Warhammer 40K has a troubled history in gaming. More often than not, the games using the license have been duds. Now that I’ve seen some Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus at E3 2018, I can safely say this is one to keep an eye on. The tactical RPG is looking to release before the end of this year on PC.
You take control of the Adeptus Mechanicus, one of the armies in the Imperium. As Magos Dominus Faustinius, you lead an expedition into the rediscovered planet of Silva Tenebris. It's full of forgotten tech to discover, and of course infested with plenty of Necrons to do battle with.
Mechanicus is a grid-based tactical RPG that gives you the freedom to make your heroes however you want. You’ll have some basic units you can use, called troops (read: fodder), that each have their own unique abilities, but the real fun comes with the Tech-Priests.
You’ll have a stable of Tech-Priests to equip, with (and my memory may be incorrect) something like 12 different slots of gear to give you free reign to make them as you wish. Some of that gear will of course be as simple as giving you certain defense buffs (each piece having a unique model), but plenty will have their own abilities as well. Those who are familiar with 40K as a wargame will be at home with this range of customizability, as when you put your models together you make those same decisions. Though, Mechanicus will offer the Tech-Priests a whole lot more variety than 40K.
Not only will each Tech-Priest have a bunch of gear to attach to them, there will be classes to pick and choose talents from as well. Those offer the chance to get even more abilities and to build a preist that is maybe geared towards exploring the map, doing damage, or maybe buffing your units. You won't be locked into one particular class either, so you could make a tank/healer combo, or a scout that can do a bunch of damage.
The combat is your normal tactical RPG affair, with things like cover and range to take into account. You’ll move units around, use abilities and weapons on enemies, then they’ll do the same to you. Unfortunately, the demo didn't have the time to get into the nuances of it all, but there will be many different weapons and abilities to contend with in Mechanicus.
Throughout your game, you'll unlock Cants by doing things like killing a certain number of enemies, killing some a certain way, and other things down that line. These Cants, of which there will be quite a few, give you certain buffs in combat. You’ll get to choose three before you deploy into combat, each of which can only be used once and you can only use one on any given turn. These offer things like increased range, movement, damage, etc.
The developer told me an interesting bit of information that shows they are trying to make the game as thematic to the 40K universe as possible, wanting to make mechanics around pre-existing lore or mechanics from the wargame. They wanted some kind of reload feature in the game for an extra bit of decision for the player to make, but they didn’t want to make it just a boring overheating mechanic. Instead, they’ve looked into the Machine Spirit. Essentially, the Adeptus Mechanicus believe that spirits inhabit and control machinery and technology. The idea here is that the Tech-Priest will have a "reload" time so as not to anger the spirit within the gun.
Between battles, there will be little events where you will have to make a choice, sort of like what is done in FTL. Those will of course have effects on your party, offering chances to learn more about the enemy you'll fight in your next battle, maybe give you resources or buffs for the next battle, and more. They also serve as opportunities to get into the story of Mechanicus more, which is being written by longtime 40K writer, Ben Counter.
With developers obviously passionate about the universe and some interesting mechanics to back it up, Mechanicus is shaping up to be a game worth checking out. If 40K interests you, or Tactical RPGs, keep an eye out here for more information as Mechanicus makes its way towards release sometime this year.
Check out our E3 2018 Coverage Hub for all of the latest E3 info.