The truth is, anyone who has spent any time poring over White Dwarf magazine or squandering pocket money on blister packs of Orc Boyz or Dark Elves will get a kick (or nostalgic pang) from Warhammer: Battle March. In fact, it’s quite clear that it has been created in an attempt to satisfy fans of the tabletop games rather than any veteran RTS players out there.
Having to build a custom army from the extensive Games Workshop catalogue (including Imperial, Chaos, Elf, Dark Elf, Skaven and Greenskin warriors), equipping your generals with powered-up goodies and sending them into combat sticks satisfyingly close to the essence of playing ‘real’ Warhammer. Unlike many RTS titles, Battle March ditches on-the-fly resource collection, troop training or base construction; just deploy your chosen army on the battlefield and start issuing marching orders.
Which makes Battle March sound like it’s a streamlined and simple strategy game. Unfortunately, beyond basic instructions, the control system is infuriatingly convoluted, with almost nonsensical combinations of triggers, D-pad and face buttons required for the most simple of maneuvers. And, sadly, it makes some of the more interesting elements of strategic combat (such as casting magic or initiating special moves) quite a bit too fussy to use in the heat of battle.
Ultimately, this puts Warhammer: Battle March in an unfortunate position. The pace of the action is too quick for the control system, sitting at odds with the slow and deliberate nature of the tabletop game, as well as being an awkward conversion of the PC title on which it’s originally based. That said, at its core, Warhammer: Battle March can stage some challenging battles thanks to the finely balanced races (developed over some 25 laborious years by the long-haired Games Workshop elves). But it certainly can’t put up a challenge to the likes of Total War.
Sep 23, 2008