Warhammer 40,000: Gladius – Relics of War Review

A Warhammer 40k Strategy Sandbox Game

Back in November 2018, I was looking for Warhammer games to play for my Twitch stream Christmas event. I recalled Gladius had released earlier in the year, but also recalled it was a turn based, 4x game. Generally speaking, there are very few 4x or turn based games that I like, Stellaris being one of the 4x exceptions. Turn based combat turns really break up the flow of the game for me. My viewers love some strategy games though, and the Steam reviews for Gladius were great. I thought it was worth taking a chance on since it was also a Warhammer 40k game, so I contacted the publisher Slitherine games, and was able to get a key. Boy am I glad I did!

I fell in love with Gladius immediately. The things I find tedious about 4x games are non-existent, and the gameplay flows very well. Warhammer 40,000 Gladius is basically a 4x sandbox game. There is no preset campaign, but there is a questline option that nudges you in a general direction. You can toggle it off and do your own thing if you so desire, but it is a bare bones questline. I find it pretty helpful though, and enjoy following the the ‘story’ as it unfolds. Gladius is very much a play your way kind of game. The map settings are highly customizable, down to how many terrain obstacles you want. Other examples of settings include map size, wildlife density, resource density, allow/deny certain DLC, biome density (various biome choices per map), and much, much more.

Gladius is streamlined for combat, and it really shines in its presentation. The units look absolutely phenomenal, and the animations are fun to zoom in and watch. I particularly enjoy queuing up several units quickly, and watching their movements and attacks unfold without pause. The soundtrack fits really well, and adds to the grimdark ambiance. Much like the Warhammer 40,000 universe, this game is all about war. There is no diplomacy, and nothing to keep your bolters and chainswords silenced for long. The turns happen very quickly, though I imagine that is in large part because I play against AI. This means no waiting on AFK players on the enemy team! I just have to wait for AFK players on my own team…

My experience in Gladius is with both Space Marines and Tyranids. I’ve played several multiplayer games with 4-5 people, and it has been very stable. I’ve played exclusively versus the AI and find it quite adequate. To this point I’ve clocked over 20 hours in the game, and I’m still ready for more! Keep this in mind as you continue reading.

Time for some cons, and there are a few. The slider on your faction Research bar is sort of invisible. It’s the same color as the menu, so it’s really hard to find. If this bothers you too, you can just use your mouse scroll wheel. Took me an entire campaign to figure that out! A more obvious pain is the volume control. Bolter effects sound great, but don’t scale smoothly with the camera zoom. They are incredibly loud unless you zoom out to a point where you can’t appreciate the animations as much. A final complaint would be that game saves are voided with version changes. Since I don’t play a lot of large scale strategy games, this is something new for me. I’ve lost my first two Space Marine campaign attempts, only having the game for as many months. Admittedly my streaming schedule isn’t the most conducive to finishing games quickly.

The quick game pace in Warhammer 40,000 Gladius, and the truly remarkable graphics, are the big sellers for this game in my mind. The one big wishlist item I have would be a camera lock, so I can watch the enemy turn unfold in rapid succession without any mouse or keyboard work required. It’s a pretty near perfect game, and something I hope Proxy Studios, the developer, builds on. The game itself retails for $39.99 MSRP, and DLC ranges from $4.99 to $14.99 for in-game DLC. There are wallpapers and other type DLCs available as well. Gladius has completely changed my outlook on 4x and turn based strategy games. I would definitely hold it up as one of the best Warhammer 40k games available in 2019.

I’m Excited For The Epic Store But…

Recently, Epic Games, makers of the Unreal Engine, unveiled their online digital games store. This store aims directly at the ever popular Steam, and takes a pretty hefty swing with it’s ultra-generous profit sharing for developers. If your game is developed on Unreal Engine, it’s even more generous. At a glance, this is good for developers and gamers. It’s good for developers because money. Just how good for gamers it will be is the big question. The over arching ‘competition is good for the consumer’ mantra certainly applies, but right now I wouldn’t call it competition.

Epic Games has a long road ahead of them. They have a lower user base, a smaller library of games, and almost no ‘features’ to offer. This is certainly to be expected at the beginning of any new online store front. So far Epic Games is offering free games every two weeks for next year. This is good for gamers because they get free games, and it’s good for Epic Games and developers because it brings people to the platform. Several games are also launching exclusively on the Epic Games Store, the biggest title so far being Ubisoft’s The Division II. Given this type of progress is taking place, I’m inclined to believe their progress will continue. But. The longer their improvements take, the worse it becomes for gamers.

Customer review systems aren’t easy to implement. You need something that’s flexible, and that can change over time to reflect major patches and content changes. Only being able to rate a game at one point in it’s development is a minor help at best. This is best illustrated by the ‘review bomb’ practice. Games get review bombed because developers did something their customers didn’t like. If the reason has merit behind it, the review bombings will continue until conditions improve (For example, adding in microtransactions a month after the game launches). If the reason is petty or temporary, the bad reviews will fade away pretty quick, or gamers can take the time to read the negative reviews and judge for themselves whether to continue their purchase or not (For example, unstable servers on launch day for a massively multiplayer online game).

