NECROMUNDA: UNDERHIVE WARS: Review

 The tactical strategy game Necromunda: Underhive Wars from Rogue Factor, created on the basis of the "board game" of the same name, allows video game lovers to join for the first time yet another piece of the dark universe of Warhammer 40K. This time we will talk about the battles of bandit groups in the cramped dungeons of the imperial hive cities on the planet Necromunda.


What constitutes underhive, why gangs fight each other and why Underhive Wars turned out to be a tactic for the most patient, we will now tell you.



Metro 40,000

Among the millions of planets in the Imperium, there are some of the most important Wahi events — the hive worlds. The name speaks for itself - each such planet is distinguished by an extremely high population density, which lives on the territory of individual conglomerates that rise tens of kilometers up and cover entire continents.

If the inhabitants of the top of the hive can pamper themselves with delicious food and access to sunlight and clean air, and the inhabitants of the middle levels are provided with work and housing, then in the underhive (which, as the name implies, is located deep under the city) there is a constant shortage of water, food and electricity. Abandoned city districts, ruins of old factories, communication canals, caves of natural origin, poisonous dumps - such is the typical area of ​​the subhive, which lives its own strange life, almost unrelated to the events taking place on the surface.

Nevertheless, the dungeons do not completely die out and do not slide into the anarchy of the Stone Age, despite the eternal lack of things necessary for elementary survival - there are settlements here with their own laws, trade (including with the townspeople from the hive), and wars, itself yourself.

NECROMUNDA: UNDERHIVE WARS: Review

Difficult living conditions and a lack of resources lead to the fact that gangs become the main form of organization for those who want to guarantee themselves food and shelter. The tabletop Necromunda (the first edition of which was published a quarter of a century ago) and its video game adaptation are dedicated to the bandit wars of the underhive.

The right of the strong


There are three factions in NUW (in the original source there are twice as many), each with its own abilities, bright appearance and backstory. House Escher is a militant feminist who considers the very fact that men are among the people to be an unfortunate misunderstanding that has to be put up with. House Goliath preaches a cult of brute force, hates weaklings and solves problems with the help of big fists and equally big guns. The last house, Orlok, is one of the richest in Necromunda, and he prefers to fight with ranged weapons.

There is only one campaign, but the plot in it is shown from the point of view of three houses at once, so you will be able to play for all the gangs. There is also a mode in which you can develop your gang - recruit recruits, trade in equipment, make forays into the labyrinths of the underhive for resources, and even fight with other players who likewise cherish and cherish their own gangs.
NECROMUNDA: UNDERHIVE WARS: Review

Despite the fact that the entrance to this mode is accompanied by a remark from the developers, they say, first go through the campaign as a training, let me disagree with this advice. A campaign is just a set of fifteen missions, united by a common plot, and it is difficult to learn something in the process of passing them. In addition, the choice of the composition of the gang, equipment management, pumping - that is, the lion's share of the gameplay, for someone no less important in such strategies than battles - remains behind the scenes.

Tactics for the patient


As for the battles, they are classic turn-based tactics, despite the original way of controlling the squad members. Action points and movement points, initiative, turns in turn are a familiar set of any such strategy in place, but the moves are made using direct control from a third-person view, and not through an isometric view and moving through the cells. An interesting solution, but it gives a controversial feeling: it is convenient, but planning suffers - given the multi-storey levels, it is easy to miss an advantageous position and give the enemy an advantage.

And this kind of control drags on the battles significantly, which is especially noticeable in battles with AI, where, unlike the multiplayer game, there is no constantly urging timer. Spending a few minutes on one character's turn to run through all the available places, choosing the best path and place to fire, is a common thing if you don't want to lose your fighters.
NECROMUNDA: UNDERHIVE WARS: Review

Buffs and effects in Underhive Wars are far more important than brute force. A direct attack at every opportunity is a sure way to defeat: it is often more profitable to first spend action points not on inflicting damage, but on strengthening allies and weakening enemies. It is clear that this approach also has a negative effect on the duration of battles. As a result, you will have to spend at least an hour on each mission.

