Iíve always liked the Warhammer universe, regardless of the setting. Be it 40Kís dark future and chaos tainted space noir, or the gritty and perilous world presented in Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay all those years ago. So I was curious to see what kind of job that the developers would do with Warhammer: Mark of Chaos a game set in the Old World and rife with vicious battles.
I can report right from the get go that thereís some decent presentation and some solid gameplay, but there are a number of bugs that mar the whole experience and the longevity of the game might not be nearly as good as the whole Relic-style Dawn of War
RTS with resource management and base building (some of my favourite things).
The game opens with some of the best CGI cinematic action to date, the cinematic (by Digic
brings the Warhammer world alive in a brutal and compelling way. Itís a shame that the rest of the game doesnít quite live up to that vicious spectacle, in terms of storytelling and battles.
You are cast in the role of either: an Empire soldier named Stefan von Kessel or a Champion of the dark forces of Chaos known as Thorgar the Blooded One. Campaigns take place during the same war but are viewed from the respective side, itís nice to see that the war will end differently depending on the side you play Ė but there are some serious problems in the way this comes about.
The story is told in a fairly straightforward way, without much pomp or circumstance through in-engine cut-scenes. Some of these are ok but some suffer from terrible compression and very bad engine camerawork, the whole atmosphere of the Old World should appear to be one of a desperate struggle against the superior and dominant forces of Chaos.
But the Empire doesnít seem to be at all desperate and Chaos doesnít seem to be at all that vile. This spills over onto the world map as well, thereís no real sense of anything happening to the various battle sites and places, thereís no smoke and fire or any kind of real war animation on the main map Ė this I feel would have made things a little more interesting.
Chaos does seem to corrupt the land as it moves but even this isnít really enough to get the blood pumping, the Old World just feels like it could have been any old map slung underneath and that kind of brings you out of the game world.
The developers also have blatantly shown a lot of the twists to the gameís story, they are revealed in such a way as to telegraph them blatantly in your face, youíre left with very little mystery as the story plods along.
The graphics on the other hand are excellent for the game, they have done a wonderful job on making the unit types distinctive and the army customisation is out of this world. It allows you to swap out parts like the head, the arms and the body etc to create a truly unique looking army. When you can alter what kind of barding a horse has then you know youíre onto a decent game.