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.

Upcoming Warhammer 40k Games for 2018

The Emperor Requires Your Attention

I’ve become quite the 40k fanboy ever since playing Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade in December of 2016. Dawn of War II and Space Hulk: Deathwing have both been good purchases since then. I also look forward to checking out Dawn of War III and Warhammer 40,000 Space Wolf, I just haven’t found the time yet. Each of these games offers something Warhammer 40k gamers have not gotten to experience before. This is really going to add to my game backlog.

The Horus Heresy: Betrayal at Calth

This title is probably one of the more exciting for me. Betrayal at Calth offers the first 40k (30k) virtual reality title. It has the potential for quite the immersive turn-based strategy experience, being able to stand next to your troops in battle. While the game is a VR title for both Vive and Oculus, it can also be played on regular PC. You play as the Ultramarines, with various weapons from flamers to power fists at your disposal. Betrayal at Calth also has multiplayer capability.

This game has already released, and I was lucky enough to get a key from the devs. Unfortunately right now I’m waiting on a patch for better Oculus support. The devs stated the next patch should fix the problems. I’m really looking forward to seeing it in action. I was able to get a small taste before the problems started. Quite promising.

Space Hulk: Tactics

Another spinoff off based on the Space Hulk board game, but this time with a twist. Space Hulk: Tactics is a turn based tactical strategy game, implemented with a card-based system of some kind. No details yet on the card system. There will be two singleplayer campaigns; In a Warhammer 40k first, you will be able to play as the genestealers. The other campaign follows a squad of Blood Angels space marines.

There will also be multiplayer that provides chooseing between Space Marine chapters (Blood Angels, Space Wolves, the Ultramarines, or Dark Angels) as well as Genestealers. And for that extra-long life, there will be a map creation tool and the ability to share with other players.

The game will release in 2018 on PS4, XBox One, and PC. I’ve had a lot of experience with card systems lately in Paladins and Star Wars: Battlefront II. This certainly looks to be an up and coming game mechanic.

Warhammer 40,000: Gladius – Relics of War

I think this game will make the biggest splash of all the 40k games in 2018. Warhammer 40,000: Gladius will be the first entry into the 4x genre for the 40k universe. Play as the Astra Militarum, Space Marines, Orks or Necrons. Each race will have different stories, characters, tech trees, and playstyles.

The game will offer singleplayer, co-op, and multiplayer modes. No word on the Steam page about console release, but obviously it’ll be offered for PC.  4x has been hit or miss with me. I enjoy Stellaris, but other titles have been mostly miss. A co-op campaign might offer a little bit of incentive. The graphics look amazing.

Battlefleet Gothic: Armada II

Saving the best for last, I can’t tell you how hyped I am for this title! I really loved Battlefleet Gothic: Armada. The visuals in that game have to be some of the most incredible, even on low end systems! BFGA II offers another campaign, but this time it has drop-in/drop-out co-op! That really makes me think it’ll have some semblance of open world gameplay. There will be twelve factions available at the start, which means you likely won’t need any DLC to play your way (unless you’re a fan of one of the more obscure races).  Bigger battles, improved multiplayer, and more customization are just a few of the things in store.

The game will be released for PC only, at least so far.  This will be the first Warhammer 40,000 game that takes place during the Gathering Storm setting, which literally splits Imperium space in half.

The Emperor Wants YOU!

As you can see, there will be plenty of opportunities to serve the Imperium of Man in 2018. From VR to 4x to card-based, it is all unexplored territory for Warhammer 40k (and 30k) fans. All of this is on top of DLC for other 40k games like Dawn of War III, Space Hulk: Deathwing, and others. And if you still can’t get enough Warhammer, there’s still Total War: Warhammer II DLC on the way, as well as Vermintide II rapidly approaching. Bottom line is there’s plenty of purging to be done people, let’s get to it. For the Which game are you most excited for?

Black Friday and Cyber Monday Sales 2017

Games I Want

  • Rainbow 6 Siege – Tried the free weekend and liked it, but missed the sale due to work. [PURCHASED]
  • Warhammer End Times: Vermintide DLCs – Love this game so far, but I don’t like to replay maps over and over so this DLC really needs to be cheap to be worthwhile. [PURCHASED]
  • Gloria Victis – This game was $10 not long ago and I passed on it. It’s a medieval MMORPG, buy and play.

Games I’m Watching

  • Star Wars: Battlefront 2 – All the drama could mean a hefty cut to boost sales. I’d buy it at the right price.
  • Destiny 2 – Never played the first one, but the second one was recommended by a friend. It’s also a Blizzard/Activision game, and I love to support Blizzard.
  • Dawn of War III – I enjoyed Dawn of War 2, but 3 is focused on base building. Still, it’s Warhammer 40k so we’ll see.
  • Lawbreakers – Had fun on the free weekends, but a little leery of the low population killing the matchmaking quality.

