Mordheim: City of the Damned
E3 2015 Preview
"Mordheim actually works off a free-roaming combat system similar to Valkyria Chronicles and XCOM. This left us baffled as to why they don't really push that point with their PR department."

What do you know about Mordheim: City of the Damned? Have you heard any comparisons? Do you know how the battles function? What's the point of the game? If, like us, you really had no clue, then we've got great news for you. Mordheim: City of the Damned, has been terribly mishandled by the PR department behind it, and it looks fantastic!

Developed as an adaptation of the board game of the same name, Mordheim: City of the Damned places players directly into the Warhammer World universe. A huge comet has crashed into Mordheim, and several factions vie for control over the splintered fragments that are now hidden throughout the city. Players will be tasked with choosing a faction, outfitting troops, then making their way through enemy territory to find and harness each fragment accordingly. Amidst all of the warfare, the comet has also turned Mordheim into a medieval Chernobyl of sorts, and new horrors are born daily.

And well... that's about it for the plot. Each of the four factions will come with at least twenty hours' worth of playtime in the campaign mode. Each unit within that faction can be outfitted accordingly and comes with unique stats and skills. Units will also carry over damage from fights. Perma-death also exists within Mordheim, and even if a unit doesn't die, if they lose a limb or suffer a serious injury, they may be worse off than before. However, it's a nice touch to see units bear the scars of previous battles. Mordheim evens goes so far as to offer replacements for lost limbs, as a soldier who lost a leg can certainly return with a peg leg (YARRRSSSSSSSSS!).

However, where Mordheim really captured us was the combat. Mordheim actually works off a free-roaming combat system similar to Valkyria Chronicles and XCOM. This left us baffled as to why they don't really push that point with their PR department. The good games that use this sort of gameplay are so few and far between, so seeing Mordheim play in such a way was an exciting surprise. Mordheim even goes a step further and includes Action Points on the battlefield allowing players to traverse through levels more quickly and impact the battlefield itself. They've also included additional modes that provide PvP options as well as the ability to generate random maps and battle AI opponents. And to top everything off, Mordheim is still improving. At this time, Early Access is available via Steam, and the devs consistently check with their fanbase to formulate improvements and make adjustments.

So there you have it. A dark, gothic game with a beloved combat system that seeks to improve itself at every turn. Mordheim: City of the Damned will hopefully release fully this year for PC, and we're incredibly excited to see the final product.

E3 2014 Impressions
"I'm not even a Warhammer player, but what I saw of Mordheim: City of the Damned has me highly intrigued."

Games Workshop's Warhammer megafranchise isn't the easiest thing to get your hands on. Tales of the company's ironclad grip on its intellectual property are a thing of legend, which makes the story of Mordheim: City of the Damned all the more impressive. The intrepid code warriors of Rogue Factor took a major chance and put together a working prototype of their game before even securing the rights to the property. Fortunately for them, Games Workshop liked what they had put together, and now here we are, fresh off an E3 viewing of the work-in-progress strategy/RPG hybrid.

The best way I can describe Mordheim is to say that it has all the trappings of a faithful, persistent-world take on the venerable tabletop wargame. You'll put together a band of fighters from one of the universe's many factions (among them the Sisters of Sigmar, Cult of the Possessed, Scaben, humans, with more to be announced and added both before and after release) and engage in strategy-heavy battles, incorporating all the complexities of the tabletop game's ruleset-- though of course with some modifications for the video game world. Each faction will come packing its own single player campaign, as well as exhibition and "ranked" multiplayer battles, and one of the most interesting features of the game is its persistence. Leveling up your units, gathering new weaponry and gear, and your battle history all come along with you between campaign, ranked, and exhibition matches. Taking out enemies online could net you one of their powerful weapons, which you can then use as you please. One of your fighters loses an eye in a ranked match or campaign? He'll be an ocular oddity for the rest of his life (which could, in fact, be cut short at any time). Get your leg chopped off? You'll find it tough to climb the ladders and stairs strewn about the maps.

Speaking of those maps, you'll find two flavors in game: procedurally-generated zones based on certain tilesets (much like the tabletop game), and "landmark" maps, which are prebuilt locations drawing from the IP's rich history. As for how things play out while you're on those blasted-out landscapes, the team is pulling from many of their own favorite games. In the demo, the combination of high-risk tactics and the camera closing following your soldiers gave the fights the same sense of immediacy as Valkyria, but the framework of the Warhammer ruleset kept them intensely tactical, much like the X-COMs of the world.

I'm not even a Warhammer player, but what I saw of Mordheim: City of the Damned has me highly intrigued. The risky but rewarding persistent nature of combat and the faithful recreation of the refined play mechanics of its tabletop parent look to be a winning combination, and the team's passion for the material and desire to continually add to the game after release definitely make this one I'll be keeping both of my eyeballs on. If you're a fan of the property, or of intense strategy RPG action in general, I'd advise you to do the same.

© 2014 Focus Home Interactive, Rogue Factor. All rights reserved.

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