In general, the pace of the game is very low and does not accelerate in any way after mastering the basics of the gameplay, therefore, the growth of skill is slow. Plus, bugs interfere - it is a dubious pleasure to watch a stupid AI poke at the wall during a change of position for half a minute (which happens on almost every move).

Here, the situation could be smoothed out by the plot - if you play the campaign for the sake of it, then long battles can be tolerated and the study of mechanics will be smoother. Unfortunately, the campaign does not give any revelations in this regard - even the colorful cut-scenes between missions do not save. You should also be prepared for the fact that you cannot find the usual attributes of the universe here, such as space marines bathing in pathos and inquisitors burning whole worlds. The world of Necromunda is a rather narrow offshoot of the "Wahi", with its own characters and iconic events, and Underhive Wars is the first attempt at its video game adaptation. However, NUW is interesting because it allows you to look at Warhammer 40K from a new perspective.
NECROMUNDA: UNDERHIVE WARS: Review

Since we again remembered about the "Wahi" universe, I cannot but mention one interesting moment: no one really hides that Underhive Wars is almost a complete copy of the previous Rogue Factor strategy, Mordheim: City of the Damned.

Having mastered Mordheim - it means that you will get comfortable here too without much difficulty. But the rest will have a hard time at first - if the campaign "didn't go", then it makes sense to immediately go to the standard mode, so as not to lose interest in the game. There will be enough tips there, and the plot can be passed later - if there is enough free time, of course.
War for resources
Managing your own gang is challenging but interesting. You can have up to one and a half dozen wards, but no more than five can be sent on a mission. Each has an impressive list of parameters available for pumping, a dozen active and passive skills, a set of equipment that includes both weapons and armor, and, finally, a unique specialization.

Do you think that's all? Not at all - each fighter has physical traits that are selected during recruitment and personality traits that are given randomly during a promotion in rank and can be both useful and not very useful. In battles, bandits have a chance to get injured or even die. The possibility of permanently losing a pumped fighter is another factor that does not allow you to treat the game carelessly.
NECROMUNDA: UNDERHIVE WARS: Review

To develop your gang, you need to make forays for resources in the available sectors of the underhive - welcome to operations, which are small campaigns from several missions. The choice of the route determines the difficulty of battles, the possible reward and the type of additional task. In addition to our gang, there will be others in the sector, controlled by AI.

There are several "points of interest" available for visiting on the sector map - in each phase of the operation, you need to define one of them as the target of a future sortie. If the opponents went to another place, then you will get all the loot without entering the battle, but much more often the choice of rivals coincides with yours and you have to fight.

The most interesting battles occur when three or more sides collide on the same map. Considering that the task does not always consist in the banal extermination of enemies (much more often it is the theft of resources), you can invent cunning tactics to avoid direct contact, until the gangs that are grappling with each other weaken each other, or completely steal the goal of the mission under the guise and retreat.

When the sector's resources are depleted, the operation will end, and each gang will receive their reward. You can start a new sortie in more difficult conditions (there will be more loot), or you can try your luck in online battles - and I advise you not to delay with the latter. The number of players is steadily dropping, and the fate of Mordheim looms before Necromunda - a good start, but rapidly losing the active backbone of the community.

Underhive Wars is unlikely to be very popular, but despite all the disadvantages, it cannot be called a bad tactic. The main drawback is too unhurried battles, during which most of the time you have to either watch the moves of the opponents, or long and tediously look for the best position for your soldiers. To get pleasure from the game, you need a solid supply of time and patience - podule does not tolerate fuss.

Pros: original setting; principles of tactical gameplay are observed; interesting mode of creating and developing a gang.

Cons: bugs; outdated graphics and animations; protracted battles.

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