Another of the slew of games licensed from Games Workshop, The Horus Heresy: Battle of Tallarn has its focus on tank based strategic combat.
Set during the galaxy wide civil war known as the Horus Heresy, Tallarn was once a fertile, prosperous world. A planet of strategic value, the Traitor legion of Space Marines, the Iron Warriors, deployed weaponised viral weapons to scour the planet of life. Tallarn was reduced to a desert, who’s atmosphere was lethal to any organic material. As the survivors emerge from bunkers, the Iron Warriors start deploying tanks and war machines on the planet surface. This is the start of the largest armoured engagement in the Horus Heresy.
Battle of Tallarn sees you take command of either the Loyalist of Traitor forces to lead them to victory. A huge selection of tanks are represented in the game from the main battle tank, the Leman Russ, to the devastating Fellblade. These tanks are backed up by support vehicles, dreadnoughts, and even colossal Titans taking to the field. A total of 66 different units make the translation from the tabletop game to the digital battlegrounds.
On its surface, Battle of Tallarn bears a strong resemblance to the old classic, Final Liberation. Both deal in large-scale battles with heavy vehicles and tanks. However, scratch that surface and the similarities fade.
An almost direct mobile port, Battle of Tallarn lacks any of shine or depth of Final Liberation. The campaign story is told via a couple of paragraphs before each mission. There’s no real connection made between the player and the game, and playing each mission simply feels like you’re going through the motions. There’s no real customisation of your forces. The game boasts of 66 units, but each mission provides a choice of one of three prebuilt ‘teams’. This lack of options takes away some of the depth that strategy games usually shine at.
Are you knowledgeable in the Horus Heresy setting? Do you know the difference between a Predator Annihilator and a Predator Destructor? Hopefully you do. In the team selection, you usually have to make a choice between three sets of similar sounding tanks, without telling you what they specialise in, what their strengths and weaknesses are. While fans of the tabletop game might be able to tell you every detail on the vehicles in the game, for the average gamer it becomes a case of trial and error.
The combat itself also comes across as a little bland. For a game of tank combat, the animations and effects don’t have any real substance behind them. Everything seems a little ‘matter of fact’ rather than brutal armoured warfare. Destroying an enemy doesn’t give any real satisfaction. A dull thud of a cannon, or flash of laser results in a cloud, leaving a blast mark where the enemy was. A generic score and flat sounds do little to help this.
That’s not to say Battle for Tallarn is a terrible game. The actual gameplay has decent strategic depth There is scope to set up ambushes behind hills and flanking manoeuvres are vital. Except for some of the heavier vehicles, the tanks have weaker side and rear armour, placement and positioning of units is key. In a turn based strategy like this, it can be a slow burn to see your plans pay off, but it is worthwhile when they do!
Ultimately, what lets Battle of Tallarn down is how direct a port it is. It’s understandable that a mobile game might not need any kind of story depth to be a good game. But when making the transition from mobile to PC it needs a little more to make it worthwhile.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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