For decades the Warhammer 40K universe has been serving as a paragon for everything hardcore, badass, and dark in all fantasy. This world was full to the brim with heroics, blood, destruction, and constant war between the forces of Order and Chaos. The simplest summary of the game’s plot is that our galaxy has been twisted into an unfathomable horror where an eternal, impossibly vast conflict occurs between several absurdly powerful genocidal, xenocidal, and (in at least one case) omnicidal sides, with every imaginable weapon, ideology, and creative piece of bloodwork turned up to eleven. The game’s central faction, the Imperium of Man, is a paranoid, fascist, religious state which overtook the galaxy but is struggling to maintain its grip on its territory. Its leader, known only as the Emperor, was betrayed and laid low by his most beloved son, Horus, and has been locked up on life support for more than ten millennia, physically dead yet psychically conscious. Long established in the background as being directly responsible for the shape the galaxy is in in the 41st millennium, the Horus Heresy is the subject of a series of novels and audiobooks by various authors. As the name indicates, this game too was based on that monumental event.
Let’s make things clear at the beginning; The Horus Heresy: Legions is never going to replace Hearthstone as the headlining TCG game. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying out. This game is a real treat for all the fans of the grimdark gothic W4K universe, and they will feel at home playing it. Everything feels like the real deal, from the growling warlords all the way to the lowest stature minions you throw in the fire as a distraction.
And on top of that, the play here is incredibly complex. You can get the gist of it in a few turns but delve deeper and you’ll find an abundance of tactical options that are going to keep you tweaking your deck for days.
The game sees you building up a deck of cards and taking on all-comers. The base your deck is built around is a warlord. If your warlord dies, you lose. If you kill the opponent’s warlord, well, guess what happens. Warlords can attack too, holding the centerline in the battlefield. They have special powers too, which cost energy, and some of them have extra kickers that can change an imminent defeat into victory.
A brief single-player tutorial walks you through the basics of the game, then you’re left to your own skills to build your own deck, buy new cards, and take on other players in 1v1 matches. Energy is your main resource, and every card you play costs a certain amount of energy. Energy also builds up round to round, so you can’t pull out your mightiest cards at the beginning of the match. Instead, it’s advisable to build your defenses and use weaker attacks to chip your opponent’s energy.
The multiplayer is smooth, and for the most part, I’ve had no trouble finding an opponent. You get new cards and coins pretty quickly to start off with, so there’s plenty of scope for customizing your deck. Thinking up ways to take down your opponents is key to success, and since there are a huge variety of warlords out there, you’re going to need to plan different stratagems to win.
This game isn’t made just for the GW die-hard gamers, but without any doubt, they are going to enjoy it the most, if nothing then for the references, aesthetic, and high-space-fantasy mannerism. Underneath it all, this game is well worth checking out. It doesn’t do anything innovating, but it’s got enough content and features to deserve a spot on your home screen.