The action-fantasy title from Clock Drive Games aims to bring an addictive slice-and-dice adventure to the indie world with Warlander.
Warlander features a mystical world in which you play as a warrior named Bruce, who is resurrected and bought back to the surface to avenge his fallen clan.
Through a procedurally generated system of progression, you’ll travel across ruined and technologized lands whilst slaying all those who stand in your path. Armed with a talking sword named Ferguson, experience points will be earned and body parts will be collected as you work your way through a small array of foes until you reach the endgame of Warlander: defeating Morven the Immortal.
"The opening journey for Bruce begins on a high note, but due to the lack of rewards and scarce memory fragments (which are memory collectibles in the game, duh!) to collect, I started to lose interest in the story. "
For video game titles that feature procedurally generated worlds, the results could either be very rewarding or quite dull. In Warlander’s case, it’s leading more towards the former. Thanks to the procedurally generated worlds and abilities you can acquire from defeating the bosses, the replay factor remains high even after you’ve replayed the game for the fourth or fifth time. And did I told you the game features permadeath elements? While permadeath is well implemented in the game, it can be frustrating when you accidentally dash off a ledge and fall down to your death.
The controls are easy to learn and navigate since the standard skill tree in the game offers several upgrades for Bruce. You can unlock special moves such as throwing your sword and having it come back to you; grabbing objects and enemies with a vine arm that can be quite useful in intense situations; shooting stakes from your arm to impale and decapitate the undead Techno soldiers. In no time, you’ll assemble a decent arsenal to go along with various buffs the game throws at you. These range from improving the character’s movement speed to increasing health, to even procuring the ability steal life from your opponents after each strike.
The opening journey for Bruce begins on a high note, but due to the lack of rewards and scarce memory fragments (which are memory collectibles in the game, duh!) to collect, I started to lose interest in the story. The repeating dialogue between Bruce and Ferguson (and general lack of overall dialogue, as well) becomes futile and annoying, and it doesn’t help that the voice acting isn’t performed with sufficient convincing and passion to make it more engaging. But as you progress and start collecting the memory fragments, Bruce will get to relive his memories before his death. These moments are worth experiencing since it provides deeper insight into the lore.
"The sound effects, on the other hand, could use a bit more polishing. "
Enemy encounters have their own musical cues that aren’t mundane, and they fit appropriately well within fantasy/sci-fi setting of the game. When facing enemies, the music would mix guitar riffs with futuristic loops that would get me pumped to slice apart my adversaries. Even when you’re entering a section where you pay tribute to a certain Devouring Tree to upgrade your abilities, the music feels really good.
The sound effects, on the other hand, could use a bit more polishing. There are certain breakages in the sound effects when the action escalates, and the effect would cut off for a split second. Usually when this happens, the game will drop a few sound effects and then quickly resume to normality. It’s not a huge issue, but it can get annoying after a while.
The graphics and the art style are pretty impressive; it feels cartoonish with all the bright colors and neon lights, but at times the environments can get eerie. Unfortunately, some of the arenas are shamefully copy and pasted. I wish there was more of a variety with the arenas you visit because the core graphics are actually pretty solid.
"The graphics and the art style are pretty impressive; it feels cartoonish with all the bright colors and neon lights, but at times the environments can get eerie."
The journey of avenging your people and reaching the endgame of Warlander comes to a sudden stop after you enter through the final portal of the game. It basically goes back to the bottom of the tree with increased difficulty and altered paths different from the previous life. As long as you don’t die, you’ll get to keep all your acquired buffs and skills, but the campaign loops itself to only defeat Morven once again – only harder this time. Because of this, the game can get a bit repetetive and that can put off some players. But the core action mechanics, even after packing several hours into it, never gets old.
This game was reviewed on PC.
Addictive action based gameplay; Slicing-and-dicing never gets old; Music is quite heroic and epic.
Weak main narrative; Issues with sound effects, Repetitive gameplay elements.
Warlander is a fine game thanks to its solid combo of RPG elements and explosive action.