Games I Recommend

  • Foxhole – I love this game! It’s probably my game of the year.
  • Ghost Recon Wildlands – Another amazing game, probably my #2 for the year.
  • Company of Heroes 2 – My all time favorite RTS.
  • Warhammer End Times: Vermintide  – This game is probably going to be really cheap and worth picking up if you don’t have it yet. Only the party leader needs the DLC!
  • Space Hulk: Deathwing – Like Vermintide, but set in the Warhammer 40k universe.
  • Battlefleet Gothic: Armada – An RTS using capital ships, also set in the Warhammer 40k universe. Should be REALLY cheap considering a normal sale put it at $10 not long ago.
  • *Total War: Warhammer II – I recommend this if you have the first one. It’s a really amazing game. Loads of fun, and a super value if you own the first one (mortal empires campaigns).

Legitimate Websites to Shop

I only recommend licensed key resellers.

  • Some publishers/developers are giving decent discounts already through their launchers (Ubisoft Uplay, Blizzard launcher, etc).
  • Amazon – Might have to wait a day or two for a physical copy, but might be worth it.
  • Humble Bundle – Sales have already started.
  • Fanatical (Formerly Bundle Stars) – Sales have already started.
  • Indiegala – Sales have already started.

 

Steel Division: Normandy 44 Review

A Wave Styled World War 2 RTS

I don’t know how, but I forgot to review Steel Division. As I was reading through all the news about the upcoming free DLC, along with the Second Wave DLC, it just kinda dawned on me. This game comes from the makers of the Wargame franchise, but I’ve never played any of those either. This was a completely new experience for me, and I’ve enjoyed over 58 hours to date. This is easily one of my top three favorite strategy games to date. As usual, I never touched the singleplayer campaign, and went straight to multiplayer.

Steel Division: Normandy 44 Breakdown

For just $39.99, you can own one of the best World War 2 RTS titles out there. Steel Division: Normandy 44 is from Eugen Systems, the creators of the Wargame franchise. You get to play from the division level, commanding one of the historical armies that battled in western Europe during 1944. That includes the United States, France, Great Britain, and Canada on the Allies side, facing off against Germany on the Axis. Each country has multiple divisions from mechanized, to infantry, to mechanized infantry and more. The Second Wave DLC is coming soon, and is adding several more divisions for various countries. There are several different maps to play on, forcing you to make choices on what you bring and how you fight. Not every map will favor armor, for example. The standout feature of the game is it’s battle phase system. This is a three phase system where you are giving a strict point allowance to bring forward troops. Each phase that allowance can change based on your division and its historical performance. Some divisions may start with lots of points and scale down while others may start small and build up.

What Makes It Fun

Wow. Where do I even start? Probably my favorite part about this game is it’s adjustable scale. You can scroll in and out of the map to whatever scale you want. You can either watch the battlefield unfold in a series of icons, or scroll all the way in to watch your MG mow down enemy soldiers as they try to cross an open field. An adjustable view is phenomenal for those games where the fixed view is too close. The 10v10 games are AMAZING! They are HUGE, chaotic, suspenseful, and incredibly fun! I like the variety of different divisions. If you want to play an infantry division, paratrooper, or even with tanks, Steel Division has it all. I also am madly in love with their battle phase system. This actually starts while you’re setting up your forces, and deciding which phase you want troops and equipment to start arriving. During games, it gives that feeling of ‘desperate hope’, trying to hold out until reinforcements. When your troops come under attack, just before the next wave is able to deploy, there’s a rush that follows as reinforcements arrive to push back enemy forces! Another great feature is the sound effects; It actually sounds like a warzone. The machine gun fire, artillery, planes – it stands out more to me than in other games. It also increases and deafens as you scroll in and out, which is a nice touch.

What Makes It…Not

I only have one complaint about this game. Not all of it is the fault of the game either, so I wouldn’t weigh this as a full strike against Steel Division. When you get into the 10v10 multiplayer mode, whichever team drops the most player connections loses, and there is generally at least one or two. The team that wins is generally decided immediately. This is quickly followed by other players tilting and/or rage quitting. This of course leads to a 10 versus 7 or 8 if you’re lucky. The connectivity is hard to blame on the developer completely, some people just have terrible internet. The tilting is completely on the shoulders of the players though.

 

The Bottom Line

A lot of Steam reviews complain about game balance. I never really noticed a huge problem personally, though I did mostly play co-op versus AI. Those medium AI units were pretty difficult, let me tell you! I have noticed lots of balancing in the patches that have come out since official release, so there may be something to it. I still recommend the game for anyone wanting something fun or just to play casually. If you’re looking for some competitive hardcore multiplayer, this probably isn’t the game for you. If they put out Steel Division: Pacific tomorrow, I’d buy it based on this game alone. While they have a ways to go given that the paid DLC has just started rolling out, a Pacific (or really any other version) is something I really hope to see some day.

