Launching onto Steam like the ever-increasing swarm that is the Warhammer franchise, Mechanicus tries to head in a different direction than previous titles. Focusing on the often background relegated computer nerds and mechanics of the Imperium, the Adeptus Mechanicum seems like a strange move. They do not really fight, they are the ones that build the spaceships and design weapons for the Imperium at large but never as frontline fighters. It is a nice change of pace though to see them front and center instead of just repairing all the damage the other factions cause.
Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus starts out with a treasure hunt of sorts. A member of the Mechanicus goes missing exploring a ruin on a strange planet, sends a distress signal and the Mechanicus goes looking to see what happened. Once on the planet, they find some catacombs loaded with Necrons, the undead like, regenerating, Sci-Fi robots faction that begins waking up. Now they have to find a way to stop the Necrons while trying to steal every piece of tech and knowledge that is not bolted down too securely.
The game plays like a tactical puzzle of sorts with turn-based mechanics. The Mechanicum being outgunned and not really up to a head-on fight with the overwhelming army of undeath use a combination of hit and run tactics and loads of cannon fodder troops to accomplish their goals and objectives. During each mission, you are presented with a holographic map that contains rooms with various types, including some special rooms like healing rooms and treasure rooms. Within each room, you are often given a bit of lore and a choice (usually 3 options). The choices seem to have a bit of randomness to their success but they usually boil down to study it, destroy it, or be cautious. Depending on your success (or failure), you could end up in a Necron ambush or getting a bit of Blackstone which is used for upgrading troops.
When a room causes you to enter combat, either through your choices or because it is where the Necrons are guarding, you enter a grid-based tactical map. Littered about the map are chasms and pylons where you can obtain “cognition points,” a sort of mana or power used to fuel your special abilities, and allow you to push limits such as moving extra spaces. These pylons refresh each turn and require a tech priest (non-cannon fodder troops) to be adjacent to them to collect. These pylons also refresh each turn making it essential to use these in your planning as the abilities are quite useful.
As the rounds progress, you are able to summon down additional cannon fodder and use them to soak the often brutal attacks of the Necron’s gauze blasts. These troops are not unlimited and need to be called down for maximum effect and can get quite expensive at the higher end of the campaign. Equally troubling is the Necron’s ability to regenerate which causes you to have to damage them after you have reduced them to zero health. If you do not, or cannot, then they regenerate and you have to fight that unit all over again.
Between each mission, or “sector” as they call them in the game, you are brought back to your orbiting ship where you can upgrade your various troops and equip or unequip items and equipment. There are also special abilities you can unlock for each troop using Blackstone; each ability is set up in a linear tree but you are not restricted on which abilities you pursue and can mix and match. Eventually, as the campaign progresses, various timers and other story elements engage and it is a race to see what you can accomplish before you run out. I do have to give a thumbs up to the fact that they added a move confirmation system in this game. There were several times where I almost misclicked myself into oblivion.
All in all, Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus is a very enjoyable game; even if it is with the two most mismatched factions in the lore. The flow from orbit to the sector to submap is smooth, logical, and they really captured the Mechanicum and Necrons in all their lore-seeped glory. I tend to play more RTS and FPS 40k games than the tactical turn-based ones, but this game was enjoyable. It will definitely be a game I will be revisiting in the future as I have time between my Dawn Of War replays.
I give Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus 8.5 Omnisiahs on the Omnisiah scale.
Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus — Release Trailer