A personal favorite grab from my ongoing rummaging through the Gamivo.com bargain-bin of super-discounted Steam game codes has to be "Sanctus Reach" - which I was recently able to pick up for just £0.78, saving over £22 compared to the full price over at Steam. Sanctus Reach is a turn-based strategy war game set within the Warhammer 40K universe - and while over the years Warhammer games have been very hit-or-miss in terms of quality, Sanctus Reach is certainly one of the better ones, and a must-have for gamers with a penchant for all things Warhammer.
I've been a little bit of a Warhammer-geek all my life, even playing the epic table-top miniature-model based "board-game" back in my teenage years (a long time ago now). However for me the video games have always been where it's really at, the tabletop game features rule-books the size of telephone directories, and the miniatures are also prohibitively expensive if you don't have a lot of cash. Two reasons why my time spent playing the tabletop game was somewhat limited. However despite these limitations, I have always since those early days maintained a deep love of the universe(s) and lore, of the Warhammer world(s), and 40K in particular (the futuristic war-torn space exploration Warhammer universe). World's that video games have given me access to, without needing to memorize endless rules and stats, and without needing to fork out a small fortune to build up an army.
From Space-Crusade on the ZX Spectrum, Space Hulk on the Amiga, Shadow of the Horned Rat on the original PlayStation through to more recent Warhammer offerings, I've played most of them (yes, I'm old). And while not all of them have been solid-gold, gems like the Dawn of War series (the first two at least) still remain among my favorite and most frequently played games ever.
Skim through the reviews left by others over at Steam and you'll see many describing Sanctus Reach as being the closest Games Workshop computer game to the 40K tabletop experience, and while I only played the tabletop game a handful of times a long time ago - in my experience that seems to be both fair, and fitting. The sprites look like the miniature models that die-hard fans of the tabletop game collect and painstakingly paint by hand (with some basic animation to give them a little life), the game setting looks like a recreation of a tabletop setup with model-esque buildings and miscellaneous obstacles and cover to traverse. And it's also a pretty slow game - with you having to wait and twiddle your thumbs (or make your plans) while the computer moves and takes it's own actions after you've ended your turn - one by one, piece by piece (which can take some time). Which again is like the tabletop game...
Sanctus Reach not a fast-paced game, and it's not overly flashy compared to some of the other newer 40K-themed computer games out there. There's very little in the way of cut-scenes to tie the somewhat limited campaign stories together, the sprites while looking divine in and of themselves are a little clunky in their animation and movement, in fact in terms of polish, it could be argued to be lacking compared to what you might expect from a modern top-tier Warhammer 40K game. And yet the lack of these bells-and-whistles, in my opinion at least, actually work in Sanctus Reach's favor, should you be looking for a near-authentic 40K tabletop simulator.
The game-play itself is well designed and never gets dull as you task your Space Wolf armies to cut bloody swathes through the endless sea of green-skinned Orks that descend upon you (or vice-versa should you prefer), and you will certainly need to give real thought to your strategies if you want to reign victorious in the name of the Emperor-of-Man. With Sanctus Reach being one of the best turn-based war games I've personally ever played. Which is rounded off nicely with a multi-player mode through which to challenge your friends, and some solid DLC through which you can add different factions to the game, with the base game being limited to only Space Marines and Orks (yes it would be nice if more were included in the base game, but hey, that's the way it is these days). And there's also a workshop mode that gives you access to user generated campaigns and content to provide even more bang for your buck.
And so to summarize, if you're looking for a solid and relatively authentic recreation of the Warhammer 40K tabletop game you can play on your PC, Sanctus Reach is about as good as it gets. Making Sanctus Reach a must-have addition to the gaming libraries of fans of the tabletop games, and Warhammer video games alike. Despite only acquiring this game quite recently I've already sunk a good 40 hours or so of playtime into this title, and I noticed over at Steam that some have played this game for literally thousands of hours - and as a fan of both the Warhammer universe and lore, and the turn-based strategy war-game genre, I can already understand why...