Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Tempestfall is the fourth game from VR studio Carbon Studio and a bit of a Warhammer spin-off of sorts from Carbons original The Wizards series of games, as Tempestfall takes many of the same gameplay level design and tone of their previous titles but is instead built into the world of Games Workshop 'Age of Sigmar'
I consider myself a bit of a 40k fan who knows less about fantasy but pretty much nothing about Sigmar so with that in mind when I say I found the narrative easy to understand and engaged with while knowing little outside of what was explained in-game.
Starting the game I was given two difficulties to choose from 'story mode' and 'hardcore' this however did turn off the tutorial/hints if it's your first time playing I would recommend turning those back on in the settings however in the early game I found it a bit difficult to learn the controls without them.
Overall however I found the challenge in hardcore pretty low I very rarely died and never found combat difficult I didn't try story mode but I suspect the only change might have been the number of enemies and the amount of heath.
I did a few of the game's sidequests but didn't 100% it overall the campaign took me a total of 5.7 hours to complete.
I played the game on the following PC:
Nvidia 1080 ti
16 gb ram
HP Reverb G2
Graphics & Presentation
Starting with the game's performance I remember remarking in my "The Wizards - Dark times" review that performance was poor and that changing settings made little difference. Tempestfall seems to suffer a similar fate, graphics settings do impact performance this time around however I found optimization was poor, the number of settings I had to turn down to get acceptable performance had a significant impact on the visuals, and the settings I required to run it looked much worse than some comparable VR titles I have run on this same PC.
in saying that the game still looked OK and I imagine it even looked quite good on the higher settings but the seeming specs required to make that happen to seem too high for the visuals displayed.
one thing that I did enjoy about the visuals despite having to turn down the settings was the game's aesthetic styling I really liked how the world looked characters and the world design looked very good and faith full of the physical models I have seen of Sigmar.
Enemies variety in this game is lacking there are effectively 4 or five enemies they are as follows: Skeletons, Nighthaunts, (a bigger Nighthaunt), Melee Demons and Ranged Demons, there are some light visual variations to these but they all fight the same and Skeletons die in a single hit.
Sound FX & Music
Music I found really lovely while there were no stand-out musical tracks I did find the ambient music and sounds to be excellent,
the game also features a few of voice-acted characters including your own character who speaks to himself often, the voice acting is very high-quality and enjoyable really good stuff.
Gameplay & Immersion
In Carbon Studios previous title 'The Wizards - Dark Times' gameplay mainly consisted of walking a linear path to get to these fight arenas and then casting a variety of spells to defeat the enemies in between this was usually some light puzzle elements, the gameplay of The Wizards suffered mostly from certain spells being objectively better and faster to cast and lead to spammy combat.
In the Tempestfall Magic combat is greatly de-emphasized in favour of melee combat you now carry three bladed weapons with you from the start they all act the exact same except for range which I found the staff weapon easily better negating the need for the other two, magic spells can then be unlocked for the weapons they each have three spells but are pretty similar, the complexity of these spells and how to cast them has been significantly reduced leading to overall less combat variety as there are few spells and melee combats complexity does not make up for it. The melee combat is incredibly simplistic making the game's combat even more spammy than in the wizards, I found the optimal strategy for defeating almost all enemies was just quickly waggling my controller to get a huge number of hits in quick succession.
I guess to avoid the spammy combat the game effectively wants you to RP the combat there is a mechanic to riposte incoming attacks however it is so slow and not really responsive, especially when being attacked by multiple enemies it just did not make sense in combat to let them attack you instead I found it much easier to get as many hit in and then just back off while they slowly wind up attacks.
Enemies can also and often do spawn behind you which only further enforces the method of spaming attacks and walking away gameplay as saying in one place will often get you surrounded.
This combat goes for both the Nighthaunt and melee Demons, skeletons didn't matter as they were too weak to matter, and the big Nighthaunt with the chain attack had much more health but I found using bombs or your ranged magic attack more effective. The ranged Demons spawned in unreachable areas so the only way to deal with them is your ranged magic combat but due to how slow they attack they offered no challenge during combat and could just strafe out of their attacks and deal with them after defeating any melee target first
Level design is fairly basic but effective the levels are a bit more Metroidvania-like where you kind of backtrack around the same areas and multiple paths can get you to a location but it's mostly linear as the areas really just unlock as the story progresses.
There is one very cool and unique part of the gameplay and level design in the prison level but I will avoid going into details to not spoil it for anyone who wants to play but I will say Its something I have only really seen in on VR game prior to this but is very effective and original, if not a little too horror for some.
Controls were mostly fine the actual controls like move and interact were all mapped properly for WMR and apart from selecting menus being bound to the right hand, the game has ambidextrous combat so I had no issues playing left-handed.
The only issue I found was magic casting they are cast by gestures swipe thrust up or thrust forward to cast the spells I found these not very responsive and often would not activate when I intended.
Value & Replayability
The game does also offer a horde mode type game which theoretically adds more value to the game however due to how basic and repetitive the combat was this is something I had no interest in playing so in practice offered no extra value to me.
so overall I was left with a 5.7 hour campaign of mediocre combat and bad performance, however, the story was good and I liked the game's visual style paired with great voice acting.
I probably would recommend it at full price but would be okay on a sale.
Carbon's First games The Wizard 1 to the Wizard 2 saw a huge leap in improvements from the game's graphics to level design to just how experienced the studio was, but Tempestfall feels like they took little to no feedback and just compounded the mistakes of their previous titles, I hope they take a look at the mixed reception of tempestfall and really look at what they can improve on next time.