Mordheim: City of the Damned continues to expand its repertoire, adding a new faction in the form of the witch hunters. Set against the backdrop of the Warhammer Fantasy world, the witch hunters serve as a militant secret police of sorts for the massive Empire. Their role is to hunt down sorcerers and demon worshippers, hopefully stopping them before they're able to cause too much destruction or sow just a bit too much heresy. Based on that alone, adding this warband into Mordheim to take on roving cults, giant rat creatures, and more creates a perfect fit for this religious, militant group.
The witch hunters are the first warband addition to Rogue Factor's title through downloadable content. While you won't be able to play as a witch hunter if you don't purchase the DLC, you'll still be seeing these guys pop up as enemies throughout your campaign. They bring with them a different approach when compared to the other available warbands in the game. They do feel like an odd mixture of the existing human warbands in the game, especially Chaos given some of the immunities and abilities the group comes with. A nice set of skills shared by some of the more specialized witch hunters includes immunity to fear tests, terror tests, and routing when morale is low. Being out there in the demonic and damned landscape of Mordheim is sure to involve terror in the hearts of men, so it's nice to see a group capable of withstanding it.
The units available to an avid witch hunter include the witch hunter (both regular and captain varieties), flagellants, zealots, warrior priests, templar knight, and executioners. Early on there isn't much to choose from, with just your basic zealot and flagellant, but over time the others become available. The early game units, while still useful, feel pretty weak. The flagellant, for example, amounts to a "glass cannon," packing an extreme punch capable of dealing extensive damage, but he can go down quickly against foes. The zealot, one of the few capable of equipping ranged items, felt weak against many foes I encountered. Early game felt like a struggle, and since the game doesn't offer any form of difficulty options, I had no other choice but to try and struggle my way through.
For those that have not played the game, Mordheim is a tactical strategy game similar in scope to XCOM 2 or Valkyria Chronicles, only with much less ranged weaponry. The game's free roam map system allows you to position units almost anywhere given their movement range and stats, which then allows you to set up killzones, ambush spots, or all out brawling territory when enemies finally close in on you. The witch hunters add a fun challenge to the game as not many of their units are ranged, but they make up for it by offering units that deal strong melee attack damage while carrying bonuses. The zealot, as an example deals an additional 10% melee damage after receiving any damage. Grouped tightly with others, this can lead to devastating turns where your warband is capable of downing a stronger enemy unit.
Aside from the early game difficulty I faced, my only other real chief complaint is we already have two other human warbands to choose from (three if you count Chaos). The skaven, a race of rat creatures, are the only truly non-human group in the game currently. Since Warhammer Fantasy has numerous races to draw from, including the undead, vampire counts, and more. Branching out from existing races would have added some new flair to the game. I'm sure given time, Rogue Factor will continue to deliver additional warband that further enhance the game's overall replay value.
Note: The Mordheim: City of the Damned - Witch Hunters review is based on a digital PC copy of the game, provided for review.