Warhammer 40K games have taken a dip in popularity following a few hit and miss projects but Battlesector looks poised to become one of the most beloved entries in the franchise.
Following the infamous Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War 3, the strategy games in the universe had a turbulent few years, with some having won the fans over like the Mechanicus did and others straight up alienating them, which was the case with Underhive Wars.
Thankfully, the future of the warfare in 41st millennium looks bright for the fans since we have the return of Chaos Gate to look forward to. Before it comes around, there is W40K: Battlesector that is releasing next month and based on the demo preview, this game has immense potential.
Warhammer 40,000: Battlesector is set in the aftermath of the Devastation of Baal and the subsequent daemonic intervention as well as that of the Indomitus Crusade, which was led by Primarch Roboute Guilliman. The Blood Angels were on the brink of ruin but Guilliman left the newly activated Primaris Space Marines to replenish the ranks of Sanguinius' sons. You initially assume the role of Sargeant Carleon who is trying to appraise the powerful neophytes and eradicate any further Tyrannid threat.
Unfortunately, the demo offered only the beginning of the campaign, meaning I got to scratch the surface of the story but from the exposition thus far, this looks like a proper return to the 40K universe. It is a story soaked in blood and the game doesn't shy away from showing you as much and if you're coming to see the unique brand of grit the Imperium and its enemies face, Battlesector seems to be the right place with competent writing, voice acting and exposition.
Story doesn't do all that much for a 40K game without properly gory gameplay with deep mechanics and that is exactly what Battlesector offered, as early as the tutorial missions.
You are presented to a fair number of units almost immediately. The Intercessors are the regular Bolter-wielding badasses that are more than happy to mow down the Xenos and should a swarm appear, they have grenades at the read.
Aggressors, another addition with the arrival of the Primaris Space Marines, are well-equipped for both long-range artillery support and close range skirmishers.
The Sargeant, Sanguinary Priest and the Assault Space Marines all excel in close quarters combat while the first two units have special abilities that will enhance or even heal their allies.
These descriptions are already filled with a fair share of mechanics to keep in mind and use to strategise on the battlefield but it's only the tip of the iceberg. Numerous other units will appear in the full game but since this is a turn-based strategy, you will also be deciding how to spend your resources - which units to buy, which ones to upgrade and which upgrades to get them.
Did I mention the Thirst that Blood Angels feel? Yeah, that mechanic is around too, incentivising you to prioritise which units should take enemies out, which ones should be on overwatch and so on.
There are just so many layers of depth in Battlesector that the puzzle of creating the best possible crew to take on the Tyrannids is the best of what 40K games have to offer. When you factor in the management and further attempts to optimally use this death machine that consists of the Emperor's finest and their allies, you have a fantastic game on your hands.
Battlesector is graphic alright. It doesn't matter if you're in the middle of the game or watching a story presentation, you will see dismembered live and dead beings as well as enough blood to drown Khorne in it.
On the topic of how it all looks in general though, I am happy to report that the game looks as gloomy and hopeless as any good Warhammer 40K title ever did. It's all the way it should be - you are fighting enemies in an endless war that leaves everything in ruins unless it's already a desert. In that case, the environment gets painted red quickly and I don't mean the colour of your units.
Overall, it's aesthetically true to the 40K universe and I didn't find anything to nitpick about.
Performance and PC requirements
W40K: Battlesector seems to be a well-optimised title that has modest requirements. The Steam page lists GTX 950, a lower-end GPU from three generations ago, in the recommended specs. I cannot attest whether this thing can really run Battlesector in 60 FPS with decent graphics settings but having played with R5 3600 and RX 5700 XT, I can certainly say the demo ran smoothly with no hiccups to speak of.
Battlesector demo was a highly enjoyable experience and if you factor in that I love 40K, it was easily the highlight of the Steam Next Fest even though the promotion had other amazing entries like Severed Steel .
If you love turn-based strategy and tactics games or if you love the 40K games, you are in for a treat. If you love both, Battlesector is poised to become your favourite activity from July 22, 2021, onwards.