Xbox Games

Warlander review: War, what is it good for

You can tell a lot from the first hour of playing a game. In my very first hour of playing Warlander, I wrestled with the controls, fought an unresponsive UI, battled clunky combat, and spent time looking at loading screens than that I did gameplay. Even though the dismemberment and cleaving of enemies are impressive, it does little to save an otherwise disagreeable experience.

Forest fire the start of each attempt, you’re treated to a movie in which Bruce discovers he has expired and will be resurrected to fight for the forest against the Technos.

The story of Warlander is clarified in a short cutscene at the start of the match. You, a mighty warrior called Bruce, have been murdered from the Technos, a band of evil-doers led by Morven.

A forest-dwelling god offers Bruce the chance at revenge by harnessing the power of the forest.

Pieces of the narrative start to unfold throughout each attempt as you select up memories, add information into a codex after defeating enemies, and also hear brief talks between Bruce and Ferguson.

Unfortunately, the story is hampered by the fact that Warlander is not a beautiful or exciting encounter. When you’re stuck fighting controls, seeing mediocre cartoons, and battling unwieldy battle, there is very little pleasure to be read through dozens of pages of text about a planet that doesn’t feel great to maintain.

Groundhog DayDying in Warlander means starting again from the start.

Death resets nearly all progress, together with the exclusion being any abilities obtained from miniature bosses defeated. What roguelikes need to get right is your battle flow and how the character handles. Warlander fails to perform this.

Bruce is equipped with the sword called Ferguson and could be updated with new skills and passives via a real ability tree. These abilities are unlocked by spending XP as well as a few of the unique currencies I’ve ever seen in a match: heads and limbs.


The dismemberment is the only remarkable part of the combat in Warlander.

Each slash of the sword is displayed by a green line indicating where the attack will property. This is used to good effect to cleave enemies in half, chop off their arms and remove their heads. Even though this is undoubtedly impressive to behold, the feel of the battle leaves much to be wanted.

Bruce handles like a dull brick. Each swing, regardless of whether it’s a mild or massive strike, has a long wind-up period and slow reset time. With every swing taking a significant chunk of endurance to perform, and together with the patience slow to recharge, you invest more time walking around waiting to be able to strike again.

The camera lacks finesse. Among the moves, a crouch-attack gets the camera zoom when the movement is performed and gradually track out, what’s more, that this crouch attack move is tied into a button also responsible for conducting and dodging.

There is just an overall lack of polish to the battle, leaving it feeling demanding and unpleasant. This is made even more frustrating when every death means restarting at the start of the 30-level slog into the last boss.

Luckily, it’s not a linear route to the boss. Warlander presents you with a stepping stone-like climb where each node is joined to another.

Choose your path up to face Morven.

You may start in the right-hand lane, work your way up to the left and then double back. The advantage of this is you’ve got some choice over what you struggle. An ideal route will probably incorporate a few arena battles against Techno Forces to gain XP and limbs, a visit to the Devouring Tree to level up, and maybe a halt by a healing node and chest node for several resources.

Unfortunately, a single death will dip you back down to the very start, and it’s straightforward to die given the lack of recovery options. There is but one recovery orb in almost any of those stadium fights and two at a miniature boss fight if you’re lucky. Enemies rarely drop a wellness orb and more frequently than not, you are left wanting desperately to avoid getting stuck at a battle system that feels unresponsive and sluggish.

This finally makes fatalities feel unnecessarily punishing. It wasn’t your lack of expertise that resulted in death — something Soulsborne players must learn — it was a failure of this game.

Losing controlWarlander has no control customization options and even when they’re working, the controls don’t feel right.

Beyond the unpleasantness of actually playing, Warlander is also apparently unfinished in certain places. Usually, for third-person games which feature a heavy focus on melee combat, I opt for a controller — even if I am on PC. Though Warlander did notice my controller, there were no choices to rebind keys or also invert the Y-axis, so that I resigned to using mouse and keyboard.

For the first couple of hours of play, the game didn’t show any controls. It was only when a full reset did the mouse, and keyboard controllers begin appearing. To make things worse, once you’re in the sport, you cannot edit the controls — that can only be done from the main menu.

There are a lot of anti-aliasing problems in addition to assets”bleeding”.

Additionally, there are assets that seem to be unfinished. Take for instance the stamina bar. The fill texture is not adapting to the judge, or the feel itself has been poorly created, resulting in what is best described as the green bleeding from the pub. Other in-game assets seem flat and one-dimensional, like the prompts for selecting up a memory or ingesting the Devouring Tree. The”You Died” screen also seems as though it was quickly made in Microsoft Paint.

Each arena feels vacant, lifeless, and not one feel like a good place to fight.

Then there are the arenas. These spaces feel empty and lifeless. Invisible walls block you from climbing stairs and walking across bridges whereas the enemies just look from the floor despite being clad in armor — it makes little sense.

Stop making me press on a button to leave your loading screen as it is the only option.

In order to enter a new node, you must pass through a loading screen. In order to exit an arena, mini boss struggle, or other place, you must pass through a loading screen to the level-select screen. This amounts to a great deal of loading displays across a 30-level run. To make things worse, the loading displays feature the dreaded”press any button to continue” prompt. Unless I have the option to quit, or unless there is nothing else I can do in your loading screen, simply load me back to the match.

Warlander is a disappointing experience that fails to catch the pleasures of a roguelike game. The combat is unpolished and sluggish and it is rife with poor animations and unfinished assets and elements. Exterior of the dismemberment, there’s little here worth seeing.

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