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Warhammer 40k: Gladius - Relics of War came out almost exactly two years ago and brought the grimdark world of WH40k into the 4X realm for t...

WH40k: Gladius - T'au Faction and Assault Pack DLC WH40k: Gladius - T'au Faction and Assault Pack DLC

WH40k: Gladius - T'au Faction and Assault Pack DLC

WH40k: Gladius - T'au Faction and Assault Pack DLC

Warhammer 40k: Gladius - Relics of War came out almost exactly two years ago and brought the grimdark world of WH40k into the 4X realm for the first time. Being the grimdark world of 40k, most of the focus was on just one of those X's - eXterminate. This made for a game that was not nearly as deep as the likes of Civilization, but excelled in its chosen area of focus: tactical combat. You can read my full review of the game here.

Today I'm here to discuss two recent DLC additions to the game. The T'au faction, and the Assault Pack. Gladius is a game that benefits greatly from new factions being added to the mix, since it started with just four, and could run into replayability issues as each play of the game is fairly similar. To counter the relatively simple gameplay mechanics, each faction is designed to be distinct in how it plays and to lean heavily into the lore of the universe. The new T'au faction brings its unique blend of high-tech mechanized units and Greater Good ideology to the fray. The T'au only want us all to live in harmony within their empire, so get on board! (Or else.) They at least give you the option. In a universe where almost everyone else is genocidal by default, that makes them the "good guys" to some extent.

Reflecting this ideology, the T'au get several powers that help them to influence other entities in the game, rather than simply doing damage. Some of the local wildlife can be converted to your cause, boosting your forces early on before your Fire Warriors unlock some of their many special abilities. Other abilities allow you to weaken the resolve of the enemy, by lowering morale of units and the loyalty of cities. You can also recruit people into your cities by spreading the good news of the Greater Good. 

As always with Gladius, the core of the game is the tactical combat and the huge variety of units you can build to take part in that combat. Not to mention all the cool upgrades your forces will accumulate as you work your way up the tech tree. The T'au are a faction focused on ranged combat, having almost no units capable of surviving sustained melee battles. This leaves your early units very vulnerable to enemy factions like the Orks and Space Marines, who are tough to kill with light weapons, and love to get into melee. As you work your way through the tech tree, the T'au unlock numerous ways to mitigate their disadvantages and keep their foes at range. Every unit can summon a variety of drones that act as temporary units that can either fight or offer some kind of special ability. They also make great buffers between your units and the enemy. T'au infantry gain the ability to throw a variety of grenades, and vehicles eventually gain extra missiles. 

As one might guess from the faction theme of working for the Greater Good, the units have a lot of ways of supporting each other, making them more effective when, for example, one unit marks a target for the others, or a hero arrives who can boost the firepower of every unit on the line. 

Eventually, you'll be able to field the really fun stuff: the variety of T'au powered armor suits that scale from armored infantry to giant battle mechs. I found that the Crisis Battlesuits became the bread and butter of my forces. Tough enough to take a couple of hits, with the firepower to bring down even Space Marines. They are relatively slow, but a couple of Devilfish transports can taxi your army around the battlefield rapidly. Mix in some lighter and heavier units and the T'au can go toe to toe with any of the other factions. I finished my campaign as the T'au very much satisfied with the experience. I look forward to trying it again on a harder difficulty.

The other DLC that was recently released is the Assault Pack. This is a smaller offering that adds one new unit to each faction. This is a good buy if you really enjoy Gladius and want even more toys to play with. As the name suggests, this pack is all about offensive units, as opposed to last year's Fortification Pack which added powerful defensive options. There's some nice variety on offer here, with some factions receiving heavy transports (that boast plenty of firepower of their own), the Orks getting fast Warbikes, and the Tyranids a Scythed Hierodule, a monster even larger than the options they had before. At just $5, there is little harm in picking this one up if you like the game, especially if you already have all the factions on offer.

I can only imagine that there are several more factions in the pipeline for Gladius, and I look forward to trying them out! This is a game that only gets better as more options are added in. We still don't have any Eldar, and I would hazard a guess that they must be the next to arrive. 

The new expansions are available directly from Slitherine or on Steam and GoG.

- Joe Beard