Necromunda: Underhive Wars is based on the recent re-release of the original ’90s skirmish tabletop game produced by Games Workshop. Developed by Rogue Factor, the game has released on PC, PS4, and Xbox One after a troubled development. For the most part, there aren’t many obvious signs of this though.
The game’s campaign is the best way to learn the basics of this turn-based strategy RPG, and you’re willed to do so by some gorgeous cutscenes. While the cutscenes look impressive, there are often framerate dips that can disrupt them. This sets the tone for a game in which there are often trade-offs for what it otherwise gets right.
The lore and setting are ripe for storytelling. However, the missions are little more than standard fare fetch quests and take out enemy targets – nothing revolutionary or even evolutionary. On top of that, completing the campaign is the only way to unlock some of the character customizations, which feels needlessly punishing.
Competent AI drags out the gameplay
The enemy AI puts up a competent challenge, but it feels like a real slog to work through, unfortunately. Their movements are often cumbersome, dragging out the battles to an unnatural length and frequently collide with their surroundings. The locations are suitably bleak for the dystopian setting, but the skirmishes can often feel underwhelming.
Much like the environment, the characters are a little rough around the edges. That grants them some intrigue. Their designs are typical of the Warhammer adjacent style, which gives them some authority. The dialogue might be decent, but the delivery and audio direction is clunky. As a result, it renders the characters unlikeable. It sounds like people reading voice lines rather than having a proper conversation.
Plenty of customization options
Once you’ve finished the campaign, Necromunda thrives in the impressive depth on offer for character customization. Being able to adapt each member of your gang helps create something of an affinity with your squad. You can rename your team members and change their body types. However, the body types are tied to an archetypical statistical distribution. So the heavier set characters will have lessened agility, making them less suitable for particular roles.
There’s flexibility in your battle options too. You’re able to move a forgiving distance through the map while still being able to use some attacks. This can help add variety to your turns. The map offers some satisfying opportunities to get tactical with the opportunity to use the level design to your advantage. Obstacles can be vaulted, even if the enemy AI often gets caught up in them accidentally. In addition, being able to swing, climb, or drop to different levels of the map grants some verticality.
Sadly, bugs and crashes have plagued the game since launch. When you pair that with gameplay that can often verge on sluggish, this detracts from the potential on offer elsewhere in the game. Hopefully, if the team manages to solve these issues, the game will be worth picking up a couple of months into its release. Otherwise, pass it up.
Game Freaks 365 received a free review copy.