Wartales: Experience The Journey Of A Lifetime – Demo Preview
Wartales is a prime example of why demos are fantastic. When I first saw Wartales during the 2021 PC Gaming Show, I was blown away by its visuals, but not all that convinced on its gameplay. It wasn’t that there was anything inherently wrong about it, it just didn’t seem like it was for me. But after having sunk a significant chunk of time into its generously sized demo, I am happy to report that not only is Wartales worth your time but that it may just be one of the best RTS games to release this year.
“Visiting the towns and farms scattered across the map leads you to encounter some interesting NPCs.”
Wartales takes place across an expansive map densely packed with minute details and idyllic scenery. Its vast world makes for phenomenal emergent storytelling. You’ll find bandits and merchants roaming the wilds or hiding deep within a mine ready to ambush your unsuspecting party.
Wartales has a far more focused and detailed world compared to games of a similar ilk such as Mount & Blade. This leads to a more intimate and rewarding narrative as you quickly grow a fondness for the world and its remarkable surroundings.
Visiting the towns and farms scattered across the map leads you to encounter some interesting NPCs. While these encounters only offer brief snippets into the lives of Wartale’s world’s inhabitants, it is certainly enough to add a layer of depth to your narrative. You can also hire a bunch of the NPCs you meet and have them join your band of misfit mercenaries. This can lead to some pretty impressive battles with enormous scale.
“Even if the odds are stacked in your favour, Wartales doesn’t want you to get cocky.”
From levelling up your party and ensuring that they’re fed to fighting bandits, there’s a lot to do in Wartales. Exploration is only the tip of the iceberg, as combat plays a huge role in your quest across these fantastical lands.
Combat is turn-based and often involves only a few combatants at a time. Despite the small numbers, the arenas you fight in can be impressively large. The individuality of each character creates this phenomenal blend of personal and emotional stakes. Fights retain that level of personal involvement similar to that found in XCOM while also having the scale and awe of a Mount & Blade battle.
The battles require a lot of the player too. These aren’t simple affairs you can breeze on through. Rather they’re scrappy fights that require a significant level of tactical thinking to win. Even if the odds are stacked in your favour, Wartales doesn’t want you to get cocky. Thanks to the fact that engaging in melee combat locks you into that fight, and backing out means taking an additional hit, you can’t just send your soldiers in freely. You can get someone killed rather easily if you’re not careful. The ease at which you become emotionally attached to your band of merry men makes this all the more difficult.
“Wartales is a beautiful title with a lot on offer, and one well worth wishlisting.”
Wartales is the perfect blend of a free-form open-world RTS sandbox and an emotionally driven narrative experience. While the narrative relies heavily on the bond you create with your band of men, it is enough to help make the excellent turn-based combat have high enough stakes. This is a beautiful title with a lot on offer, and one well worth wishlisting. I cannot wait to get my hands on the full release and build incredible stories with a new band of misfits.
Be sure to head on over to Wartale’s Steam store page to try the demo out for yourself. You can also wishlist it on Steam to be notified of any future updates.