The Warhammer series from Games Workshop remains one of the oldest and most well known of the fantasy worlds created for games. Originally developed as a table top war game in the early 1980’s, Warhammer’s fictional history have grown and evolved and has spawned a role playing tie-in, tons of novels and even a full fledged spin off, the sci-fi themed Warhammer 40,000. Developer Relic and publisher THQ have released a number of RTS games set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe and developer Mythic and its new owner Electronic Arts plan to bring the long awaited MMORPG Warhammer Online in 2007. However, yet another Warhammer PC game is due to be released soon. It’s titled Warhammer: Mark of Chaos from publisher Namco Bandai and recently FiringSquad got a near final version of the game to check out for ourselves.
This game was developed by Black Hole Entertainment, whose first game was the underrated fantasy RTS game Armies of Exigo. However, they have taken a different tack for their work on their second title. Much like what The Creative Assembly do with their Total War series of games, Warhammer: Mark of Chaos combines a turn based gameplay mechanic with pure RTS action. There’s no resource or base building in this game; instead you battle on the field, collect gold pieces and then in between your conflicts you head to the turn based portion of the game where you buy new units, get upgrades for your armies abilities and generally fortify your forces before you send them back to get dirty with the enemies. If you are at all familiar with the Warhammer table top game series you will find this set up for Mark of Chaos pretty familiar territory.
There are two single player campaigns in Warhammer: Mark of Chaos and at least in our beta build you can play either one at will (no unlocking, thank goodness). The Empire side focuses on a captain named Stefan who has to fight off the Chaos forces. On the other hand you might also enjoy playing with the “bad guys”; the Chaos army led by Aasavar Kul. The Empire is the human side of the game and you also control Elven units in the single player campaign. Chaos units in their side include Orcs, the Skaven (basically really large and nasty rodents) and others. The single player campaigns are not totally linear; there will be side missions to take on as well.