As GamerBraves’ resident Warhammer man, it was almost a given that I’d have to do first impressions on Warhammer Odyssey. The premise seems cool- it’s a mobile MMO set in The Old World, complete with callbacks to fun obscure characters like Gotrek and Felix. It has a variety of classes like Witch Hunters, Dwarf Slayers (Slayers who are Dwarves, I mean) and others, all upgrading their looks as you get more advanced gear similar to Diablo.
While the game sounds good on paper though, actually playing it was a different matter. Look, any Warhammer fan knows that Warhammer games have always been a mixed bag, so I’m not expecting anything too impossible out of Odyssey. But the first impressions right now for Warhammer Odyssey are that it might not be the best to get into if you’re just looking for a good mobile MMO. Read on to find out more:
Mechanics Made When Tomb Kings Were Still Relevant
So, Warhammer Odyssey looks like it would have been impressive if it was released, like, 10 years ago. While it’s certainly impressive that MMOs have become a genre for mobile, there’s a lot of Warhammer Odyssey that just feels like it’s not sticking the landing.
Look, I love Warhammer. Warhammer’s one of the most important pieces of media in the past decades, being part of the backstory of companies like Blizzard and games like Hero Quest. Yet, there’s something about Odyssey’s combat that just feels, well, not great.
Mechanically, it’s good enough. I tried out the Witch Hunter, a class whose skills combo off of each other for devastating attacks. You can open up a fight by branding your target a Heretic, which adds new effects to some of your skills such as a critical boost on your slash. You can also fire your off-hand pistol for even bigger damage, with any enemy resistances negated thanks to the Heretic brand.
Now, branding a target a heretic before hitting them with a huge slash/shoot combo is very much Warhammer in flavor, so why does it look so, well, lame?
The animations feel weird and floaty, which is about where I expected an MMO from the 2000s to be. But considering we can get games with way more responsive feeling animations on mobile like Honkai Impact, it just feels kind of like the game’s not living up to its full potential.
Similar to more dated MMOs, there’s also the fact that the game doesn’t really incentivize a more mobile playstyle. As a Witch Hunter I’m not exactly fond of getting hit, since I’m not one of the armored classes. But it’s not like I really have any other choice since my only mobility option is brisk-walking, and any attack button will have me running back to the enemy like your highschool crush when you find out they’re single.
The game also has a problem with its lock on, sometimes insisting you’d rather fight the guy across the room instead of the one right in front of you. This has gotten in the way of quests more than once, where I’ve suddenly pulled multiple rioters when all I wanted to kill was the one weak one. Again, this could easily be solved with some kind of dodge maneuver, but this game can’t let me have that, can it.
Granted, I’m still very much early on in the Witch Hunter’s story, so I could be wrong. maybe at level 8 the Witch Hunter gains a perfect dodge and a working lock on button. Sigmar, I hope so.
Praise Be To Warhammer Odyssey
One thing I do like about Warhammer Odyssey is its statsheet, making it the only real point of praise in these first impressions. Levelling up gives you skillpoints, that you can throw into different stats, with different skills scaling with different stats. It’s a simple touch but it really gives off oldschool tabletop vibes, and I especially like that your health is called Wounds, since that’s how its measured in the tabletop.
There’s also an auto level system, which is great for those of us who just wanna get back to indiscriminate murder instead of thinking about pumping our stats. It’s seems to be pretty effective at a glance, knowing which of your stats your class needs most and distributing them accordingly.
On top of that you can also upgrade skills via Action Points which you get every level too. These give branching paths, and are the closest this game gets to sub specializations. I didn’t get far enough to make any big branches but they seem to be clear enough, flowing well with your other skills.
Another thing I can praise is the game’s monetization, which goes to the Warframe school of charging you for extras. The main things you buy are inventory and character slots, which is largely inoffensive since I don’t imagine a majority of people run multiple alts. There’s no stamina-type system like Genshin’s Resin, so it’s good to know that the game genuinely wants you to play it.
That’s really it when it comes to nice things to put into my first impressions of Warhammer Odyssey. Granted, I’ve only played one class, and I could very well be missing on some prime content. But at least these systems work well, I guess.
Look, I’mma level with you. The quests are dull. They very much feel early WoW clone in quality, being little more than “pick up all the objects off the ground” or “Kill 5 beastmen/rats/Xenos players asking why there’s too many Space Marines” than anything that makes you feel a part of the game’s story. It’s made even worse by the problem a lot of early MMOs have, where they really praise you too much for doing barely anything.
Apparently the big hero of a Campaign I was on fell to some renown Beastman, but thankfully he was explicitly weak to my level one Witch Hunter kit because I drove him off and am now the big hero. Welp, time to go pick up trash off the streets and beat rioters!
To make matters worse, the game doesn’t actually have any kind of in-game cutscene mechanism, so complex dialogue between multiple characters is relayed as “quests” where you have to talk to each party one after the other. It’s just… dull, pretty much. Talking to a man in the Warhammer universe shouldn’t be dull, and that’s the most egregious thing. I’m talking to a knight covered in purity seals about the encroaching Beastmen hordes, I shouldn’t have to feel like I was dragged along to watch two old men bicker about whether or not I should get to go on a quest.
I understand that there’s some difficulty in implementing good quests on mobile but I’m sure at the very least we could make the process of accepting them less of a chore. I’m not even mad that there’s no voice acting, I just wish they’d added some sort of stylistic choice outside of the old school MMO zoom.
It’s made even worse by the fact the game has more bugs than a Nurgle cultist, with your attack buttons constantly walled off at random, usually when you need them most.
I hit an actual impasse with the game because it required me to get through an area full of pirates, and talk to two NPCs so they’ll get out. Enemy’s aren’t *that* crowded, so it’s actually possible to just straight up walk to them. However, there’s a pirate right next to them who naturally aggros that you’ve come to take his prisoners, and so you’ll have to fight.
Except you can’t, because the game assumes you wanna talk to the NPCs and has greyed out all your attacks and replaced your auto attack with a big talk button. Worse yet, the talk button doesn’t do anything, presumably because you’re in combat.
OK, so I’ve got to fight my way there and start exterminating pirates like I was Warner Music Group. Got it. Well, no, because the game has more bugs than a Nurgle cult, enemy models will disappear, turning them into walking hitboxes while you fail to get any hits in on them.
Add that to the game’s penalty for dying- Resurrection Trauma, which causes you to start with less health every time you die, and you just get an all-around frustrating experience. Maybe enough player feedback will get the game fixed, who knows? But for now there’s little if anything drawing me into this game.
The Warhammer IP has always been a mixed bag. On one hand, you get amazing games like the Bloodbowl series, which combines Tactics gameplay with American Football and Warhammer Fantasy. On the other hand, you get games like Chaosbane which just feel like uninspired copies of the biggest titles in their genre.
But that’s the thing. At their worst, a bad Warhammer game is usually just boring. Warhammer Odyssey is the only game so far to make me actually go “no, I don’t want to play this anymore” instead of just slinking it off to the side into a pile of apps that I’ll forget about until I’m low on space.
On the plus side, the developers have been open about the idea of more updates down the line, so maybe it’ll fix things. I have hope that it will one day be fixed and good. It’s technically only in Soft Launch right now, anyways. But for now it’s really hard to recommend Warhammer Odyssey when it hasn’t left particularly good first impressions.