The game received numerous updates and patches over the past three years and turned into a real gem. The AI is above average and substantially better than in some of the popular 4X games. Runs really well with many performance-related customization options, stable, good mod support. It is a war game, so there is no diplomacy or an overwhelming amount of "fluff". You build cities, buildings, and pump out units. In a way, it feels like an RTS (Starcraft, AoE, etc), but it is turn-based. Games are long and deliberate - battles often turn into wars of attrition. The AI plays well and puts up a good fight. It has quickly become one of my favorite strategy games. Very addictive, and a lot of replay value in form of very differently playing factions with unique units.
While it didn’t wow me as a competitor to Endless Legend or Civ 6 in the 4X race, there’s a lot of action-saturated, tactically-driven fun to be had when you look at Gladius - Relics of war for what it truly is: a really well-done, turn-based 40K wargame. It’s one of the best turn-based 40K games I’ve played through that lens.
Relics of War made me realize how much I need a Civilization game set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. Gladius is not there yet, but it is on the right path. It ditches trade, diplomacy, religion and cultural development and focuses on the military side of things, which of course is in line with the setting. I did miss other strategic layers a bit, but the game’s main problem is that it offers merely four factions. Other than that it’s very decent. [10/2018, p.86]
Sticking to the established 4X formula helps to make Warhammer 40,000: Gladius – Relics of War enjoyable, but also keeps it from greatness. For fans, there is fun to be had in growing an army of Terminators, Assault Space Marines, and Predator tanks to crush your enemies with. But, after all the toys are smashed and the maps explored, there is sadly little else left to do.
A cosmically overpriced 4X Panzer General and Rites of War inspired strategy.
The game is playable. Maneuvering units on the battlefield and outwitting the opponents is satisfying, unlike so many other turn based strategy games. However there are many poorly working mechanics. Player receives quests during the game in the only available skirmish mode on randomly generated map. It is almost always better to not advance these quests and not fulfill their objectives because they spawn large numbers of hostile independent units which do nothing but mess up with player's plans.
In default setting random map generator spawns outrageous amounts of independent units. If players do not want to spend large portion of the game playing versus computer controlled fauna the setting needs to be changed but even at the lowest choice there is quite a lot of marauding cultists and animals.
There is unit experience levels system. Each level up to 10 increase units attributes. There are heroes with Warcraft 3 inspired ability system. 4 Abilities, one ability upgrade point per level. Strong ability unlocked at level 6.
Opponents' AI can somewhat play but it gets confused in late game. It may forget how to move units from its cities to frontline and it makes them seem to wander illogically. It does not know how and when to use unit and hero abilities. Will use abilities incorrectly, for example it may use an increase to dealt damage on an unarmed structure.
There is no singleplayer mode other than skirmish, competitive multiplayer but versus artificial intelligence controlled opponents. There is no campaign nor scenarios.
While the map looks quite good with trees moving with the wind and randomly generated decorations (I like it more than mobile-like graphics of Civilization VI). Units are plain and animations are ugly. Each player units are separated with one color. Warhammer 40,000 army color schemes are all made with at least two main colors. This makes units look dry. There is zero customization in the game. That is a big negative point because one of the main appeals of tabletop wargames is customization of the miniatures and coming up with custom paint schemes for armies. Some WH40k video games include customization, Dawn of War series and Space Marine.
Audio is bad. Sound effects are simple and created in low quality. To make the game playable it is necessary to increase unit animation speed to maximum. However, the sound department does not make any compensation for hastened unit interactions and all weapon sounds at that speed sound like annoying buzz.
Calling music that what comes from music channel in the game is an insult to any self respecting composer. It is so painful to ears one wonders why developers did not ship the game without music as that would not make the player associate the gameplay with such painful ear torture. Disabling music is necessary to enjoy the game.
Finally, the reason for the review's title is that given that the game contains little content and definitely was not as expensive to make as complete Dawn of War 1 which includes 9 races with beautiful animations and splendid audio, the best voice acting in video games, amazing music composed by Jeremy Soule (The Elder Scrolls series, Guild Wars 1) and 4 campaigns. Yet the complete Gladius discounted on sale costs as much as new "AAA" title. Many races lack essential, iconic units which then are added in paid microexpansions (so called "DLC"), for example Imperial Guard / Astra Militarum Chimera... the basic armored personal transport.
The game is absolutely not worth the price asked.
SummaryWarhammer 40,000: Gladius – Relics of War brings you to a world of terror and violence. Four factions will engage in a brutal war for dominance over the planet’s resources. In the first 4X turn-based strategy game set in Warhammer 40,000 you will lead one of four unique factions.