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After spending some time playing Warhaven, I can confidently say that I liked the concept of this game. However, as is often the case, the execution left much to be desired…
On one hand, there are various characters, dynamic battles with medieval weaponry, flashy combos, and even magical transformations. But on the other hand, it all ultimately boils down to timely pressing of a few keys on the keyboard and teamwork. In this regard, Warhaven doesn’t differ significantly from other MOBA games like Warlander.
Warhaven video review
A Bit About the Developers
Warhaven is developed and published by the Korean company NEXON, founded back in 1994. According to the developers themselves on their official website, NEXON has introduced some of the largest innovations in our industry, including the world’s first graphical multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) and the first free-to-play game.
NEXON considers itself a leader in the MMORPG industry. At the time of writing this review, the company has released more than 80 games in over 190 countries. Their motto is, “Player Satisfaction is Our End Game.” I can’t claim to be a major expert on NEXON games, but looking at Warhaven, I seriously doubt that they followed this slogan closely…
Warhaven Gameplay Review
To better understand what’s wrong with this dynamic and visually impressive online action game, let’s examine and evaluate its key gameplay aspects separately.
Core Concept (7 / 10)
Warhaven is a team arena where two teams of players battle each other in various modes using medieval weapons such as swords, spears, shields, and more. It sounds promising, but in practice, players are immediately confronted with a slew of genre-typical issues.
Characters and Transformations (5 / 10)
In Warhaven, there’s no option to create or develop your character, which is a significant drawback. There are only pre-made heroes available to all players from the beginning.
While this might not bother some players, I believe that character appearance customization and the ability to choose your combat style are crucial in such games. In Warhaven, neither option is available; you can only select a pre-made hero and change their costume.
The “transformations” into “Immortals” in the game also left a lot to be desired. Periodically, players can briefly transform their characters into more powerful Immortals with stronger abilities. While this adds an interesting twist, it feels like a forced mechanic, and playing without it significantly hampers your effectiveness.
Class System (5 / 10)
It’s hard to understand why the developers introduced the old “tank – damage dealer – healer – assassin” system in Warhaven. Perhaps they were trying to provide players with at least some choice in their combat style.
In practice, this approach feels outdated, and in my opinion, it doesn’t suit Warhaven. It’s about time developers abandoned the notion that healers are necessary in every online game; otherwise, we’ll soon see them in a new Counter-Strike…
Combat System (5 / 10)
I can’t say much positive about Warhaven’s combat system. On one hand, it’s quite visually impressive and initially has a “wow” factor. However, once you realize that your gameplay boils down to timely pressing of three keys for basic attacks and counters, the excitement quickly wanes.
All you can do is perform regular attacks (left mouse button), attempt to block enemy strikes (right mouse button), execute a special attack (Q), break the enemy’s guard (E), and perform evasive maneuvers (Shift). There are also a few special attacks (e.g., attacking while running), but they don’t add much variety to the gameplay. Furthermore, character skills (Q, E, Shift) have cooldowns, replacing the traditional stamina system. There’s no sprinting in the game at all.
At level 10, players gain access to Perks. Perks come in three types, and you can equip only one of each type at a time. While Perk bonuses add some diversity to gameplay, they don’t significantly boost your effectiveness. According to the developers’ vision, players should be on an equal footing, so you’ll need to practice hard to learn how to move correctly, block enemy attacks in time, and strike at the right moments.
From my experience, there’s a clear lack of variability in the combat system. In a game like Mount & Blade (any of them), you can use the mouse to strike (and block) from above, left, right, or below. In Warhaven, you’re limited to 1-2 basic attacks and a few questionable skills with cooldowns. This is too little for a modern online game.
Progression System (3 / 10)
There are almost no ways to develop your account in the game except for increasing your level and battle pass level, both of which require completing daily and weekly tasks.
You might wonder, “What’s the problem with that?” The problem is that Warhaven lacks any meaningful variety and freedom of choice. I believe that in games of this genre, the progression system (like the combat system) should be deep, complex, and multifaceted, allowing players to create hundreds of unique builds for each character.
Imagine how great it would be to have the ability to procedurally generate a sword or spear of the exact weight and length that suits you. Picture being able to customize your own combat style by choosing specific variations of attacks and blocks. In Warhaven, none of this exists, and it won’t. NEXON should be ashamed of releasing such raw projects.
Graphics and Optimization (8 / 10)
Despite the fact that most animations are utterly unnatural (and sometimes downright inadequate, as shown in the image below; let me know in the comments how often you see people running in the posture of a dark elf from Interlude), the game looks good visually.
Characters and the environment are detailed, and special effects don’t hinder visibility during battles.
A plus point is that Warhaven is well-optimized, so you can play it at 60 FPS even on a mid-range PC.
Pros and Cons
I’ll briefly list the key pros and cons of the game. I remind you that despite my attempts to maintain objectivity, everything written here is my personal opinion, and you’re not obligated to agree with it.
- The overall concept of medieval weapon-based player battles
- Optimized and neat graphics (excluding character animations), introductory videos
- Accessibility of all characters at the start of the game without the need to purchase them
- High-quality and immersive music
- Replays of the best moments from top players at the end of a match
- Transformations during battles
- Unnatural movement animations and repetitive attacks
- Lack of variety in the combat system and in the account/character progression
- Inability to create and customize your character
- Daily and weekly tasks
- Presence of classes, healers, and the ability to resurrect fallen allies (out of place)
- World Pass
Is It Worth Playing Warhaven? (6 / 10)
To say that Warhaven is a completely bad game would be unfair. Many people have enjoyed it. However, I personally have significant doubts that there will be many players willing to invest months and years into it, like in the case of Counter-Strike, for example. The initial player reviews on Steam further support this notion. This game is designed for a quick 30-60 minute relaxation session after work, diving straight into battle without the need for extensive planning or development.
I believe you should give Warhaven a chance if you enjoy battles in a medieval setting. After all, the game is free, so you have nothing to lose. If you’ve already played it, please share your opinion in the comments.