WQ2: End Times
Switch version tested
Review code provided
Warhammer, humbly introduced to the tabletop gaming world back in 1983 is still alive and going strong to this day. Created by Rick Priestly this dark fantasy world has spawned many expansions and versions over the years not only on the table but in the video game and the book industry as well. With rich lore that would rival Tolkien fan’s remain passionate about this dark world of war and chaos. It’s no wonder then that the gaming world has had it’s fair share of entries and now, Warhammer Quest 2 comes to Nintendo Switch and other home consoles, but does this turn-based strategy give players an experience worthy of the name or is it a heretic amongst legends, let’s take a look.
The end times are here. The three-eyed king is leading his armies of chaos as they make their final assault on the old world. Heroes from all races and lands are venturing forth. Sworn enemies stand shoulder to shoulder fighting the daemons of the apocalypse. In short, some evil bastard is up to no good so everyone has to stop bickering and join forces if they are to have any hope of defeating him. Thus the intro to Warhammer Quest 2 provides you with two characters, The Captain of the Empire Marcus Hammerfall and his enemy turned ally, The Dark Elf Sorceress Meharva Darkshade. Venturing through the lands which are comprised of three regions you must fight through dungeons and ruins full of all manner of ghastly enemies in search of a powerful weapon that could tip the scales of war in their favour.
Granted this is not the most original plot but it’s a time tested premise of good versus evil that is a suitable backdrop to what is the true bread and butter of the experience, the gameplay. The majority of your time will be spent progressing through dungeons and slaying monsters for loot, money and experience. Anyone who has played a turn-based strategy before will feel right at home. Each character has a set number of action points per turn, these are presented as white dots around your characters, each action requires a certain amount. Movement takes place via grids that are highlighted on the floor, each space you move will use up one action point. Attacking will consume a set number depending on the type of attack and weapon you are wielding. Action points will also be required to use potions for healing and buffing as well as throwing objects like grenades. Keeping a close eye on your action points and attacking and moving accordingly will be the key to success.
Although you start off with the two main characters you will encounter new allies along the way. Each will have their own class and abilities from Blood Knights, Mages, Archers, Rogues and so on. A full party can comprise of four characters so deciding who to take with you into a dungeon and equipping them with the right weapons and items will be essential. The creatures you encounter along the way are impressively varied and have their own strengths and weaknesses. Each enemy will show an icon for the type of attack it is weak against so ensuring you use the right hero with the right weapons will make monster slaying that much easier.
With a sub name like The Endtime’s, you will naturally expect a foreboding and bleak world full of danger and this is where Warhammer Quest 2 does not disappoint. Each dungeon is littered with monsters and the combat, albeit strategic in nature is also very punishing to the unprepared. Movement, as mentioned before, is to be considered just as much as combat and choosing which heroes to lead the way through these dank environments is a game of chance. The environments tend to become very narrow very often meaning it’s easy to bottleneck your characters behind each other cutting off any opportunities for them to attack. You cannot attack or pass through your own party members so if you open a new door to find a hoard of monsters that your current leader is less effective against it can mean a bit of scrambling around to realign your squad. This bottlenecking can also have an advantage if you can lead enemies down a narrow tunnel to pick them off slowly so it’s always worth scanning ahead to plan your next phase.
The pacing of the gameplay is steady but does have it’s fair share of grind. In between dungeons you can visit towns which will have merchants to buy and sell loot from as well as being the only places you can level up your characters. A fair amount of side quests can be obtained but I found the item drop balance to be slightly off. There were times where I happened upon a particularly challenging dungeon only to be rewarded with a handfull of coin yet certain dungeons were a breeze and yielded a large supply of coin and loot. The combat, although well thought out on paper is literally hit and miss on a frustrating level. Walking up and standing face to face with an enemy and swinging a sword so big that it would make Dante jealous only to miss horrendously felt cheap. The same goes for ranged attacks, a levelled up Archer can take a shot from two spaces away and still miss worse than Stevie Wonder playing darts. Coupled with the weak animations and basic sound effects it just took all the oomph out of what could have been a truly satisfying combat system. My only conclusion is that they were trying to mirror the chance experience one would get from rolling the dice on a tabletop layout.
The story unfolds via text which is to be expected coming from a mobile port but I feel they missed a trick by not providing a good voice over for the console port. The game also features no interaction between the characters which again would have gone a long way to emphasising the uneasy alliances at hand. Controls are a bit tricky when playing with analogue sticks and face buttons but fortunately, the Switch version boasts full touchscreen support which works really well as it should coming from a mobile port.
Overall graphics are passable for mobile but look a bit shabby on consoles, especially playing on the TV. The environments look good enough and have that dirty grimy art style that Warhammer is known for, the levels and towns take place on a map that unfolds like something between Super Mario World and the Game of Thrones intro which I enjoyed. Character models again are pretty basic with minor customisation for them.
It’s always good to see new strategy games coming to console and for the most part Warhammer Quest 2 is a competent title but wears the shackles of its mobile origins too tightly resulting in a lacklustre experience on the larger formats. The switch version was fun to play especially in handheld mode due to the touchscreen controls but was not so enjoyable in docked mode. If you are a hardcore Warhammer fan then you will likely enjoy what’s on offer due to the source material, although the balancing is questionable at times and the animations are basic there is a solid challenge to be had but doesn’t feel like it’s worth the full asking price.
TBG Score: 7/10
Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, Xbox, PC
Release Date: 23/12/2019
No. of Players: 1
Category: Strategy, RPG
Publisher: Chilled Mouse
Download link: eShop