Monthly Gaming Intel 2017.4

Twitch Updates

Twitch has added more features to Affiliate status. Affiliates now get a commission when you buy games through their channel. These are going through the Twitch app, not Steam. Be prepared to have more game hubs running in the background! And Affiliates now finally have subscription buttons! You only get one emote as a reward, and I don’t have an emote yet. I’m going to take my time deciding what I want my emote to be. As I don’t expect a flood of subscriptions anyway, I want to have something really unique. Feel free to drop a suggestion below!

E3 Report

I paid more attention to this year’s E3 than any other game convention. I guess the deeper I go into content creation, the more important these things become. There were definitely a handful of games that caught my eye.

  • Strange Brigade: A co-op RPG where you play a team of British secret agents, battling the creatures of myth like minotaurs, mummies, and more! 2017 release.
  • State of Decay 2: I’ve never played a zombie game before. This one is going to be co-op and open world, so it seems like a good fit for me. 2018 release.
  • Monster Hunter World: Lots of my Twitch viewers love Monster Hunter games. This one has dinosaurs, and open world. Nuff said. 2018 release.
  • Anthem: The game I’m most excited about. An open world shooter where you have an Iron Man-type suit to upgrade and fly around in. 2018 release.
  • Battlefront 2: I missed out on Battlefront 1 until recently, but I’m there for this game. It looks at least as good as the first game. 2017 release.
  • Fortnite: Explore the map, scavenge materials, and build a massive fort to defend from alien zombies with your team. A mix of survival, shooter, and tower defense. 2017 release.

Sales

Obviously the biggest news is the 2017 Steam Summer Sale. Literally half my list is on sale. I’ve found it to be better than last year, and so far I’ve picked up a couple of games (Fortified, Left 4 Dead 2) with three more I’m seriously considering (Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak, Angels Fall First, State of Decay). The sale runs through July 5th.

Bundle Starts has an interesting bundle for just $1.49 that includes Guncraft. It seems like a cross between an FPS and Minecraft. You have to build and fight at the same time. I’ve picked up multiple copies (you can get 2 per bundle purchase).  There are a a bunch of games to choose from to fill out your bundle.

Games I’m Playing

Still going strong, Ultimate Epic Battle Simulator continues to be popular content. There were two big updates this month that added 9 new units, 3 new maps, ragdoll physics, and more.

I played several games of Lawbreakers during it’s most recent beta. I had a lot of fun, and actually did well. This is the first FPS that I can remember where I maintained a consistent positive kill/death ratio. That’s the biggest detractor of FPS games to me, being an anchor to my team. I think the Aegis Juggernaut character/class has a lot to do with it. I highly recommend you sign up for the next beta if you haven’t yet.

A couple of tower defense hybrid games have shown up on my radar. Fortified, from the developers of Foxhole, is a 1950s tower defense shooter where you defend the earth from alien invaders with that vintage Sci Fi look. I picked it up for just $4.94 in the Steam summer sale. The other is Orcs Must Die Unchained, a free to play game. Pretty much the same thing but with a high fantasy twist, and a much larger class selection. If you use my referral code/name  ‘ConstantWarfare’ we both get rewards at various milestones.

Games I’m Watching

PvP has finally been added in Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor Martyr. 1v1 and team PvP is now available, with 3 different character classes to choose from. This game is looking more and more appealing to me. I’m mostly holding back because I’m not sure what Inquisitor gameplay would be like as opposed to Space Marine gameplay. Sudden Strike 4, a WW2 RTS, is now available for preorder. By doing so you get beta access and begin playing immediately much like Steel Division. No base building involved as far as I’ve seen, so it’s something I’ll be interested in.

Honorable mentions worth looking at:

  1. Ravenfield
  2. Squids from Space
  3. Crimson Earth
  4. Medieval Kingdom Wars (open world co-op postponed!)
  5. Colony Survival

I applied for keys for these but wasn’t successful. I may pick them up in the future, so they’re staying on my wishlist.

Upcoming Games

The game I mentioned earlier, Fortnite, hits July 25, and is available to preorder now. If you do preorder, you get a head-start release date of July 21st. I’ve seen a lot of interest in this game, and I plan to preorder as well. A few other games I’ve applied for keys for are Solstice Chronicles:MIA (top down shooter), Starway Fleet(space sim), King of the World (RTS), and Panzer Killer (vehicle shooter).

IRL

I saw the Transformers movie and wasn’t impressed. The story was such a great idea, but the way it unfolded was just supremely mediocre. Don’t get me wrong, Transformers: The Last Knight was an OK movie. It’s just not going to restore the franchise back to its original fanfare. It also needed loads more dinobots.

I’ve started assembling my Warhammer 40,000 Dark Imperium starter box. I’ll probably do some kind of an unboxing post in the future, but suffice to say its going well. I’m really enjoying how easy it is to assemble. I’m not sure if I want to sell off the Chaos portion, or assemble them for a friend to play with in the future. The extra money would be nice right about now.

June 2017 Gaming Stats

Monthly Stats