First impressions are a bit of a mixed bag:
- Well designed - the layout is beautiful. Fresh and modernized, while still unmistakably orky in style.
- Well written - staying true to the background while expanding it a bit. I also like how they toned down the pseudo science bits of ork/fungal DNA and leave the nuts and bolts of orkoid anatomy and inherited knowledge a bit more mysterious. They´re portrayed as a bit too simplistic and bloodthirsty for my taste though - back in the days of Waaagh the Orks, ´Ere we Go and Freebooterz when I discovered the 40k universe they weren´t just bloodthirsty killing machines - there was always a philosophical streak to them. They loved war - but focus lay on the spectacle of warfare, the exhilarating adventure of fighting and genarally causing mayhem, rather than being into it for the sake of slaughtering people. There´s a difference between liking a"good scrap" and liking killing.
- Well designed rules as far as I can tell - I´m not rules nut.
- Great new minis - the orks are some of best designed ranges out there, oozing with character and highly customizable.
The illustrations however, were a big letdown. There´s very few of them to begin with and the quality of the few scattered pieces of art is quite frankly depressing (with a few exceptions - mainly old Boyd and Smith pieces from earlier editions).
Hackjobs like this should simply not be seen in a GW product - I´ve seen more skilled illustrators in self published roleplaying games...
But instead of whining about it I´d like to take this moment to celebrate the fabulous ork illustrations that GWs products have featured historically - illustrations by the likes of Paul Bonner and Adrian Smith that had a huge inpact on me as a young whelp (which eventually led to me choosing a career as an illustrator myself). Images that tell stories - instead of just showing a bunch of bellowing monsters with explosions in the background they often focus on ork life outside (or just to the side) of the theatre of war. Images bursting at the seams with character and that special wry sense of humour that have always made the Orkoids so dear to me.
I do have to stress that I´m not saying that everything was better back in the rogue trader era. As loveable as the old Kev Adams orks were, the new range of Brian Nelson-styled minis are even better and these days we have stuff like stompas, fightas and gorkanauts one only could dream about in the old days. It´s just the great art and some nuances in the background I miss.
Nuff said. `Ere we go:
Ded ´ard if you ask me. Coming up - more freebooterz!