Thankfully Steam has two categories, a lifetime rating, and a shorter-term rating. I think this is a good system to deal with review bombs. I personally have played games despite review bombs, although I’d say that most of the time I have regretted it later. Epic Games will need to come up with at least as good a system, if not copy it completely. Of course if they do copy it, they’ll get raked over the coals, so there’s that too.

Personally, I think Epic Games will add a customer review system to their store. They’ve made lots of good decisions with Fortnite and the Unreal Engine. I think they understand the value of a customer’s opinion. Not having a customer review system would just be so colossally anti-consumer that I think they would either be brow-beaten into it, or outright fail in their endeavor. I want them to succeed though. Steam has been pretty stagnant as far as innovating. Not that they don’t offer a good service, I just feel like they could do a whole lot more. I’m not against Steam either. Goodness knows I’m tired of downloading new launchers, but if Steam and the Epic Games Store push each other to improve, I think it’s a win for everyone.

Update

I recently found this quote from an Epic Games Store representative. Apparently, user reviews will be implemented only if the developer opts-in.

I think this is an incredibly bad sign. What will stop a developer from opting in only if they’re getting good reviews? Opting out when they’re about to implement micro transactions? This literally has no upside for gamers, and gives no incentive for developers to be fair. I’m going to have to think long and hard about whether I want to support this platform in the future.

Why I’m Waiting On Fallout 76

I’ve never played a single Fallout game before, but when I heard about Fallout 76 I was excited. I watched all kinds of YouTube videos about lore referencing Fallout, as well as all the latest news on Fallout 76. Since I’m a fan of survival games like ARK and Conan, it felt like it would be a good entry into the Fallout franchise for me. Unfortunately, several factors has my first Fallout experience on hold.

The first problem I noticed was the price. The standard $59.99 price tag for a triple A game seemed way too expensive. Survival games just don’t go for that price, even the big ones like ARK. It felt right away like I was paying a premium for the Fallout or Bethesda brand. As someone who doesn’t play Bethesda games beyond DOOM, this ‘brand tax’ didn’t sit well with me.

Luckily I managed to get a key from someone to check out the beta. Not having an open beta really threw up some red flags for me. My game performance wasn’t great. While the graphics looked amazing, I had stuttering at regular intervals. Even if I turned the graphics all the way down, it still stuttered. I could still play through the game, but it wasn’t something I’d expected as a bug at this point in development.

The gameplay itself seemed a little off to me. As a Fallout newbie, I’m not sure if this is something to get used to, or if it’s just not my style. Scavenging versus gathering is a big adjustment. Also, all the reading you have to do seems like a huge backwards step in game development. SWTOR really spoiled me on voiceovers, and I expected a lot more than walls of green text for a $60 game from a developer lauded by everyone for their great stories. I’m also a big fan of the building in survival games, and the building seemed a lot more limited than even the most basic indie survival game.

I eventually did pick up Fallout 76 on Black Friday at a pretty hefty 30% discount. I’m really intrigued by the Fallout setting, and taking place in West Virginia just seems really appealing. I’ve watched press debacle after press debacle unfold, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t regret buying it. I guess I’m hoping for a No Man’s Sky type miracle. I’m optimistic that Bethesda will follow through on this title. I’ll be waiting for several patches to hit before I dive in myself. I’d rather have a smooth experience after what I’ve witnessed so far. While the game reviews are sharply negative, the people I’ve heard from that own it have nothing bug good things to say about it. Since these are not only people I know pretty well, but they’re also the ones I’m going to be playing with, so I’ll gladly give the game a shot. Eventually.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2018!

It’s that time again! That time where we get overly excited about seeing tons of games on sale that we don’t have enough money to buy or time to play! I pretty much just have fun predicting prices and seeing all the sales. All these sales go through Monday it looks like as well.

What I’m Looking For

Farcry 5 – I had a ton of fun with Wildlands. I’m told Farcry 5 is the same type of open world gameplay, but with FPS. It also has multiplayer so I’m in. Additionally it has a custom-map arcade, so the replayability is really high. I’m looking for something under $30 for the base game, but if I can get the DLC at a good price, I’ll buy that too.
Purchased: $29.99 off Humble with an additional 10% off for being a monthly subscriber and another 5% into my store wallet. I opted not to go for the DLC because it has bad reviews, and because I can always buy it later once I get a chance to try the game.

Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor Martyr – WTF is an Inquisitor, exactly? I’ve had my eye on this game for a long while. I’m a big fan of the 40k universe, and this game fits my holiday channel event perfectly. I’m also a big fan of procedurally generated games, which is what makes this game so massive.

