Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Storm Floor is the definition of a sport that wanted extra time in improvement. Saying that it “wants polish,” although, looks like an understatement: this turn-based techniques sport is simply missing or buggy in so many areas that the locations the place it does stand out are overwhelmed by the shortage of high quality elsewhere. What promising fundamentals its easy however well-designed fight offers approach to a weakly organized roguelite marketing campaign, a irritating grind for brand spanking new stuff, weird inconsistencies, and a scarcity of range and steadiness amongst its items.
The world of Age of Sigmar is well-represented right here: it is a Planar Fantasy world with every kind of outrageous, over-the-top ideas and a slurry of compound phrases like Stormcast and Maggotkin and Bladegheist and Realmgate and Stormvault. It takes itself solely too significantly and is probably finest in the event you can chortle at it – one thing Storm Floor usually understands, with pop-culture homages and puns littered among the many in any other case straight-faced dialogue. It additionally appears good, a couple of shoddy textures apart, with fantastical characteristic design within the small, tightly managed hex-based battle arenas. It is even bought the only factor all nice Warhammer video games want: A military painter.
Storm Floor’s strongest facet is its fundamental sport guidelines. They’re easy mechanics that permit for lots of attention-grabbing issues to occur but stay honest and predictable. Models have well being, motion, armor, and injury statistics. You not often have greater than 5 to 10 items to command, so issues by no means grow to be unwieldy. Models are weak to fast loss of life, however fight just isn’t very random: An assault at all times hits and offers the identical quantity of injury, minus the goal’s armor worth. If the armor worth is greater than the assault’s injury, then the assault has a share likelihood to do no injury or a single level of injury primarily based on how a lot greater the armor is.
Every spherical you spend energy to summon items, and every spherical your energy meter refills and grows a bit longer. Because the battle goes on you may summon your most costly and highly effective items, resulting in a pure escalation. Unspent energy turns into Aether, the foreign money spent to activate items’ particular talents, which presents an attention-grabbing alternative throughout each flip: generally you may summon new items, however generally you will not as you’d reasonably save the ability to permit your present troops to make use of their particular powers subsequent spherical.
Layered on high of this straightforward rule set are barely extra advanced concepts, most of that are delivered within the type of every unit’s distinctive talents. Primary particular assaults pierce armor or hit an space. Some have compelled motion assaults that push or pull enemies round, like Blightkings, who’ve an enormous tongue of their abdomen. Standing results that change stats, soften armor, deal ongoing injury, shock, or penalize motion abound. None of that is notably well-balanced, thoughts you, and also you may discover multiplayer frustratingly unfair consequently, however you may construct some combos which might be enjoyable to execute.
You possibly can construct whole methods round issues like making the selection to have a powerful hero with costly powers who holds out till highly effective allies arrive, or a swarm of low-level troops that nibble away at enemies. I actually preferred the combos current within the Maggotkin faction, which allowed me to make use of low cost defensive swarms to put on down enemies earlier than my heavy-hitting again line mopped them up.
It’s these particular talents that mess issues up for Storm Floor in that their guidelines are weirdly inconsistent. Pushing enemies into terrain has a destructive impact, generally as extreme as on the spot loss of life, however pushing enemies into entice talents that you simply your self laid does not set off the entice. Moreover, the foundations incentivize taking part in unusually. One mission kind requires you to take and maintain a place, however new waves of enemies will spawn endlessly when the earlier wave is worn out. Thus the logical strategy is to take the place, kill each enemy however the lowest-damage one, and simply take hits from it till you win.
Every of the factions does really feel distinct and attention-grabbing from the opposite, although steadiness is in every single place. Some items really feel ineffective whereas others are important to their workforce’s composition. The Stormcast Eternals are primarily based round their commander, solely in a position to summon reinforcements every spherical to their spawn space or their commander’s neighborhood. In return, their particular person energy could be very excessive, with constantly well-armored items in a position to bully the opponent’s line. They’re additionally probably the most fleshed out faction, with probably the most unit selection and the biggest variety of attention-grabbing powers and combos to supply.
The Nighthaunts are the other: they’re a swarming faction that may use wisps of spirit matter to summon virtually wherever on the battlefield, however they pay for that with individually weak troops. They’re cool and attention-grabbing, however it takes plenty of playtime to grind out the brand new items that actually empower their combos.
The Maggotkin are one thing else solely, a faction centered on spreading corrupted terrain on the battlefield and in a position to summon their items on it in addition to proliferate free Nurgling items by consuming their very own corruption. Managed effectively, they will type a strong defensive wedge that eats up enemies who defy them as they creep towards victory. Sadly, additionally they really feel like half a faction, with a small unit roster in comparison with the opposite two and a scarcity of attention-grabbing customization in gadgets, weapons, and new powers. (The AI additionally has completely no thought easy methods to play them.)
If most of this feels like plenty of intelligent and enjoyable design, effectively, it’s. It is fairly and the fundamentals are good. The whole lot else, although, just isn’t good.
Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Storm Grounds Screenshots
Within the marketing campaign, Storm Floor’s motion itself is gradual. Gradual to undergo dialogue, with conversations between characters lasting a minute regardless of solely having 30 seconds of dialog. Gradual to resolve, with fight animations having no fast-play choice, so that you’re compelled to observe each motion, together with often hanging for 10 seconds earlier than and after an order is given—each in your flip and the AI’s flip. That is the least of the bugs that plague Storm Floor.
I encountered no fewer than seven activated unit talents that crashed to desktop each time I attempted to make use of them. Others merely did not work. Impact animations and unit fashions often caught round even when the flexibility that triggered them was over, or the unit was lifeless.
It is also simply small stuff that lets Storm Floor down. There’s clearly an elaborate system of key phrases behind the foundations, however there isn’t any approach to reference what these key phrases are or imply—it is in determined want of a rulebook and tooltips and simply does not have them.
Lastly, although the roguelite marketing campaign mode is good in concept, it takes hours of grinding to unlock new powers, items, and talents. And it’s grinding – the missions are very repetitive and an general lack of unit selection within the small faction roster means one goes very like one other. As soon as unlocked, you may solely retain a handful of them from marketing campaign to marketing campaign, counting on random loot to offer you attention-grabbing items mid-play. Including insult to damage, you may’t use unlocked stuff from campaigns within the multiplayer and even the single-player skirmish vs AI – which it’s a must to be on-line to make use of. It is a separate grind solely to get new stuff to be used in multiplayer.
It took me 30 hours to win the campaigns on all three difficulties, and I am going to admit that I got here up with some actual tacky methods to do it. I might conservatively estimate that it might take 100 or extra hours of gameplay to unlock every part in both mode. That is not as a result of there’s a lot attention-grabbing stuff to unlock, that is as a result of Age of Sigmar: Storm Floor is paced like a free-to-play cell sport. You get some cool stuff at first, however if you hit the grind wall you hit it onerous.