The Warhammer Community site just announced that there will be codes for 12 different PC games in the physical edition of the White Dwarf magazine. But are these free White Dwarf pc games any good?
Since we have been planning on covering Warhammer PC games here at the site for a while now, we thought we would kick off our coverage with a short review of each of those 12 games.
So, if you’re in doubt whether the next White Dwarf will be worth picking up for the games alone, read on as Peter, Renato and Johannes from the Age of Miniatures writing team give their two cents on each game.
Warhammer: Vermintide 2 Review (RRP: Euro 27,99)
Johannes: “It’s worth picking up the magazine for this game alone! Vermintide 2 pits you and three other players against a horde of Skaven and Chaos Warriors. It takes place in the Old World of the Warhammer Fantasy games, and even though it’s an action-packed multiplayer game, it’s still full of lore and callbacks to that beloved fictional universe. You can play as 3 different humans, an Elf or a dwarf, and they constantly banter as you and the other players mow down the forces of Chaos. It is not an easy game by any stretch, and to play at the higher difficulty levels you need an intricate understanding of its many interlocking systems, but it’s just as fun to run around at the lower difficulty levels with a couple of random players, screaming in horror and trying to revive each other as the Skaven swarm around you. It’s Left 4 Dead, but with Empire heraldry, Nurgle worshippers and a loudmouth dwarf, so what’s not to like?”
Renato: “While this game can be played also solo, the real fun comes by playing it with friends. You could play also with random players, but is definitely funnier if you know who you are playing with. The game itself is often heavy discounted, but then there’s a plethora of cosmetic DLCs that you don’t need and the occasional new maps. If you are into hack ‘n’ slash then you are not going to run out of gore in this game.”
Peter: “Even though my steam account only says I have spend 13.5 hours in this game, I absolutely love it. Or maybe I just totally love the idea of it. The mechanics are much improved from the first one, not to mention that the loot actually makes sense in this second version of the game. But I have a very limited time to play with friends (scheduling is a pain), so I have mostly played with randos which is to say it nicely is not optimal. Killing things is fun, dying because people are slacking around is not fun. Most of the time I have found that the bot are actually better than most pickup groups! I hope more non-warhammer-fan-friends pick it up so I can get an actual group!”
Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine Review (RRP: Euro 19,99)
Johannes: “This is a 10 year old action game, so don’t expect it to have any of the progression and loot systems that everything has nowadays. What it does have is one of the purest takes on a Space Marine power fantasy ever conceived in any medium. You’re an ultramarine with a bolter and a chainsword (and with more weapons later on), and the Orks are coming for you by the thousands. As a sort of 2011 Bloodborne, the game let’s you regain health by performing kills, so you’re on the offensive at all times, even when the odds are against you. If you like space marines, it’s still a very fun game, but I think it feels a bit too dated to be interesting to anyone who’s not super into the poster boys of 40k. The action RPG Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor has a much broader take on the 40k universe if you are looking for something better. If you want to read more about how it feels to play the game today, James Davenport of PC Gamer wrote a nice piece about it here“
Peter: “I remember playing this game like 7 years ago. From time to time I get this super geeky boner for Space Marines and do all sorts of thing with Space Marines. This was one of those times and it was super fun! But, that fun was a fleeting quick summer romance. It was a shallow love for a very shallow game, but it could keep you entertained for a few hours. Just do not expect a super awesome storyline or a hidden action RPG gem.”
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War Review (RRP: Euro 12,99 for the GOTY Edition)
Johannes: “This was one of the first Warhammer 40,000 games I ever played. I had a demo of it on a crappy laptop I brought on a road trip to Norway around the time the game was released, and I was completely enthralled by all the strange units, wargear and tactical combat that felt really cinematic compared to a lot of what was otherwise available at the time. I wouldn’t recommend picking up White Dwarf just for this game, though, since Dawn of War II is a much better game, and since Dawn of War I only really starts to shine in its expansions. Winter Assault is my favorite of those, and it’s the only Dawn of War pack where you can play as the Imperial Guard/Astra Militarum.”
Renato: “This game aged decently well considering it’s from 2006. It’s an RTS (Real Time Strategy) at its core with frenetic base building and different units and races to master. There are different expansions available that you may be interested in if you like the core game. Although, consider that its sequel, Dawn of War II, is a much more advanced game with the same core mechanics while Dawn of War III is a more modern spiritual successor although not as loved as previous ones”.
