Games Workshop are best known for their tabletop top game Warhammer 40,000, with a huge worldwide following and multiple third parties licensing the franchise.
VR development studio Pixel Toys are the latest to join those ranks, stepping up to produce a virtual reality adaptation of a lesser-known story arc of the Warhammer 40K series, Battle Sister. If you are a fan of Warhammer or VR, this is certainly a game to try out.
Taking place in the sci-fi setting of the 40K Universe, you play as Sister Ophelia, a member of the Adepta Sororitas. Right out of the gate the game throws you into this fantasy world where it’s gritty, dark and under threat from the forces of chaos. Once through the opening tutorial, you are met by Sister Viola, a Sister you have served with for over ten years. It is here where you learn a long lost sister might still be alive and it’s your mission to reunite with her.
The game’s mechanics are fairly simple. You have two weapons, one on each hip with ammo on the front of your belt. You then press a button to remove the clip and hold the gun to the ammo belt to reload. It’s complicated enough to feel you are immersed in the world but not too fiddly that it ruins your experience.
The game also has a few extra weapons you can pick up along the away which will be well known to a 40k veterans, like grenade launchers, Lazcannons, Flamers and grenades.
After the first couple of missions, you also get a Power Sword which is attached to your back. To use this weapon you just put your arm over your shoulder and grab it. This movement and the sound the weapon makes really made me feel powerful and ready to take on the Chaos forces.
You also learn ‘Acts of Faith’ which are magical powers to aid you through the missions. One is very much a copy of a Jedi Force Push, the other two are a shield and the slowing of time. These Faith abilities are what I found the most fiddly and least enjoyable as at times I wanted to use them and the game would not register and it ended up in my character’s death.
Graphically the game is not going to blow you away, but for a headset without any help from a PC or external hardware the game looks good and runs smoothly which is one of the key things to keep motion sickness away. It does a great job with lighting and feel of the weapons. They are oversized and have a sense of weight to them, giving you that look and feel of the Warhammer figures and their giant guns.
The game really leans on its atmosphere and the music does a great job here to really immerse you in the situation. At times you are with comrades who will help you with some covering fire but when you are alone and the music kicks in its creates such an intense vibe.
The voice acting is another high point of the game. It was easy to dismiss the characters but the voice work really helped me stay engaged during these scenes and learn a lot more about the lore behind the Battle Sisters’ story.
I did witness some graphical glitches from time to time and this was mainly when I played for longer sessions. A quick restart of the game and I was back into the action, which is not ideal but it kept me playing. If they can improve this it would hugely help the experience.
Pixel Toys also released an update to fix one of the biggest issues with the game: the movement. When I didn’t want to play standing up I either had the choice of blink turning – which was stomach-turning – or a teleport-style system which was slightly better but awkward to use when in battle. According to the developer, the introduction of smooth turn is coming and this will greatly help anyone who suffers from motion sickness
Overall the game was an enjoyable experience with a few glitches along the way. The iconic Warhammer 40k universe made it a fun and enjoyable experience for a veteran fan who has always had to imagine the vision of these battlefields. With a few patches and perhaps the addition of some other game modes or difficulties, this could be a great VR game for anyone to play, not just Warhammer fans.
Warhammer 40,000: Battle Sister is out now for Oculus Quest and Oculus Quest 2 (version reviewed) priced at £22.99