Having just been released, Warborn is a Turned Based Strategy that will see you ordering mechs known as Variable Armors across the battlefield either in a campaign or multiplayer mode. Having left for the stars and having started to populate colonies, not everything is sunshine and rainbows between the various factions and those that lay between.
Starting off with the campaign mode in order to get your feet wet and know what you’re playing with, our tale starts off with Luella as she orders her forces into action as she takes over an outpost to collect fuel and resources for her forces. Being very gameplay heavy, the narrative of the campaign acts to add in the context as to why you’re charging into battle while the battles themselves will tell the tales that will be passed onto the next generations.
In terms of Turned Based Combat, Warborn finds itself in an interesting middle blend of elements. Set in a “your turn” / “their turn” fashion, each turn you’ll be able to order your unit to move and then take an action. Don’t want to move? You can simply take an action though it will end that unit’s turn as they can only move prior to attacking an enemy or repairing an ally and this is only the first step in the series of challenge modifiers that you’ll be facing.
The biggest “obstacle” to taking on your enemies is that the grid that you will be facing them on is hex-based and most of your attacks all have to follow the rule of line of sight. If they are only two hexes away but that’s not in the line of sight, you can’t target them. Now the obvious statement is that this can also be heavily used to your own advantage especially when ordering your troops around. Combining line of sight with say mountains on the field will basically create a nice little killbox for any enemy deciding to charge towards you as they can’t fire until they hit that corridor. Does it always work? Unfortunately not but that’s why you have some selection to work off of.
While some units are more expensive than others as they are essentially more powerful, it’s not always the immediate case which adds into the strategic elements. Your default mechs will be able to move a fair distance, shoot a fair range or throw a grenade which doesn’t require line of sight. The ones above that have a heavier weapon and don’t move as far, but they can also take a bit more of a hit. Moving down the line, you have other units that move very far, don’t do much damage but they are your scouts and can detect landmines. Contrary to that, you have your snipers and your heavy artillery that move two to three hexes but the damage that can do is stellar but don’t let your snipers get hit as they really can’t take the punishment.
These units all create a balance to one another as they can all be used for an offensive advance just as easily as a defense stance. There’s a learning curve to them, especially as your opponents get smarter, but then where would be the challenge if you were to obviously win all of the time. The campaign does provide this challenge but others may simply want to test their mettle in the multiplayer arena against other players. Just make sure that you have the time to dedicate to this however as Warborn is a hard title to nail down in terms of time that it can take you to complete a stage or a battle. With all of the models available to you and the types of terrains that you’ll be using them on, things can go swiftly just as they can take forever especially if your plan is to move several heavy artillery into place.
Thankfully, there are a few options to speed things along such as holding the “A” Button to make your units “run” into place”. It’s still the same movement range, but they get there much faster. Another option is that you can turn off the combat animations which while are pretty, add to the amount of time as it moves the hexes of all of the units involved into a facebook screen for tons of visuals. Great for the first few times but if you really want to keep up the pace, you’ll be turning them off which I was happy to have as a feature as it’s exactly what I do in Disgaea, Fire Emblem and SD Gundam G Generations Cross Rays.