The Horus Heresy: Betrayal at Calth is an early access turn based strategy game based in the universe of Warhammer 40,000. As an early access title, a lot of features are missing from Betrayal at Calth. Because the title is in its early stages with Steel Wool Studios, it’s not optimized too well. Additionally, the campaign is dreadfully short and the combat is slow and basic. It has a lot of potential, but at the moment, a series of changes need to be made for it to reach that potential.
Betrayal at Calth is a rather simple strategy game that has you moving multiple sets of three troops to complete the assigned objective. This can vary from hacking a terminal, trying to escape the level, or eliminating all the enemies on the field. Regardless, the objectives are typically simple. In the average game, you’ll find yourself moving incredibly slow across the map to complete this objective. A single movement from a single unit counts as a turn, and those turns typically take a bit longer than you’d expect. Unlike most games of its kind, you can’t move your entire team in a single turn. It takes many turns to exhaust all of your teams action points for that round. This creates an unfortunately slow moving game, as completing the simplest of objectives take twenty minutes.
In game, you can create armies from a selection of three types of troops. Legionaries are the basic combat unit, which can only use the basic weapon in game. It’s typically advised to have most of your army made up of these, as they are all around good fighters. The veterans are specialists who can use various types of weapons in combat like a flamethrower, rocket launcher, or plasma gun. Lastly, sergeants are expert melee fighters, generally equipped with a power sword or chainsaw.
The Horus Heresy: Betrayal at Calth’s lack of diversity is likely because it is still in early access, as even the steam page suggests that more unit types and game mode options are to come. However, in these stages, it’s tough to even consider the game fun.
The big problem with Betrayal at Calth is that the only two real options here are to move and shoot. This is especially bad considering that the game has little else to it. It has an hour long campaign with incredibly bland and generic missions in that campaign, and the only redeeming factor should be an engaging combat system. However, that’s not the case.
Throughout the missions, you take a series of groups and advance around the map. The only two things these units can do are move two tiles and shoot things in the distance. These are the only two options in game, and considering that it’s a strategy game, this is jarring. It’s hard to see what this game is meant to be, as it is clearly unsuited for anyone to play in its current stage.
It’s unfortunate that Betrayal at Calth is so hard to play, not in terms of the actual gameplay, but trying to start a match is frustrating. More than half of the time the game will crash because it cannot properly load. If you get passed that, the loading screens take forever and frame rate drops often plague the experience. Additionally, if you try to change the graphics settings there’s a very good chance the game will crash. Even if it doesn’t crash, it takes forever for those changes to go through. I spent my first fifteen minutes troubleshooting, which is not only bad as a first impression, but is strange considering the campaign is only an hour long.
Weirdly, no music tracks play during the campaign. In all five of the missions that I played, there isn’t a single music track playing. It was consistent dead silence, and the only thing you could hear was the wind and the gunshots. Not only that, but when trying to adjust volume, you can only change the music and sound effects. This means that dialogue stays at max volume at all times. Hilariously, in the gameplay portion of the options menu, there are no visible choices. It’s a completely blank menu screen. Even if Betrayal at Calth would have turned out to be an engaging game, the lack of polish really hinders it.
Even as an early access title, Betrayal at Calth is incredible unpolished. It has little to nothing worth playing at this point in time, and to bother with it right now is pointless. I certainly enjoy the idea of the combat, but its lack of variety makes it hard to care about. There are also so many other obvious problems that it’s surprising this game even made it to early access. If you’re interested in Betrayal at Calth, wait a year and see how it turns out.
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