You can find my previous Early Access review in the comments.
Now that Warmachine Tactics has been officially released, I feel it deserves an updated review, so here are my impressions of the current state of the game, focusing of the single player campaign.
My inital impressions were not particularly favourable, this is largely due to the very poor voice acting that began in the intro and continued into the game.
The voice actress for Alison Jakes is particularly bad, her voice is stilted, her dialogue does not flow at all, which is totally at odds with her character, who seems to be a chatterbox with a smart mouth. This is not entirely the actress's fault, though she doesn't help with an odd accent on her voice that comes and goes. She has very little to work with as the dialogue she has been given is terrible. As the major character of the Cygnar campaign, she is kind of important, but sadly she is probably the worst of all the early game characters. This is pretty bad considering none of them have particualrly good dialogue, they just did an even more terrible job with her.
Music is inoffensive, though entirely forgettable. I'd suggest just switching it off and playing some of your own instead.
Graphics are competent, though no more than that. Farly standard and won't blow your mind. Though there are ridiculous things like, why the hell are the character portraits of such low res terribad quality? It would literrally be a 10x improvement if they just took a screenshot of a characters face in game instead. It is mystifying to me.
Animation is weak. Most of the basic movement is fine, though jumping onto and over obstacles is very stilted, particularly the transition from being infront of the obstascle to interacting with it, it just looks weird. Death animations regularly bug out, so instead of a rag-doll of a corpse, you get a weird pixellated spasm of colour and then the body is on the ground. Melee combat animations are generally stilted and way too slow, there is also too much disconnect between the impact and the effect on the target, making it look rather silly when a character gently waves their sword in the direction of an enemy and after a very noticeable pause, the enemy flies backwards as though they have been hit with considerable force.
Camer work is sloppy. It generally works acceptable well for navigating the map and issuing orders. But as soon as the game seizes control of the camera, which it does to zoom in on combat and other events, it all goes wrong. If there is a piece of terrain available for the camera to hide behind, it will find it. I believe at least 50% of fights I have 'watched' from behind a wall, or tree or other terrain feature. If you aren't going to bother to put the effort in to handle camera zoom properly, there is really no reason to do it at all. Currently they have made a net negative impact to the game with this, rather than just leaving it out.
There are also a number of bugs remaining in the game, that seem to randomly block you from issuing context sensitive orders to your troops, for example not being able to issue melee attack command during melee combat, instead having to walk out of combat and shoot the enemy. If I was not familiar with Warmachine from playing the tabletop game, I may have thought some of these bugs were my misunderstanding of the rules and therefore not realised they were bugs. That they still exist is an example of the lack of polish that remains in thsi game.
Gameplay is largely competent although the AI is non-existent (more later), but does not flow well. There are numerous little ♥♥♥♥ly (n i g g l y) issues that do not work properly. For example facing, it seems to be half random as to which direction you end up facing after moving. If you move, you'd expect your finaly facing to correspond to the general direction you moved in, but this is not always the case, you could instead end up facing either left or right of the direction of movement, a fairly minor point, as you can adjust facing after moving, but as you have to do this for all your units it quickly gets tiresome. This is clearly an issue in the programming of the game, as the enemy always ends up facing the wrong way after moving as well, and has to re-orientate, adding more waiting time during the enemy turn. Which is another fairly major issue. There is no way to skip animating the entire enemy turn. This is not a problem when playing a human, as you actually want to see what they are doing so you can react, but the computer will never do anything even slightly unexpected, it is easy to predict the exact position of all enemy units 4-5 turns in advance and there is never any doubt in exactly what their response will be, namely headlong charge into primary weapon range and attack, as soon as you get within the scripted spotting distance.
Several missions into the single player campaign and I have yet to find any evidence of any independent AI activity whatsoever. All enemy activity is scripted to such a predictable degree it is ridiculous. Basically like this. Either the enemy will remain entirely passive until you are within a pretty close proximity and then rush to attack the nearest unit with his primary weapon, or you are fighting a wave assault and the enemy will rush you in waves from maximum range. There is no attempt to perform coordinated assaults or flank you or any other slightly more complicated manouvers.
As a re-creation of the tabletop game, sadly this fails badly. Weapon ranges are stupidly short, warjacks retain full capability until destroyed, to name but two glaringly obvious fails.
Overall, Warmachine is a fairly competent game, but it is obvious that the team at White Moon Dreams are very inexperienced, with possibly a couple of experienced developers/managers among them who have failed to sufficiently spread their expertise to avoid rookie mistakes. Without knowing the details behind the contract, it is impossible to know where the blame for this failure to hire sufficient experienced staff lies, but it has clearly impacted the quality and polish of this game.
If this review seems very negative, it is because it is my first impressions, and it was the bad points that stood out. The aspects I've skipped over or not mentioned were pretty much competent, but not particularly worthy of praise for being outstanding or notable either.
I would still not recommend this game, though it is a huige improvement on when I last played it. The price is still a bit too hgh for the technical quality of the game. Once the price drops to about £15 I may reconsider the value for money. The main fault of this fail lies squarely with Privateer Press management, their decision to pass this project to White Moon Dreams. A totally inexperienced studio who have clearly done their best, but made all the standard rookie mistakes and clearly have no experience to make a decent AI. Which even experienced studios regularly fail at (Hi CA and Total War). I don't know if this was done to retain more creative control, or to cut corners and milk the IP... sorry, for budgetary reasons (like Privateer Press are short of a bob or two), but it has resulted in a dissapointingly substandard experience, which will probably end up costing PP more in lost revenue.
PS. I'll review this again once I've played all the way through and played some more multiplayer and see if I change my mind. I'll also try and condense this ridiculously rambling text wall into something vaguely readable, at some point. Oh, and I LOVE how Steam censors <n i g g l y> but arsed is fine, lol.
PPS. Drop the santa hats. If you can't be bothered to make more than a half-arsed attempt then don't bother. They look stupid and were clearly knocked up by an intern on MS paint in his lunch break.