Before this game came along I would never have put Warhammer 40k and Plants vs Zombies in the same sentence, but apparently the folks behind the franchise thought that the grim dark future of the 40,000 millennium really needed a lane defence game. Right.
(I will stop picking on the format at some point. Maybe. Okay, definitely not).
It works, to some extent, but when you think of the venerated franchise’s history, you think huge, bloody battles, spectacular campaigns and religious zealotry. In Storm of Vengeance, 40K’s violent allure is stripped down to some rather two dimensional queueing. Based on a conflict between Dark Angels and Orks (Usually a promising combination), it promises grandiose strategy elements that it just never delivers on. The battlefield is split into five lanes with building plots at each end. Units trudge across the battlefield, swapping blows along the way, and eventually someone wins by busting through enemy buildings (It’s almost always just the person who churned the most units out).
The longer you play, the more you realise that any attempts at actual strategy are entirely fruitless – typical spam rush victories are essentially the only things on offer here and will get you through most of the campaign – until enemies start spitting out ridiculously hard to kill units at a much faster rate than you can. You can adapt and shift focus to taking out the buildings that are spawning your enemy’s resource points, but this has no effect and the enemies keep coming just as fast and thick. What’s the point in spending any time playing a strategy game that doesn’t reward strategy?
Compacted down to such a basic level, the 40K world looks bland and crude. It’ll naturally be fans of the franchise who will be thinking about giving Storm of Vengeance a go, and these are people used to the beautifully bleak landscapes of Dawn of War and Space Marine. Or better yet, painstakingly hand painted/crafted plastic scenery. There is not one aesthetically pleasing sight throughout, and with such a rich bank of Warhammer artwork for inspiration, it’s almost a war crime. Storm of Vengeance isn’t just boring, it’s actively unpleasant to look at sometimes.
It has a few good ideas – when units are produced they become cards which can then be deployed in any lane you like – but it’s hard to pick them out from all the dross. The entire game just feels uninspired, and as you progress through the campaign and the game begins outright cheating in order to slow your inevitable victory by numbers any last dregs of fun are slurped down into the muddy abyss.
There’s something undeniably seedy about Storm of Vengeance, too – it’s essentially just a reskin of a game released by the same developers called Ninja Cats vs Samurai Dogs, an iOS title that obviously didn’t do very well. Pro tip – when reskinning something, go for more character and less Leatherface. With the Warhammer license in arms, it’s almost as though they’re attempting to prey on the considerable Games Workshop fanbase – people who will buy a game simply on the merits of having the 40K name attached. I’m one of those people, and Storm of Vengeance is a cheap shot at making a quick buck.
I wish I could offer some helpful criticism but in this case, there aren’t really any redeeming features. Just a heartless, soulless attempt at making money out of a bad game. Creative politics aside, it’s just not worth your time or money – you can do much better things with £6.99. Start smoking. Feed a homeless man. Donate to your controversial political party of choice. Buy a decent game from an indie studio who don’t just reskin their failures and hope no-one notices. All a better use of your time and money.
Don’t be deceived by the high standard set by previous Warhammer titles. This is a bland collection of middling, overdone ideas with a prestigious brand name bolted onto it. Not even very well bolted – more slapped on with bits of old chewing gum and paperclips. Even a fantasy background as rich and bloody as 40K can’t make a game as underdeveloped as this compelling. Maybe next time the devs will remember to leave some strategy in their strategy games.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.