Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Realms of Ruin Preview
As an occasional tabletop gamer — and maybe even more so as a model painter — my favorite subset of Warhammer 40K is Age of Sigmar. Maybe it’s the operatic fiction pitting order against chaos or the incredibly varied races that work so well. It’s an understatement that the Warhammer universe is represented in videogmes. Heck, it’s a one-IP industry, with every genre of game getting the Warhammer treatment. It’s also true that quantity doesn’t usually equate with quality, and a lot of Warhammer videogames have been disappointments. Which bring us to Age of Sigmar: Realms of Ruin, an upcoming real time strategy game that might be one of the best translations of Sigmar’s world yet.
The Drawing of the Three
In a recent demo, the developers showed off Realms of Ruin’s basic gameplay loop and three of it’s four factions. Unlike the Total War versions of Warhammer, Realms of Ruin is a classic RTS game. There are no grand strategy elements, overworld maps or worrying about diplomacy. This is pure base building, capture point capturing and brutal skirmishes as your faction moves through its campaign.
The demo introduces three races, with a fourth coming at the time of release. There are the Stormcast Eternals, those righteous elite soldiers specially created by Sigmar to battle Chaos. The green-tinted Orruk Kruleboyz specialize in stealth, surprise and pairing with a variety of monstrous creatures. Finally, there are the Nighthaunt, ethereal, undead necromancers who glide over the battlefield in overwhelming numbers. Like the best asymmetric RTS games, each faction has unique units, heroes and structures to build, capture or destroy.
Paint the Models, Play the Game
All of the game’s units come from the tabletop version’s vast catalog. And all of them have physical model counterparts. Painting Warhammer figures is a subset of the hobby, and there are plenty of fans who never actually play the game, just paint the models. Age of Ruin recognizes this in an incredibly cool way. Players can digitally paint the units and then place them in 3D scenic dioramas. I can’t wait to dive more into this feature with all the included factions.
Up close, the units look great, with engaging battle animations. Zoomed out, the masses of larger unit groups can be a little hard to distinguish, especially in factions like the Nighthaunt and Stormcast Eternals. It isn’t a huge problem to find the level of zoom that splits the difference.
Age of Ruin’s audio and, especially, melodramatic score are very good. As is often true with RTS games, the unit verbal responses can get a bit repetitious, but they do a great job of adding character to the three factions.
I’m a huge RTS fan and the three included factions are some of my favorites (let’s hope the fourth faction is the Nurgle). The 90 minutes or so of the demo left an excellent impression and definitely made me anxious to dive into the full game when it releases on November 17.
Thank you for keeping it locked on COGconnected.