Review – Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Tempestfall

Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Tempestfall

Regardless of platform, Warhammer games cannot be escaped. Tabletop, console, mobile, now VR, Games Workshop’s monolithic franchise cannot be denied. Thankfull,y as a Warhammer fan, the quality of games has much increased over the years. And Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Tempestfall is another example of that increase in quality. Not just for Warhammer games in general, but in this case for VR as a whole. While Warhammer games can be accused of sometimes being generic examples of their genre, in this case it’s that exact thing that VR as a whole needs. Tentpole games are fine and all, but you need the fun 7/10 titles in-between them to make your platform viable.

Off the bat, Tempestfall is unique amongst Warhammer games in two major ways. First, Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Tempestfall forsakes the usual sci-fi setting of 40K for the steampunk/fantasy inspired realms of Age of Sigmar. Born in the shadow of 40K and Warhammer Fantasy, Age of Sigmar has only recently started to find its own identity. Tempestfall comes in the wake of this push for the setting to become its own thing, and is better for it. There was a time I would have skipped the game simply because of the setting, and I would have been missing out. The second major difference has to do with its core gameplay.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Tempestfall Skeleton

This skelly is about to be wishing he’d stayed dead.

Most Warhammer games revolve around shooting and slashing. Whether it’s turn-based, first person or third, someone is almost always being shot or stabbed as you play. Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Tempestfall on the other hand, is all about magic. You play as a Lord-Arcanum of the Stormcast Eternals, Sigmar’s angels. While they do carry a fairly effective sword, their main weapon is powerful lightning magic, which is absolutely exhilarating to unleash in VR. Mage VR games are not nearly as numerous as archery or sword ones, so as someone who prefers magic classes in RPGs I’m always glad when another one comes along. Especially when they’re as well done and fun as Tempestfall

The game is set in the death realms of Shyish following an event known as the Necroquake. You find yourself investigating a Nighthaunt assault upon your brothers and sisters. If that sounds like a bunch of nonsense, don’t worry. The game explains what you need to know as you play, and what you don’t doesn’t affect your enjoyment in the least. All that matters is the ghostly Nighthaunt are the bad guys and the shiny Stormcast Eternals are good. At least in this story. And as a Lord-Arcanum you have the ability to channel the storm powers of your god, and it’s your duty to use it against his enemies. And use it you shall.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Tempestfall Scythe

Dude brought a scythe to a lightning bolt fight.

Combat in this game is centered around your three weapons. A sword and two staffs, names of which I’m not even going to pretend I remember. Each can be used as a melee weapon, but is much more useful for the gesture based spells they allow you to cast. Each one has three, with one unlocked at first. As you collect materials throughout the world, you will upgrade your weapons and unlock and enhance your spells. Your Sword is focused on melee spells and upgrades, and the weapon I used least. Then there’s your smaller staff, which I used most. Some impressive magic, and still useful if melee became unavoidable. 

When it comes to magic though, it was the second staff that brought the thunder. The mighty Aetherstave, the iconic weapon of a Lord-Arcanum. It allows you to summon mighty lightning storms, summon balls of thunder to throw at your enemies and send the wind itself roaring. The sword I used mostly to wave around like a maniac and the small staff for the fights where control and thinking were required. The Aetherstave though, I used when I wanted to feel like an absolute badass and it never failed to accomplish just that. There’s just something about VR, that when a game is done properly it allows you to bridge the gap between yourself and the game. Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Tempestfall is done very very correctly. 

It’s not without its issues, although nothing major. Enemy variety is decent enough, but every enemy basically looks the same. Cool sure, especially in VR scale, but still basically the same. The same can be said for the environments. You’ll explore caves, dungeons, and the empty streets of the city. Different, but will eventually feel kinda samey. Also the controls aren’t exactly janky, but will take some getting used to. The gesture based controls for your spells work, but it takes time to learn them. I actually used the training grounds at your base for the first time in any game to practice until I could cast every spell on a whim with zero mistakes. It works, but absolutely takes time. 


Live your Steampunk Gandalf fantasies.

The same cannot exactly be said for the climbing and traversal mechanics. These kind of things are always hit and miss in VR games, and this is sadly mostly a miss. They’re doable don’t get me wrong, and I enjoyed the challenge and experience of climbing around walls and down ropes. But there’s always a skip teleport near the start of these sections for a good reason. Movement is either teleport or regular and I found both to be acceptable. I didn’t encounter any motion sickness, which is always a good thing. Still as with anything VR in this respect, your mileage will always vary. 

Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Tempestfall is a great Warhammer and VR game. The combat is loads of fun, and seeing these models and locations in the full scale of VR is sometimes downright breathtaking. Magic taking the centerstage for once was a welcome surprise, and the effects are gorgeous while the controls are satisfying to pull off. It never got old to raise the Aetherstave and summon a mighty storm, or slash your small staff through the air and summon a lightning wave. Satisfying and visceral, in the way that all good VR games do it. Enemies and locations do eventually get kind of repetitive, but the combat is what you come for and it’s what makes you stay. VR needs more games like this, ones you play because you just wanna have some harmless thoughtless fun. 


Graphics: 9.0

Environments are impressive, spell effects striking, with beautifully detailed character models.

Gameplay: 8.0

For a VR game, the combat and progression systems are surprisingly complex and once past the learning curve quite engaging.

Sound: 7.5

The voice acting is pretty good, but for me the real winner is the sound effects. The crash of steel on steel, the crackle of lightning- it brings it all to life.

Fun Factor: 8.0

It’s just a fun game. The world is different and intriguing, combat fun and fulfilling, and while the story and characters are generic they’re interesting enough to keep you playing until the end.

Final Verdict: 8.0

Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Tempestfall is available now on PCVR.

Reviewed on Oculus Rift.

A copy of Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Tempestfall was provided by the publisher.