Mordheim: City of the Damned is now available on Xbox One – here’s our take on the console version. For more information on the game’s basics, please read our review of the PC original here.
When it was announced that Mordheim: City of the Damned would be making an appearance on the Xbox One, I was a bit surprised. A large part of this was on account of me having played – and enjoyed – the PC version already, which came out last year. Despite my enjoyment, the port seemed like an odd choice – Mordheim seems like the type of game that’s held back by its own nature when played on Xbox, yet here it is.
I remember playing Mordheim on my PC and thinking that the experience was incredibly multi-layered. This is a good thing, because deep strategy titles like this don’t come along too often. That depth also translated to the game’s complex and intricate menu systems and controls though, which is why I raised an eyebrow when I saw that that game was coming to Xbox One and its controller.
Playing the Xbox One version, I see that I was right to wonder how on earth they would make the interface more console-friendly. In short, they didn’t. The menu and control system from the PC version is intact here, and appeals to the sort of patience not a lot of console gamers are likely to have. Unless, like me, they thoroughly enjoy tabletop games and have a long PC history.
Something similar can be said about the game itself. Turn-based strategy can work very well on a console – just look at the XCOM games for some great examples. Those games are designed to be accessible and relatively fast-paced though, whereas Mordheim is much more of a traditional experience in the sense that it recreates a board game feel. Progress is slow, a mission can take quite a while to complete and things usually don’t get exciting until the latter stages of a mission.
All this may sound overly critical, so I want to stress that I actually really enjoyed Mordheim. I’m a PC gamer at heart, and love the deep strategic experience that Mordheim brings to the table. What at first seems like a random event without any sort of logic behind it eventually starts to make sense, and at that point you’ll start using that knowledge to your advantage. This is a mechanic that few games offer and the reward is great, but the game does ask a lot of the player. Patience, perseverance and a knack for deep strategy are all required, and my guess is that there are more gamers like that on PC than there are on consoles. Yet – if you’re a PC gamer that switched to a console then this will feel like an experience unlike anything else on Xbox One. If PC-centric games generally don’t interest you, then Mordheim won’t sway you.