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REVIEWS

Warhammer 40,000: Battlesector Necrons DLC Review

The Necrons is a welcomed addition to Warhammer 40,000 Battlesector. This excellent turn-based strategy game was released last year by Slitherine. After publishing numerous articles and giving it a rousing 4/5, I can say that the game has impressed me. This is not just a great turn-based game, but the best ever turn-based Warhammer strategy game. Battlesector will be used to launch other factions and campaigns. Add Ultramarines and Orks. Do it, Black Labs. Warhammer 40,000 Battlesector will also be awarded a Strategy and Wargaming seal of approval.”

The Necrons are the focus of the DLC. These mechanical immortals that have lain dormant in tombs for millions of year, now awoke to take over the galaxy. The Necrons are at ease with the Battlesector’s turn-based system. The addition of one Warhammers most intriguing factions does not live up to its full potential. It is disappointing that there was no scripted, proper campaign or handcrafted maps to show the strength and weaknesses of Necron forces. Battlesector will get a dynamic new campaign to fill this gap. However, it is a far cry from what was intended.

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First, let’s start with the good: The nuclear-green Tomb-warriors have the same level of interest as their fantasy counterparts. The presence of the tomb-warriors is achieved by adding 14 different units, ranging from powerful floating tanks and space wizards to trowaway flayers who slash at their opponents. Warhammer achieves an immortality by making battlefield deaths look like they are being teleported to the planets. It was expected that the undying nature of this faction would be replicated if Blood Angels’ iconic frenzy-inducing gene were modeled. For Necron fans, this inability to stop existing is also modelled. There’s always a chance that a fallen member of the squad will get up again and fight with just a tiny bit of health (which is usually 30% or higher). It didn’t change my opinion of this faction, but I found it easy to converse while controlling these alleged overpowered machines slapping around inept opponents. It’s hard to tell how the mechanic will play out in multiplayer. The Necrons army list has a lot of units, even though they excel at one range. It was interesting to experiment with different tactics but I ended up using the same forces across all battles in the random generated campaign.

I’ve found that my current go-to is Lych Guards flanked by Skorpekh destroyers (although Skorpekhs are an option, the reaction from the enemy will always stop them in the middle of a charge). It would seem that the fact you don’t have to fear death is enough motivation for powerful melee unit who won’t back down from a charge in front, but this doesn’t appear to be true. A powerful Plasmancer with a Necron Overlord and Immortals on back line fire. Two Deathmark units can deliver some brutal punishment with impunity from a distance. An annihilation boat is stored in the rear to quickly move around your battlefield in case the Adepta-Sororitas’ flamethrowers become feisty.

The Necrons can hit harder at long distances because of the longer “optimal range”. If your Tyranid frontline is able to withstand the onslaught, you will be in good shape. Otherwise, lower health and hit chance at close ranges, as well as smaller bars, are a recipe for disaster. It seems that the Necrons active skills work fine. I’m not familiar with these skills, and they are often forgotten in the base game.

It can be frustrating that there is no clear style to the Necrons’ fighting like the Tyranids or Blood Angels. The fights with the Tyranids and Blood Angels are as expected. Holding out against impossible odds. It’s easy to put everyone on watch when you have the advantage in range.

The Necrons are an excellent addition to the game. However, the absence of a dedicated campaign hurts lonewolves who would prefer to fight against artificial enemies. As it is, I give this DLC 3 out of 5. A great faction that’s hampered because there isn’t a campaign. The Necrons are great, but I fear there won’t be enough for me to stay around. Necrons DLC is coming on April 21st.

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After the formalities are over, I’d like to rant about the reliance the game places on its dynamic battle generator to provide on-demand content. This review is being split in two because this is a free update for existing owners of the game.

What made the single-player game of this base title so compelling was the fact that it pitted two factions of very different backgrounds against each other: the extra-galactic Tyranids vs. the Blood Angels elites, an old-fashioned formula for “Which side will win?” Quality or quantity? It was a great combination of a compelling premise and pacing: introducing units and new mechanics slowly kept me on edge, waiting to see what I would discover the next time I sent my troops into battle. The fact that you have everything at your disposal from the start removes the anticipation of discovering new game possibilities.

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Hand-crafted campaign maps allow for the application of specific tactics. There’s no chance to customize the map according to the current force and the tactical capabilities. This, in turn makes it difficult to feel any narrative importance or investment in the actions you take. It might be a great idea for those who want to fight in digital battlefields. But it is not for me.

According to my knowledge, there aren’t many customization options for the campaign. It would be nice to have a Necrons-Tyranids one-on one battle instead of the four-way fight if you count the Sororitas who hold out neutral hexes. Battlesector, and Warhammer in general, is at its best when there are no symmetrical factions. When opposing forces are too similar, they can lead to repetitive firefights and mindless battles.

The random campaigns were a waste of time. I’d rather see 6-8 well-designed missions that focus on what makes the Necrons different from other factions, than an endless stream of horrible generated missions.

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