Warhammer Quest II — The End Times is the provocatively named sequel to, erm, Warhammer Quest and much like the board game it is based upon, it presents a combat-focused dungeon crawling experience with light RPG elements.
Sounds good right? Well, maybe. On your mobile phone (where Warhammer Quest II originated) the game is probably fine. The top-down view and click and move turn-based gameplay feels well suited to swiping with a fat finger, whilst the repetitive gameplay might also suit train journeys or other settings where dipping in and out is acceptable. This may also make the Nintendo Switch port of interest to some, but personally, I haven’t played the game in any portable mode.
What I have spent about 10 hours with, however, is the Xbox One version of Warhammer Quest II and let me tell you now — it’s fine. There’s little to offend or excite here, but if you’re considering a purchase, you should ask yourself one question: “do I want to sit on the couch doing the same thing over and over again, in the same environments, without any real payoff except a single screen of text?” If the answer to any of those things is “no” then this is the part where you click on another review and walk away from Warhammer Quest II — The End Times.
Still here? Good. Let me tell you a little bit more about the game. As I mentioned above, Warhammer Quest II — The End Times is basically a dungeon crawler, and most of the time you spend playing it will involve you leading a party of four (or sometimes less) adventurers into caves, cellars, keeps and crypts in search of either a big boss monster or the exit tile.
Along the way, you’ll encounter enemies from all aspects of Warhammer’s rich lore, although since the game is centred on the rise of Chaos, most of those enemies are Beastmen, minotaurs, Nurglings and Plaguebearers, as well as the odd zombified humans and the occasional Greenskin. On the Allied side, it’s pleasing to see that almost all “sentient” races are playable, with even Vampire Counts and Ogres joining the fight against Chaos.
Whilst we’re on the subject of party building, this is without a doubt one of the best and most satisfying parts of Warhammer Quest II. Whilst only four warriors can enter battle, the player may have a roster that features many warriors, each of whom will have their own statistics, abilities and equipment to make them useful in different situations. Characters also gain experience and level up as they participate in battles, although there’s no XP sharing, so it’s possible for one or more characters to be left behind if the player doesn’t rotate them.
The problems with Warhammer Quest II — The End Times as a home console experience begin on the battlefield. Each level usually takes place across about three to seven rooms, each of which is linked by a doorway. Each character has a number of action points (four at the start of the game, rising by one every few levels) with which to do things. Attacks typically use two to four AP, whilst moving costs one AP per space.
I kid you not, I completed the first half of this game without having a single character knocked out, simply by standing by each door, luring the enemies towards me and then killing them with ranged attacks as they approached. It wasn’t until enemies with four or five times the hit points of the opening creatures came into play that this tactic became weaker, yet even when it did, a couple of warriors holding the doorway and funnelling the enemies into a kill zone was enough to defeat even boss monsters.
The really unfortunate thing about this is that Warhammer Quest II is kind of fun at a mechanical level. I enjoy the character aspect and even the combat, and it is necessary to be quite thinky about when to shoot, when to attack and when to retreat — since making enemies walk a space towards you can often mean they get one attack and not two. That said though, once you realise that you can cheese your way through almost any situation, you’ll never need to put your team in danger again.
Visually, Warhammer Quest II actually looks quite decent, with a default top-down view offered when each level loads, as well as a free camera that the player can angle and rotate to see more of the fairly well-detailed characters. One downside here is that all the characters and enemies of each kind look broadly the same (except their weapon) and the environments get very repetitive, very quickly.
Another repetitive aspect is the music, which is actually very rousing and (through a powered subwoofer) quite impressively thematic. The problem is, there’s only one audio track during combat and one (much quieter) track when the player is all alone. There’s no voice acting, leaving the story elements to be delivered via static screens of text that feature, at best, poor to average quality writing.
Overall then, Warhammer Quest II is not a game that I would recommend for a home console or PC player, but I probably did have enough fun with it to suggest that it might be worth a look on your phone, tablet or Nintendo Switch. It will still have the same problems that I’ve described here to detract from the gameplay, but that might be more forgivable if you’re just dropping in for the odd thirty-minute session and can live with a very lightweight story and some basic tactical slash-em-up fun.