Warhammer 40,000: Gladius - Relics of War - PC Review

In an unexpected twist, Warhammer 40,000: Gladius - Relics of War is not a horrible mess nor a total disgrace to the good GamesWorkshop name that nearly every single other Warhammer title released in the last 5 years has been. In fact, it is quite enjoyable if a bit mundane at times, but the great folks at both Proxy Studios and Slitherine Ltd. Have put together a more-than solid turn-based strategy title under a franchise that has been historically beaten to death by a slew of vomit-inducing insults to nature. Truth be told I was pleasantly surprised with my time in Warhammer 40,000: Gladius - Relics of War and that in itself is an achievement.

Folks may think that I am a bit hard on the Warhammer video game franchises but let us be real for a minute … I am not. The overwhelming majority of the *thirty seven* Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 titles released since the start of 2013 have been fit for no more than the bottom of the bargain-bin at a Wal-Mart, and even then that is being kind to those games.

Many are fundamentally broken, being unbalanced, full of technical issues (that never went unresolved), or so devoid of anything interesting that it make counting sand by hand an enjoyable experience so when Gladius was announced I audibly groaned and closed my laptop. As more press releases came through and more content was provided to the press and public alike, I took a bit more interest, especially since I am quite familiar with Slitherine-published titles, the majority of which I have thoroughly enjoyed, but I still kept my expectations in check as here I thought there would be another steaming pile of horse dung…

I was wrong.

Warhammer 40,000: Gladius - Relics of War is not only a good game, but I would even be so inclined as to call it a great game. Though the difficulty curve seems a bit out of place (likely due to balancing oddities, like why is it that I will have Predator tanks get demolished by standard Imperial Guard infantry? Not even anti-armor!), Gladius is not only stunning in appearance and concept, but really brings a bit of the tabletop flare to your desktop, a feat few can pull off. Even then, none of those titles that can are part of the Warhammer video game franchise (not since Shadow of the Horned Rat, a critically under-appreciated Warhammer game from last century).

With Relics of War you have a wonderful 4x-like turn-based strategy game set on Gladius Prime, a planet that the Imperials have deemed archeologically important. Taking control of the gargantuan Space Marines, monstrous Orks, hateful Necrons (they are literally the worst), and everyone's favorite squishy boi's, Astra Militarum, you will wage (and often lose) war across the broken remains of Gladius Prime.

Though I have played my share of Orks and Necrons, winning and losing equally, it was with the Space Marines and the Astra Militarum that I played the most. Admittedly I have lost 100% of the games that I have played as the Space Marines (making it an incredibly frustrating experience), but the real mindbender is that I have won 100% of the maps that I have played as the Imperial Guard / Astra Militarum. Normally this band of squishy goodness is good for nothing more than causing the enemy blascannons to overheat (that is, until you bring their mechanized warmachine to bear) but man, in Warhammer 40,000: Gladius - Relics of War? Nah, they are wicked.

This is where I think that there is a bit of a balance problem; the chance that a single unit of Guardsmen taking on a single unit of Terminators is so wildly not possible outside of the actual tabletop game (where dice matter and anyone that has played a dice game with me knows, I role zeroes on a D20 nearly 100% of the time) that each time it happens I am quite confused. On the other hand, having your Predator tanks thoroughly trounced by a rando Ork or Necron unit is rage-inducing. Balance issues indeed.

Beyond a few quirks though, Warhammer 40,000: Gladius - Relics of War is an excellent 4x game set in a dark and gritty universe. In time I hope that we see the additional races, Eldar, Dark Eldar, Tyranids, and my personal favorite, Tau, as only 4 playable races does make the game feel a bit empty at times. That said, what is there within the four playable races equates to a solid turn-based strategy game that, Emperor take me, is an excellent Warhammer 40k title. Gladius - Relics of War is 2018's Warhammer Must-have.

Game Information

Proxy Studios
Slitherine Ltd.
Tuned Based Strategy
Single Player
Other Platform(s):

Provided by Publisher

Article by Robert


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