game I’d say look at other games such as Company of Heroes, although it is a WWII based game it is really great.
~ Specifications ~
Do not read further if you don't care about machine specs..
Additional System Requirements: Sound: Any 100% DirectX 9.0c-compatible 16-bit card Hard Drive Space: ~3 GB Input: 100% Windows 2000/XP compatible mouse and keyboard Internet: broadband Internet connection