STAFF REVIEW of Warhammer Quest (Xbox One)

Saturday, March 11, 2017.
by John Elliott

Warhammer Quest Box art As a young nerd who played a lot of video games, I also played a lot of pen and paper RPG’s like Dungeons and Dragons or Vampire, and of course my fair share of board games. With that being said, I never made the plunge into playing Warhammer games mostly due to the fact that I am a horrible artist who didn’t want to butcher my pieces by painting them. In hindsight I could have had a friend who was more artistic paint some up for me, but alas, Warhammer never came to be a game I played, and as an adult I have not had the time to play. A video game option definitely seemed like the best recourse to replace my poor artistic skills and get me into the game though, hence my interest in writing my review for Warhammer Quest.

Graphically, the gameplay is more like playing Dungeons & Dragons where you have a grid map that you travel through and fight various enemies which range from monsters like rats, goblins, orcs, to run of the mill bandits or soldiers. Did I mention the graphics seem like they are from the over 10 years ago? Along with that there is a bunch of stereotypical adventures that are 'save-the-princess' variety or 'defeat-the-bandit' raids that are detailed with brief blurbs on the screen detailing the adventure you are about go on.

There are no animated stories to watch and there is no voice over work to detail the finer points of the adventure(s) you are about to partake in. Suffice to say, with the environments designed on a basic bird’s eye view, the characters and NPC’s are designed in the same way so you don’t even get to see your characters faces unless you count the very boring portraits in the adventurer’s guild where you select your party.

Along with the dated visuals are some lackluster sound effects and music that, from what I experienced, seemed to be thrown in because the developers thought for a few minutes and had a "Eureka!" moment which helped them decide that these elements might be good in this game. Suffice to say you have the sounds of weapons like swords, axes, and bows and arrows as they fly through the air, and for the bulk of the time, missing their targets.

It should be noted that Warhammer Quest was originally released on PC in January of 2015 and shortly later that year on iOS. From the research I have done, compared to what we have on the Xbox One, it is purely a port. Unfortunately for gamers this means that the gameplay is not optimized for a console play though.

This is immediately noticeable when navigating the menu system. On the console the bumpers and triggers are often used as shortcuts to navigate menus, and I had to use the analog stick/d-pad to scroll through all of the options to get to the menu button I needed. You will find that you will hit the wrong way and it messes up the order you are scrolling through, leaving you to cycle through a few more options. Suffice to say it is quite obvious that game was made to be used with a touchscreen or mouse.

With this obvious annoyance of being optimized for other platforms or devices, I did find that I managed to enjoy the combat for the most part. I have always enjoyed turn based tactical games and Warhammer Quest delivers on that front, but in the most basic of forms because it’s more about being at the right place rather than making sound tactical maneuvers. For the most part I just have all tank type characters that can take a lot of damage and let them wail on the enemies and take them down. I’ve tried using missile type characters, like Rangers and Mages, but more often than not they miss their targets which creates plenty of frustrating moments early when trying to use a balanced party, at least in my opinion.

The rest of Warhammer Quest is pretty much about entering a dungeon, killing enemies, completing a quest, then go to town to collect your reward and repeat. This is appealing to many gamers who like the aspect of doing battle and collecting a lot of loot, and I do admit I enjoyed doing this in short bursts where the mobile aspect of this games history comes out, though unfortunately you'll find some negative in this console port.

Mobile games are not designed for players to sit for hours playing a game over and over again. They are set up to play in short bursts, about 10-15 minutes while you’re on a bus ride or visiting, ahem, the porcelain throne. With this in mind, Warhammer Quest gets boring quickly and doesn’t have a whole lot of staying power to keep you interested for long. This is a huge bummer as this game has a good foundation for fun but totally falls apart with the finer points of the game not being fleshed out as well as they could.

It's kind of sad really, but with dated graphics and sound effects, controls that seem better focused for PC or mobile devices, and some combat balance issues, Warhammer Quest is more of a bust than a boon. Maybe it could build itself into a solid franchise like many games that didn’t do well the first time around and rebounded to greatness. Here is hoping things can turn around and fans get games like this, but more polished in the future.

Overall: 5.5 / 10
Gameplay: 6.0 / 10
Visuals: 5.0 / 10
Sound: 5.0 / 10


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