[PlayStation 4] War Theatre Review
Arcade Distillery, who you know from Plague Road, is back on PS4 with War Theatre. Is it worth your time and money? Find out in our War Theatre review!
Using the Arcade Distillery house art style with great looking and colorful characters, War Theatre pops out on PlayStation 4 thanks to its looks, steampunk setting, and fun gameplay mechanics. This one is a turn-based strategy release with two modes to offer: You can play in Skirmish Mode for some quick battles, or you can dive into Campaign Mode, which is the meat of the game, in which you control a faction from the available options and take on the many single-player battles that the game has to offer.
The overall goal is simple since you’ll need to defeat the opposing forces or their leader to win the battle. Units can move around each map to get in attack range or to move away from danger, and you must take into consideration any potential positive or negative effects each terrain could have over your unit. You might get a chance to boost your attack, but you could also get yourself into a spot that will reduce your movement range. Another thing you need to think about is the strengths of your individual units as well as their weaknesses because if you don’t make the most of these, enemy units are going to destroy you completely.
For example, Tommy units are weak against heavy units such as tanks, but they will have the upper hand when battling against airborne units. It’s a very rock-paper-scissors gameplay mechanic and one that fans of the beloved Fire Emblem series will be aware of by now. This makes it possible for all units to have a role to play in battle, and for even the strongest of units to be overwhelmed by the right type of unit that can exploit its weakness. Because of this always interesting element, you will always need to pay attention to which units are in the opposing team so that you can plan and counter their efforts accordingly.
You need money to generate new units, and this means you will need to give it your all to gain control of cities. The more cities you have under your control, the more money you can generate during each turn, and that money can be put to great use to crank out more units as you build up your army. While taking out the enemy forces’ leader might seem like the fastest way to end a battle, sometimes a slow and steady approach might be preferred, or else you might end up being overwhelmed by the almost perfectly placed enemy units.
While the flow of each battle will certainly be different, capturing as many buildings as possible should always be part of your strategy, since it will allow you to disrupt your enemy’s cash flow, and without the proper resources, you’ll eventually be able to gain the upper hand. Every faction has a leader who not only has a large amount of health but also stronger abilities and tactical advantages, so you’ll certainly need to take this into consideration. As you get stronger, you will unlock perks that will help you gain some advantages, and this will definitely change how you take on subsequent skirmishes.
Controls-wise the game is very pick up and play, so anybody can play regardless of their skill level as long as they take their time in this turn-based strategy experience. There isn’t a proper tutorial, per se, but this one doesn’t feel like it needs a separate tutorial since you will easily learn things as you go. There are no convoluted menus, no micromanaging stats and builds, so as long as you’re up for taking on a challenge that builds up with every stage that you complete, you should be good.
My only gripe with the game is that the story doesn’t feel as strong as it could have been. Arcade Distillery is certainly known for delivering fun video games with a very distinct look and feel – see Plague Road -, and I do feel that the bits and pieces of narrative in War Theatre fall a bit flat. Does it get in the way of my enjoyment of the game? Only a little bit since, as expected, the main push for this one is in the gameplay department, and this one certainly has that one down perfectly.
War Theatre is a very fun and great looking turn-based strategy game on PlayStation 4 that you should definitely check out. I had a blast with Arcade Distillery’s very addictive Plague Road, so I was certainly up for taking this one for a spin, and I’m happy to report that it’s an easy to understand and solid release in the turn-based strategy genre.
This War Theatre review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by Arcade Distillery.