|Dev: Game's Workshop||Review Rating Legend|
|Pub: THQ||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Release: Dec. 12, 2007||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Players: 1-8||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|Review by Cole Smith||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Cole Smith
The Warhammer franchise has been adopted, adapted, and assimilated into a handheld gaming system. The result is Warhammer 40,000: Squad Command, a turn-based, tactical game which lives up to its name quite well despite some in-your-face technical issues. It's still a fun game that manages to extract a lot of action from the turn-based genre. It's like carrying a futuristic war around in your pocket.
The Warhammer franchise is deep. There are tons of Warhammer games on the market, from video to board games, not to mention plenty of literature which expounds and expands upon the Warhammer universe. Fortunately, you don't have to know anything about Warhammer's heritage. This game explains everything that you need to know to play it, although fans will be rewarded with various references to races, places, and faces. Nicely produced cutscenes explain the war being waged between the space marines of Chaos and the Imperium.
As the name suggests, Chaos are the bad guys. Playing as the Imperium, you command six units on the battlefield. There are a series of missions and objectives to complete, with the ultimate objective of destroying the enemy in the process. You'll have a satisfying arsenal of weapons at your disposal including lasers, plasma beams, and tanks. It's as though Warhammer 40,000: Squad Command wants to be a RTS rather than a turn-based game. It does straddle the boundary between the two with some really good animated action sequences and a quick pace, but the lack of a grid system makes aiming the cursor more difficult than it would be with a mouse. Commands are relegated to the D-pad. You don't even get the option to use the nub, which I thought was a no-brainer. The D-pad just doesn't have the flexibility required, causing you to make mistakes by selecting the wrong unit or sending the right unit to the wrong place.
It's difficult to see the entire battlefield. Even though the maps are 3D, the camera angle is limited, mostly to an overhead, isometric perspective. The environments are almost entirely destructible, which causes the battlefield to change after virtually every turn, since obstacles will be destroyed, with new places to take cover or shoot from created. This dynamic battlefield really adds an extra dimension to the strategy element of the gameplay. Units have to be continually moved as protective obstacles are blown to bits. You'll have to decide if you should spend your points on moving or attacking if you notice that the enemy is vulnerable at that time.
Here's an overview of how the game works: After selecting and outfitting your six units, you will command them around the battlefield using action points. These points are limited so you have to make the best choices possible. You can move your units around the battlefield or attack the enemy. You can only attack the enemy if they are within your line of sight, which is not made any more convenient by the limited camera angle. Once you choose to attack, you can set the direction of your attack and use a few points to increase the accuracy. Once your points have been spent, your turn is over and the game plays out your decisions. It's then your opponent's turn to try to destroy you.