Virtual reality hasn’t exactly panned out the way I envisioned when consumer VR started hitting the markets a few years ago. While there have been some great VR games, that seems to be the exception rather than the rule. Coincidentally, you can almost say the same thing about the quality of Warhammer games—and with Warhammer meeting VR, I thought it was a surefire recipe for disaster. Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Tempestfall isn’t a disaster, but it doesn’t do too much to raise itself above mediocrity.
Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Tempestfall is a virtual reality game in which you play as a Stormcast Eternal (specifically, a lightning wielding Lord-Arcanum) in the Age of Sigmar setting. I’m not the biggest fan of Age of Sigmar, but the ability to play what’s essentially a fantasy-themed Warhammer 40k Space Marine in virtual reality was a tempting draw. And that’s pretty much what you are, a walking tank wielding weapons that shoot lightning and the ability to rip apart foes with a wave of your virtual reality controller. While it delivers on that promise, there are just too many issues that make Tempestfall painful to play.
One of the worst aspects of Tempestfall, and one that makes my enjoyment of the entire game suffer, is movement. There are the normal free movement vs. teleport options, but anyone with motion sickness beware: teleportation is not implemented well. In fact, I’d argue that teleportation is practically broken. While teleporting works as it does in other VR games, it just doesn’t work correctly in Tempestfall. A lot of surfaces don’t allow you to teleport onto them for some reason. The problem was so bad I decided to troubleshoot my VR setup to see if something was going wrong on my end, but that wasn’t the case. But even if the teleport option worked flawlessly, there are still portions of the game that would cause me discomfort, though most are avoidable. Thankfully, there’s a “skip climbing” button that allows you to avoid tedious (and potentially nauseating) climbing sections. But even when developer Carbon Studios considers something like that, they include a sword attack that propels your character forward. As someone with susceptibility to motion sickness, playing Tempestfall was often an uncomfortable experience.
That’s not to say that Tempestfall is bad. While I’m not a huge fan of VR melee combat, Tempestfall’s combat is fun. The naturally lightweight VR melee combat is supplemented by lightning magic that did a good job making me feel like an immortal, lightning-wielding badass. There are only a few weapons available to you, but each one feels extremely powerful, especially when they’re upgraded, and will allow you to just absolutely lay waste to hordes of undead. Being able to raise a lightning scepter above my head to shoot arcs of lightning at my foes, or slashing lightning bolts towards my enemies is extremely satisfying—when it works.
Tempestfall utilizes gestures activate certain abilities. Even in VR, using motion activated abilities can be frustrating, and while Tempestfall handles it better than some other games I’ve played, it’s still frustrating to have an ability not trigger when you think it should.
Visually, Tempestfall looks simultaneously impressive and underwhelming. Textures look strangely low resolution, and non-player characters feel like lifeless statues. Granted, all of the Stormcast Eternals are heavily armored, and they move so little that your allies often feel more frightening than the undead foes you face. Enemies mostly look good, however, and it’s pretty cool to get face to face with Age of Sigmar flavored undead foes.
Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Tempestfall has its moments, but never feels like a polished experience. If you suffer from motion sickness in VR be warned: the teleportation is almost broken in some sections of the game. Combat is fun, however, and seeing Warhammer in virtual reality (even Age of Sigmar) is pretty awesome, even if the visuals aren’t always the best. It’s definitely a mixed bag, but might interest those who absolutely love the setting.
Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Tempestfall is available on Steam now, with an Oculus Quest version coming soon.
A Steam key was provided to us for this review.