May 19, 2024

A First Look at Warhammer 40,000: Gladius – Craftworld Aeldari by Matrix Games

Martok, 18 November 2020

Matrix Games recently released a new batch of DLC for their Warhammer 40,000 game.  Here’s a first look as one of our Dragoons takes the new game for a spin.

click images to enlarge





Game setup screen



Start position for one of my games. As the Craftworld Aeldari, you can automatically see all the webway gate locations throughout the map. (Note those two locations off to the right side of the screenshot.)



A closer look at the Aeldari’s starting position. You begin the game with 3 units of Guardians. I would say “try not to get them killed”, but this is WH40k Gladius, so fat chance of that…



The Craftworld Aeldari can activate webway gates by expending influence. In addition to allowing you to teleport around the map, activated gates also serve as foundations for new Aeldari cities.



An webway gate also clears a bit of FOW around it when activated, which is a nice touch.



The research screen. As the Aeldari, I (thus far) always find myself going for Webway Cartography first, as it effectively makes gate activation a free action (limit 1 activation per turn) instead of costing Influence every time.



A webway gate under attack by an unknown enemy. Even the wandering creatures on Gladius will often attempt to damage or even destroy them.



Speaking of creatures, it looks like one of my Guardians squads has run into some. A lot of them, in fact. Oh dear.



When you encounter creatures and locations of interest for the first time, the Compendium (the in-game encyclopedia) pops up with info regarding them. I really like the “pictogram”-style artwork, and especially the text descriptions. It feels like the developers had a 40k expert on hand just to write out all the text and dialogue.



Necron tombs everywhere! Considering the planet is already doing its best to kill me, I’m not sure if this really raises my level of concern by much…



A unit of Guardians keeps watch on some nearby Kroot Hounds, in case the latter decide to attack the Outpost the Guardians just captured. Outposts are scattered throughout the map, and capturing them provides various bonuses. Annexing Outposts directly into a city provides additional bonuses.



Time to expand my city. To do so, just spend Influence to annex a tile (hex). It’s hard to tell from this screenshot, but the tile/hex immediately to the southeast is an Outpost that boosts food production, which is very nice to have!



A quest has been issued! Completing quests aren’t mandatory, but doing so provides various rewards to your faction (in this case, a good chunk of Influence).



Ooh, there’s a Ruins of Vaul outpost to the southwest of my capital! Those are nice. I’ll definitely need to send some Guardians to claim it.


Some additional thoughts

So far, my experience is that this game is fairly brutal, even on easier difficulties. Never mind dealing with the other factions, simply taming the planet itself is one heck of a challenge! Some of these creatures are already haunting my dreams. I love it!

While the art style may not appeal to everyone, personally I’m digging it so far. The aesthetics serve the game well, with Gladius somehow managing to appear both deadly and beautiful at the same time. They’ve also managed to pack in a pretty decent level of visual detail on the units, all things considered.

Worthy of special note is the game’s soundtrack: I’d forgotten just how good it was until I fired it back up a few days ago. This has – by far – some of the best music I’ve ever heard in a game. (It’s easily in my top 10, probably even my top 5.) Whoever the composer is, they deserve more money than whatever they were paid. For those who really appreciate good soundtracks, and/or find they add a great deal of immersion/atmosphere to a game, I could just about recommend Gladius on the music alone. It’s that good.



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Brant G

Editor-in-chief at Armchair Dragoons

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