Peter: “Why would they put the old game as a freebie? Ohh well. This is an RTS, so that sort of seals the deal for me. I have plenty of friends that have desperately tried to get me to play RTS games over the years, but it just feels like my brain is hardcoded not to get it. I can see the fun of it, but I completely melt down when I have to try and move my units around. I super stressed and focus on 11 things at once without paying real attention to any of them. But hey, it might be the RTS that I have enjoyed the most besides the original Brood Wars”.
Total War: Warhammer (RRP Euro 59,99)
Johannes: “While Total War: Warhammer II and the upcoming third entry in the series is probably what you really want to play today, TWWH was the game where the Total War series reinvented itself, shrugging off (and pissing off many fans of) it’s historical “realism” in favor of all the madness of the Warhammer Fantasy universe. It’s a great, although sometimes very chaotic, strategy game, and you can combine it with TWWH II to play the massive Mortal Empires campaign where every faction from both games can be played on the same map. White Dwarf also comes with the Call of the Beastmen add-on, which is great, but be prepared that you’ll have to spend a lot of money to get access to all the factions spread out over a ton of different DLC”
Renato: “This is the game that got me back into Warhammer Fantasy miniature games, although on the Age of Sigmar side. A mixture of nostalgia and the well acclaimed formula of Total War games will definitely keep you on your chair for hours even with the base game containing “only” 5 races (plus the Beastmen). It is probably to be considered the start of a long journey through DLCs that can however be found heavily discounted these days. If you have Total War Warhammer II and were just waiting for an occasion to take this for the mega campaign including the Old World (and your computer is specced to sustain it) then this is the right occasion. Otherwise, if you like strategy games and you never tried the Total War series, do yourself a favour and take this one blindfolded”.
Peter: “This is the one you should get it for. It is super good! It took me a while to get to enjoy the combat, but after fiddling around a have found a few tried and tested strategies that makes combat fun for me. It is just Warhammer Old World at its very best and it gets me excited for the upcoming Old World game every time I bot it up. I especially like making a glorius knight charge with The Empire and being all nostalgic about my first warhammer love. My biggest complaint is the insane times it takes for the AI to take their turns…”
Warhammer Underworlds: Online (RRP Euro 8,99)
Johannes: “Underworlds Online is a game that I would heartily recommend to anyone who thinks playing Games Workshop’s miniature/deckbuilding hybrid in real life is a bit too complicated or difficult. That’s how I’ve felt, but playing the digital version makes it much easier to understand: There’s a tutorial, the game keeps track of all the different phases and status effects for you, you have time to practice against bots that won’t laugh at you, and so on. I also really like how the animated (most of) the warbands. It’s fun to see The Mortal Realms really come to digital life for the first time. Finally, it’s a chance to play a fun miniatures game online with your friends during lockdown!”
Peter: “I like to say that Underworlds is my favorite board game that I never play. I really like the idea and the mechanics, but it just never seems to be the game that I pull out and play when I got the time. I wanted the PC version to be my substitute so I could actually play the game, but I have in total spent 2 hours in the game. For some reason I found it super janky and slow, so never seemed to get on with it very well. It definitely deserves another chance from me and getting it for free you should give it a go. Maybe you find the pacing better than I did.
Warhammer Quest (RRP Euro 14,99)
Johannes: “This is a really good turn-based dungeon crawl that has a pretty timeless visual style due to its very detailed level floors and top-down perspective. You play as four heroes hunting for treasure, killing classic Warhammer Fantasy enemies. I played it on iPad and it’s hard to let go of it once you get started. It’s also quite a lot better than the recent Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower mobile game, and I was never a Warhammer Fantasy player, so I’m not saying that because of nostalgia. Beware that if the game included in White Dwarf is not the Deluxe version, you’ll have to pay for an additional add-on to get access to everything.”
Renato: “Do you remember Hero Quest from the old times? This is the closest thing on digital you can find nowadays. It’s simple but still lots of fun.”
Peter: “Oooh boy… My old love. I played this game to death on my ipad. It super simple but I just found it soo charming. I doubt it has aged well, but you might be surprised.”
Warhammer Quest 2 (RRP Euro 19,99)
Johannes: “I also played this on iPad, and while it has even more content than the first one, I don’t think it has quite the same old-school charm. But who cares? You’re getting both in White Dwarf.”
