E3 '07: Warhammer 40,000: Squad Command Impressions

The famed franchise hammers its way onto handhelds in THQ's turn-based strategy title. We take a closer look.

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It was only a matter of time before a Warhammer strategy game found its way onto handheld systems. Sure enough, THQ is bringing one to the Sony PlayStation Portable and Nintendo DS, with Warhammer 40,000: Squad Command. We sat down with THQ and took a look at a recent build of their upcoming turn-based strategy game.

According to THQ, the game is a story-driven experience that will be virtually identical on both platforms. However, DS owners will get the added experience of controlling units with the touch screen, though the visuals will be somewhat pared down compared to the PSP release. Either way, in the campaign, you will command a team of up to six space marines in a series of 15 missions. In a few missions, you will get a chance to control imperial guards and grey knights, as well as a few vehicles. Most of your enemies will come from the Chaos faction, such as daemons and cultists.

Click to enlarge!
Click to enlarge!

The gameplay itself seems to be a pretty typical turn-based affair. You are assigned a set number of action points, which you then spend on unit movements and other actions. Commanding units looked pretty smooth in the PSP demo we saw, where a line indicated the path of the unit, and a red mark identified the victim of your attack. There don't seem to be a lot of different ways to attack your enemy, though you will gain weapons as you progress through the campaign. THQ promises that all of the weapons are found in Warhammer 40,000 lore, and that you should be able to switch between weapons during your missions.

Warhammer 40,000: Squad Command will also feature a substantial online component. On the PSP, up to eight players can skirmish, while on the DS, up to six can participate. In both versions, you can join others locally or online via Wi-Fi or infrastructure play. In online sessions, you may choose units for your army from either faction, so you aren't stuck with a simple good vs. bad battle. Online play will also include stat tracking and voice communication, though we don't yet have details on how exactly voice chat will function. Fortunately, the game will include text chat on both platforms.

While Squad Command should include all of the details that thrill Warhammer fans, THQ feels confident that any strategy enthusiast should be able to pick up and enjoy the game without any knowledge of the Warhammer 40,000 universe. We'll bring you more details on this promising turn-based title as they emerge.

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