Warhammer 40,000: Sanctus Reach was an admirable — if slightly clunky — turn-based strategy game set in the popular sci-fi setting of grim, darkness & far-futures. You commanded the Space Wolves, fought hordes of Orks, and you had had access to everything from tanks & flamers to one of the smaller classes of Titans. It was surprisingly tactical & fun, and an interesting facsimile of the physical table-top game. Several months later and we’re now staring down the barrel of the game’s first expansion which gives the Ork faction some dedicated content as well as some other minor improvements.
The actual campaign in Legacy of the Weirdboy, surprisingly titled ‘Legacy of the Weirdboy’, actually showcases a lot of cool new features that serve to enhance the overall solo experience. For starters, there are neat mini-intros to all of the major missions. Done in comic-book style, these add a lot of personality to the rather dry affair that were the Stormclaw/Hour of the Wolf campaigns. Further to this, there’s a lot more transparency to the progress of the campaign – each main mission clearly states how many skirmishes you need to unlock it. Skirmish missions also now come with descriptions detailing what type of mission it is, what the objectives will be and the force-limit/map size. Since you always have more skirmish options than you need to take in order to unlock the next mission, it’s incredibly useful to be able to pick & choose which ones you want to do.
Playing as the Orks is actually quite refreshing. If you’ve been using them in Skirmish or Multiplayer you’ll know how they handle already, but the new units give them a few neat extra tactical options, especially against the Space Wolf heavy-hitters. If you’ve never really taken them for a spin before, well… things will get messy. Ork tactics in the base game favoured swarms with lesser units, which is still more or less true here, but you need to be able to follow up with something that can actually do some damage. A Space Wolf hero can easily solo several groups of Nobz of Goffz, so you’ll need something like the Battle Wagon, a couple of Flash Gitz or even a Killa Kan to do most of the heavy lifting. Keeping your units alive using the Painboy, while slightly un-Orky, is also advised.
Where as I always tried to be tactical and methodical while playing the Space Wolves (every loss was one keenly felt), with Orks I’ve enjoyed just letting go with abandon – the best defence is a good offence being my main mantra. Even when playing a Skirmish mission where I need to defend my control points, rushing in head first for some good ol’ Dakka is always the plan. It does mean a high rate of attrition, but I’ve found a better spread of units are getting XP and upgrading, so it seems to be paying off overall.
The main missions themselves are fairly interesting set pieces with unique objectives, much like the Space Wolf campaign, although these ones seem very well suited to Ork-style gameplay. It’s more about looting, smash & grab, and the first mission especially is quite fun because you start off with a small force that gets bigger as you take more control points (something which happens in later main missions as well).
Weirdboy launches with a free patch that comes with improvements of its own, and it’s important to lay out what you’re paying for, and what you’re getting for free. The DLC adds the Ork campaign itself, with the new objectives, the comic-style story etc…, the new units for both factions (although I’m told those same new units are available in Multiplayer regardless of whether you’ve paid or not) and a full suite of abilities for the Orks’ levelling tree. Sadly, none of the campaign improvements have been transferred to the Space Wolf solo experiences.
The free patch deals with more fundamental changes – when a unit levels up mid-match, you can choose which ability it takes (this is initially confusing as the boxes just appear on the left hand side of the screen without warning or context). You can now also change the game’s difficulty during a mission, and difficulty levels in general have been re-balanced. With what we’ve played so far, the AI seems challenging but not overwhelming, which is good.
If you’re completely turned off by Orks as a concept, then this is by no means an essential expansion; The free patch is good enough to see you through to whatever it is Straylight is working on next with its iterative improvements. The new campaign is pretty cool, though a relatively short affair at four main missions and a minimum of 9 skirmish missions. For $10/£9.99, you’re pretty much getting exactly what it says on the ammo crate; nothing more, nothing less. Legacy of the Weirdboy adds some fun and fresh new toys to play with, and you shouldn’t dismiss it out of turn. Ultimately, as a wise man once said: DAKKA DAKKA.
The author is a full-time employee of Wargamer Ltd., and this article reviews a game published by a member of the Slitherine Group of companies. For further information on this, please consult the Reviews Policy and the About Us pages.