Peter: “So this was a weird one for me. While I think I have spent about 50 hours in the first version, I might have spent like 3-4 hours in the second version. I do not really know why. I think it was a better game, but the time was not right me when I played it. Maybe I should go back and have a quick game…”
Talisman: Digital Edition (RRP Euro 5,69)
Johannes: “Full disclosure: I never played the physical board game version of this, so I don’t know if it’s a faithful adaptation. It’s a digital board game where you can play as a ton of different characters, each with their own statistics, just like in a role-playing game – but then you move these characters around on tiles on a game board and draw cards like some sort of insane fantasy nightmare Monopoly. There are so many different mechanics in the game, so you really have to love board games to enjoy it, but if insane fantasy nightmare Monopoly didn’t scare you off, you’ll probably have a great time.”
Renato: “This is the digital version of the popular board game Talisman. There are lots of expansions, it’s actually insane how many there are, each introducing new characters or mechanics. The game can be played also solo and the AI is not that bad, although the real fun comes from playing with friends that you would otherwise meet around a table. If you are a collector and want every single expansion be ready for a long ride, this game was released in 2014 and still now, 7 years after is dishing out new content.”
Adeptus Titanicus: Dominus (RRP Euro 12,49)
This is one of two games in the bundle none of us has played. It’s currently an Early Access title, which means it is still in development, and it has been available in this state since 2018. It’s releasing officially at the end of this month, so offering it as a freebie in a magazine a week before that happens probably isn’t a great sign.
It does have a “Mostly Positive” rating on Steam, however, so if you want to play as the biggest of the biggest units in Warhammer 40k, here’s your chance
Warhammer 40,000: Sanctus Reach (RRP Euro 27,99)
Johannes: “I haven’t played this one, but it’s one of the reasons I want to pick up this edition of White Dwarf. It looks like it could be good turn-based strategy fun.”
Warhammer 40,000: Armageddon – Da Orks (RRP Euro 19,99)
Renato: “This is a classic Slitherine TBS (Turn Based Strategy) game at its core. Like or hate it. The graphic is minimalistic but you can choose from multiple units depending on the scenario and what you encounter. There’s no base building, you purchase units at the beginning or as reinforcements and you try to occupy the various objectives. While there is another game from Slitherine called Armageddon that puts you in charge of the Imperial units, this is a stand-alone sequel in the same world but with you in charge of the Orks instead. If you like it then you can have a look at the Imperial side later on.”
Warhammer 40,000: Space Wolf (RRP Euro 17,99)
Johannes: “Another mobile game ported to PC, this is actually really good. It’s a turnbased squad combat game where you play as a pack of Space Wolves space marines. It leans pretty hard into the heavy metal side of things in Warhammer 40,000, with space vikings fighting warriors of Chaos, so if you like that stuff, it’s a fun game. It also has a very nice card system where every action or weapon you use is a card you play. In a 40k game this means lots and lots of art of all sorts of iconic/obscure Space Marine weapons, so if you like cool guns and swords with silly names like Axe of Morkai or Ajaxis Wolf Blade, you’ll have a great time. I have no idea why this game has a standard price of 17,99 though, as it looks and feels like a mobile game and there’s a mountain of DLC for it you’ll have to pay for to get the full experience, so it’s not a big part of the value of this White Dwarf bundle.”
Peter: “I have tried this a few times and it was actually one of the best mobile games I have played. The card/loot mechanic is exciting and combat is good. The story is whatever, but that seems par for the course for these kind of games.”
Warhammer: Chaos & Conquest (free)
We don’t know why this is included in the magazine, since it’s a free to play game. It’s probably a resource pack for the game, but we don’t know what it’s worth. There’s a chance it’s the “Starter Bundle” which is available on Steam for Euro 16,79
How much is the White Dwarf bundle worth?
If you include everything mentioned in the Warhammer Community article, but not the Chaos & Conquest starter bundle which we’re not sure of, there’s Euro 268,07 worth of games in the bundle. That doesn’t mean that’s what you’d have to pay for those games in real life, though, as most of them are on sale somewhere most of the time. It’s also worth noting that most of the games in the bundle have a lot of optional DLC you’ll have to pay extra for, so installing this bundle could end up being pretty expensive if you want the full experience. But hey – the bundle “comes with” a White Dwarf magazine as well, so if you don’t have some of the really good games on this list such as Vermintide 2 or Total War: Warhammer, it is definitely worth picking up White Dwarf 462