Published on August 14th, 2021 | by John Werner
Warhammer 40,000: Battlesector PC Review
Summary: Take back the Blood Angels homeworld from the Tyrranid swarm
Having faced near extinction of their Chapter during the devastation of their home world ‘Baal’, the Blood Angles now seek to purge their planet of the remnants of the Tyrranid swam that remains. With their ranks now bolstered with a new breed of warriors known as the Primaris Space Marines, Sargent Carleon leads his forces in ‘Warhammer 40,000: Battlesector’, a turn-based strategy game set deep in the heart of the 40k universe.
Like most games (table-top and digital) set within the many Games Workshop universes, ‘Warhammer 40,000: Battlesector’ is deep in lore and features an incredibly story driven narrative. Most players will be able to jump right in and start playing from the word ‘go’, but those who aren’t familiar with the Blood Angles, Tyrranids, or Warhammer 40k in general would be advised in watching some TL:DR videos on YouTube in order to better understand some of the terminology used in the game. The Warhammer 40,000 universe has undergone many changes over the years, so there is nothing wrong with doing a little extra reading to bring you up to speed. If anything, it will make you appreciate and comprehend the gravity of the situation that the Blood Angles now find themselves in.
‘Warhammer 40,000: Battlesector’ is a turn-based battle of endurance and survival that will keep players on their toes with each passing moment. Using a point cost system similar to the table-top game, players assemble their army from a roster of available unit types before starting the mission. In early stages of the game, players will only have access to some basic units ranging from your basic infantry squads to more robust specialised heavy weapon troops. With progression, you’ll gain access to additional vehicles such as the iconic Land Speeder and Furiosa Dreadnought, along with reinforcements from the Sisters of Battle. Further bolstering your army are your HQ units, the leaders of your forces. These powerful warriors are battle tested veterans of countless crusades, capable of single handily taking down the most powerful foes in hand-to-hand combat whilst empowering nearby units with powerful buffs. More importantly, they provide the dialogue for the campaign’s narrative during cetaceans before and after missions, along with various small amounts dialogue during missions at key moments of the battle.
As far as turn-based strategy games go, ‘Battlesector’ is an exhilarating battle of strategy, adaptability, and mental endurance. Players are given very little intel on what they can expect prior to starting the mission. All that is known to you are the clues given in the pre-mission dialogue and how many points you’ve got to spend on troops. Thankfully, the first few missions are relatively gentle and forgiving, allowing players to experiment with different strategies and troop combinations, as they get a feel for what kind of approach they prefer when hunting down the alien swarm. Each level is vastly different from the previous, ranging from wide open plains covered in pockets of radiation to narrow city streets that force your units to travel in single file. There is no way of knowing what the game will throw at you next or how many bugs you’ll need to purge before you’ve secured the area. In each mission, you’ll need to keep fighting until every last Tyrranid has been killed and if you’re not quick enough, the swarm will keep coming. As the mission drags on, more and more Tyrranid will swarm on your forces, coming at you from every direction, hidden by the fog of war. Ensuring your units are watching every direction is vital to preventing flank attacks and being caught off guard. Sometimes, all it takes is one strong bug to spawn behind you before your troops are overrun and swallowed up by the alien swarm.
Combat is an enormous amount of fun thanks to the intricate attention to detail. There are two types of units in ‘Battlesector’, individual units such as your commanders and vehicles and your squad units that are made up of multiple troops but still function as one unit. All troops, regardless of if they’re in a squad or not, have their own health bar. As the bullets rain down across the battlefield, you’ll notice that each individual troop will pick their own targets within the enemy squad and change their stance based on who they’re aiming at, just like in a real firefight. As each troop dies, the attacker will switch targets and continue firing the remainder of their shots. A good example of this is when watching the Baal Predator Tank cut down an entire unit, swivelling on the spot as it switches between targets. It’s this level of attention that separates ‘Warhammer 40,000: Battlesector’ apart from other turn based strategy games that I’ve played. The only issue I have with this is that while the camera can be zoomed in close to see all of the small details, there isn’t much option to zoom out and see the whole map from afar. If you’re like me and want to command the battlefield like a giant chess game, then this might be a pet peeve that you’ll need to overcome.
Outside of the campaign, ‘Warhammer 40,000: Battlesector’ offers skirmish missions as well as multiplayer options. Unfortunately, there are only two teams to pick from but plenty of different scenarios to test your skill in. For the more daring players, skirmishes can be randomised, making players rely on their ability to adapt to each situation. Playing skirmishes is also a good way to try out some of the different weapon options for your units before taking your chances in the campaign. Most units will have different weapons available to them that can be unlocked by spending skill points during the campaign. However, all weapon options and upgrades are unlocked for players to try out when playing in multiplayer and skirmish matches. Taking a break from the campaign to play custom matches is also a great way to build strategies and figure out your play style.
To date, ‘Warhammer 40,000: Battlesector’ is the best digital rendition of the Warhammer 40k table-top miniatures game that I’ve ever played. The amazing attention to detail and unknowing nature of each mission will resonate deeply with 40k fans and be a good starting point for newcomers to the franchise. Personally, I would have loved to have seen more factions engaged in battle but introducing the Sisters of Battle as reinforcements has been a clever way to expand the list of units available without straying away from the deep lore that the game is set in. Although I wouldn’t call ‘Battlesector’ a difficult game, it does pose quite the challenge for players of all skill levels. I recommend this game to anyone who wants to get into Warhammer or is already a fan. Hopefully more units and factions will become available in the future, further adding to enormous amount replay value.