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  • Writer's pictureRoberto Nieves

Review - Warhammer 40,000: Battlesector

In the grim dark of the far future, the mind is just as deadly as any weapon. The Imperium of Man stretches its might across the galaxy, but the enemies of man are vicious and unremorseful. When facing the vile villainy of the Tyranids, a sound mind can be deadlier than the heaviest of Bolters. This is war, and war requires the might of brothers and the strongest of intelligence. Vengeance is at hand. Coming from Slitherine Games is Warhammer 40,000: Battlesector.

An adaptation of the famed tabletop game, Warhammer 40,000: Battlesector, puts players into the role of the Blood Angels, the most revered chapter of the Adeptus Astartes. With the moon of Baal under siege, players take back what's theirs. This remarkable adaptation for the tabletop game features gripping turn-based combat, a multitude of units, and plenty of gameplay options to satiate the most hardened of tactical players. Warhammer 40,000: Battlesector is great for those new to Warhammer or those who have fought tooth and nail for the Emperor.

A Home Under Siege

Warhammer 40,000: Battlesector puts players right into the thick of it. The Moon of Baal has been attacked by the Tyranids. This moon is the seminal homeworld of the Blood Angels and is honorably sacred ground. With the Tyranids invading the moon, the Blood Angels find themselves in an existential crisis as the Tryranids seek to rid the Marines from existence. From the ashes of destruction, new heroes arise.

Sgt Calereon and his allies muster whatever forces remain and set about liberating the moon. As a member of the Adeptus Astartes, the will of the Emperor is at your disposal. However, the Tyranids are smart, acting as one Hive Mind to accomplish their goals. There's one thing that the Tyranids didn't count on: This is your house. The Blood Angels are set to crush the Tyranids with impunity and justice.

Blood Angel Marines unleash plasma rifle fire on enemy Tyranids

Mind Over Heretics

Warhammer 40,000: Battlesector is a turn-based strategy action game. Players familiar with turn-base titles will undoubtedly find themselves at home, but the game has plenty of depth. As an adaptation for the tabletop game, players have plenty of units to utilize, as well as an incredible amount of depth. Warhammer 40,000: Battlesector focuses on Action points for movement and combat. Players move their units across the board, each movement unveiling the fog of war across large battlefields.

The Tyranids are greatly inspired by the Xenomorphs of the Aliens movies. They move quickly and often in packs. Most units utilize acidic rifles from afar as the species uses organic weaponry to destroy and terraform. Some fly while others use razor-sharp claws to tear into the armor of the marines. Worse yet, Tyranids unleash a devastating counterattack should a unit flee an adjacent Tyranid. From the very beginning, Warhammer 40,000: Battlesector is a battle for survival every step of the way.

Marines take aim and fire their bolters at Tyranids

Hersey will not be Tolerated

The Blood Angels may be outnumbered but not outmanned. Players have access to an incredibly diverse array of weapons and units. Players begin with the standard Blood Angel infantry, such as Assault Marine Squads, but steadily move up to include deadlier units. Aggressor Squads don powerful exosuits that deal heavy firepower at the cost of movement. Scout units are lightly armored but reveal enemies long before they can strike. Dreadnoughts are walking tanks, with their pilots fusing themselves to a devastating weapons platform.

Battles can easily last for more than an hour, though fortunately, there are autosaves and the ability to manually save. Choosing the right units and knowing each unit's combat potential is essential. A scout ship is god for early enemy detection and engaging small groups but is quickly decimated by larger tyranids. The Assault Squads can hold their own against most types of Tyranid, but to put a scratch in a large Tyranid, such as a Tyrannofex, having an Aggressor Squad or Librarian is a must.

Marines encounter flying tyranids

The Emperor Protects

There is a euphoric thrill to the combat. Intercessors can pulverize the enemy with cybernetic claws and shower a tile in mortars. A Dreadnought impales even the mightiest of tyranid with an energized Halberd. Aggressor squads roar in on their jetpacks and slice through the vile aliens. When a tactic goes well, it's a thrilling sensation. This is especially true when using Hero units, which use their special abilities to gain an edge on the field.

Sgt Calderon is accompanied by other Hero units, including Tech marines and priests. These units have their own special attacks and abilities. The Tech Marine can offer cybernetic buffs for mechanical enemies, while priests can raise health for multiple units. If a Hero unit builds enough attacks, a special ability gauge fills. This allows for an additional action point or a special buff to an ability. Oftentimes, this ability allowed me to get out of a pinch.

Concept art for the daemons of chaos

Otherwordly Creatures

It must be stated again how dangerous the Tyranids are. In addition to numbers and strength, the enemy spreads its poison through weapons and close contact. Even if enemies survive an attack, other Tyranid units, such as Exocrine, cast their poison that slowly kills the Blood Angels. With limited healing, knowing who to heal is essential to victory, making success all the more rewarding.

There is a long buffet line of content to enjoy that easily makes Warhammer 40,000: Battlesector one of the best, if not the best, Warhammer 40,000 experiences. The game has seen multiple DLCs released. Players are now able to play as Necrons, Orks, and Khorne, creating an experience on par with the tabletop game. Every battle is a battle between life and death, and when victory is achieved, it feels great. It helps that the presentation for Warhammer 40,000: Battlesector is sharp, with vivid detail and effects to bring out the Warhammer experience.

Marines bottleneck tyranids and destroy them

For the glory of Sanguinious

Accompanying the experience is a strong story for the main campaign. Warhammer 40,000: Battlesector is as much about political power plays as devastating cybernetic weaponry. The story of the Blood Angels is a captivating one that infuses philosophy, brotherhood, and legacy. The story features full voice acting, and the character gives it their all during this lengthy campaign. It's a satisfying chapter in the world of Warhammer 40,000 and does a great job of immersing players in the conflict.

The only real ask I could make of Warhammer 40,000: Battlesector is the ability to have a new campaign or two. With the richness of the Warhammer 40,000 universe, another campaign would be splendid with this combat philosophy and presentation. Alas, there is only one campaign, though it does have 20 missions. There are other modes accompanying the experience, including Planet Surpemacy and Skirmish Mode. A recent horde mode, called Daemonic Incursion, challenges players to survive against waves of enemies.

Take back your home

Warhammer 40,000: Battlesector is an excellent example of translating a tabletop gaming experience. The presentation and production values are sharp, and the gameplay is even sharper, with multiple gameplay modes to participate in. It isn't easy getting it right, but Black Lab game studios did it. Warhammer 40,000: Battlesector is sure to excite anyone who plays strategy games and greatly please the fans of the Warhammer 40,000 universe. Warhammer 40,000: Battlesector is a battle worth waging.

Warhammer 40,000: Battlesector was reviewed on the Steam Deck thanks to a review key from Slitherine Games

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