Almost a year after our first VR journey into the Warhammer universe, we’re heading back with Warhammer – Age of Sigmar: Tempestfall. Exclusive to PC-based headsets, we tried it out with an Oculus Quest 2 hooked up to a PC.
One thing that immediately grabbed us was that Tempestfall was developed by the team behind the beloved VR title The Wizards, a developer that knows its stuff. And while the narrative premise is extremely lore-heavy and will thus resonate well with longtime Sigmar fans, the game itself is accessible enough to not need a background in 40K.
Unsurprisingly, considering the developer and source material, the core gameplay revolves around combat, combining both melee and spellcasting elements. To avoid having to switch between weapons a lot for this, Tempestfall lets you cast spells with your melee weapons instead. That may feel a little odd when your weapon is a sword, but when you’re waving a short or long staff around you’re just a regular Gandalf duking it out with Saruman. It also means you can alternate between attack types almost seamlessly, which makes for some excellent offensive combat.
Defensively, you can block and parry, for which on-screen indicators let you know where an incoming attack can be expected. Since they can come from all angles, it’s good that you can dual wield weapons as well. A well-timed grenade can also help you out of a tough spot, and is best used for crowd control.
Because Tempestfall has a decent length campaign and can’t just rely on combat, you’ll also face RPG elements like upgrade options and quests, as well as small puzzles. These moments also let you enjoy how well the world of Warhammer – Age of Sigmar has been realized in VR. From creepy interiors like sewers and prisons to outdoor locations, everything looks and sounds the part and fits well with the source material. Some parts of the environment tend to pop in at the last moment though, so hopefully that will get optimized somewhat post-launch.
The controls feel highly optimized for VR/motion controls as well, borrowing from what the studio learned from The Wizards in terms of what works and doesn’t work. Weapon selection doesn’t force you to cycle through all weapons at the press of a button, for example, but involves pulling up a weapon wheel around your hand and then just moving towards the desired weapon in order to select it. Spellcasting also involves motion controls rather than button presses, all adding to the immersion while making sure the game also offers the comfort options that those less experienced with VR will find useful.
With a campaign length of eight to ten hours, which includes a bit of exploration in order to level up our weapons, this is decent length VR title – twice the length of Battle Sister, for instance. It may borrow liberally from VR games that came before, but the Warhammer setting should be a big draw for fans and it’s been well realized here.