Fallout 76 – I’ve been so up and down with this game. I’m not sure I like the RPG gameplay. I’m used to crafting a hatched to hack up rocks and trees. I’m also not sure I like the $60 price point. Seems a bit much for a survival game, even with the Fallout franchise behind it. I’m not expecting much in the way of a price drop since it just game out, but who knows.
Purchased: $39 on Amazon. Humble has it even cheaper!

Origin Sale

Runs through 11/26/2018. My recommendations include Battlefield 1 & Dead Space. I cannot recommend these two games enough, and they are both only $5. I continue to have a blast with Battlefield 1, and do so much better than other shooters. Dead Space was just such an incredible experience. I don’t normally play singleplayer games, or horror games, but Dead Space was well worth it. I’ve already picked up Dead Space 2 and Dead Space 3. I’ve also got my eye on the DLC for Dead Space 3 which is just $5 right now. I plan to buy it before the end of the sale.
Purchased: $4.99 Dead Space 3 DLC.

Fanatical Black Friday Sale

There are over 1500 games on sale at Fanatical. You can also use the code BLACKFRIDAY10 to get an extra 10% off. I have  partner link which will help me out with a commission if you purchase something. Monster Hunter: World is 37% off  with the code and Fanatical is having 48 hour flash deals every day. You’ll have to check back each day to see what the new games are.

Humble Fall Sale

If you want to do your bit for charity, Humble Bundle is also having a black friday sale. I have a partner link with Humble as well, so you can help me AND your favorite charity by purchasing through this link. My recommendation from here is the Elite Dangerous. WHAT a great game! I cruised right past 100 hours in this starship simulator. If you are a humble monthly subscriber, the extra 15% could make this website your go-to for the best deals.

Steam Sale

Loads of good deals. I’m just going to list the ones I own and recommend. You may see a Warhammer heavy list, and those reasons will become apparent soon.

  • Space Hulk: Deathwing – $13.59
  • Battlefleet Gothic: Armada – $7.49
  • Dawn of War II – $4.99
  • Total War: Warhammer II – $29.99
  • Vermintide II – $14.99
  • Foxhole – $12.99
  • Jurassic World Evolution – $21.99

Halloween 2018

Planning Early for Halloween!

Halloween is my second favorite holiday. There’s just something about that spooky, suspenseful atmosphere that I’ve always enjoyed. Of course the memories of dressing up as a kid are great ones. Some costumes I remember enjoying were ghost and Batman. To get into the spirit of things, I like to play dark or scary themed games. I started this tradition last year, and I enjoyed it so I’ll continue it for as long as it lasts.

I’ve got a short list below, and I’d love to get your opinion on what game(s) you’d enjoy watching during this spooky time of year. I’ve also written on some of these games in the past if you want to know a little more:

What games would you like to watch for a Halloween stream?
  • DOOM 25%, 9 votes
    9 votes 25%
    9 votes - 25% of all votes
  • Hunt: Showdown 22%, 8 votes
    8 votes 22%
    8 votes - 22% of all votes
  • The Black Death 19%, 7 votes
    7 votes 19%
    7 votes - 19% of all votes
  • Vermintide II 14%, 5 votes
    5 votes 14%
    5 votes - 14% of all votes
  • Dead Frontier II 8%, 3 votes
    3 votes 8%
    3 votes - 8% of all votes
  • Left 4 Dead 2 8%, 3 votes
    3 votes 8%
    3 votes - 8% of all votes
  • Space Hulk: Deathwing 3%, 1 vote
    1 vote 3%
    1 vote - 3% of all votes
Total Votes: 36
Voters: 20
September 20, 2018 - November 1, 2018
Voting is closed
© Kama

Some other games that I might play that aren’t on the list include:

  • Alien: Colonial Marines – One of the worst video games ever? Might find out!
  • Goatman – You must hunt down an urban legend terrorizing a modern countryside!
  • Resident Evil titles – Zombies, ’nuff said.
  • Killing Room – Twitch interactive game where I have to entertain YOU for points.
  • Some surprise VR titles!

You can leave any extra suggestions in the comments below. All this should be starting up towards the end of October. Most likely the last week in October, but I’m waiting on some vacation dates to solidify so I can nail down a good schedule.

Halloween Stream Theme Update

I’ve created all new Halloween themed bonuses for the stream! There are all new spooky alerts, a creepy new starting soon screen, an AFK screen graveyard that grows with new follows, and a background graveyard that grows with each sub during the month!

Each new Follow will add a tombstone to the AFK screen, and each Subscription allows you to customize a tombstone with your own battlefield-death themed epitaph! At the end of the month I will put up a YouTube video showcasing everyone’s creative causes of death.

 

As always, thank you guys for all your support. Be it a simple follow, leaving a lurk, chatting me up during a stream, donating bits/subscribing, or just using one of my partner links to buy a game you want. I really appreciate it. I’ve found a lot of great games so far this year, and met a lot of awesome people. I literally couldn’t do it without you.

As always, you can find me on Twitch, or catch me on Twitter if I’m offline.