Warhammer 40k one of the oldest fantasy rpg franchises is back, after space marine in my opinion a average but fun enough game I dint expect to see the franchise for a while, but yet space hulk was announced and I got pretty exited, turn based isn’t really my style but Warhammer tends to win me over, is it finally time to don the terminator armor with pride and let loose the dogs of war?
Short answer: not really.
Space hulk is set aboard a space hulk…a abandoned vessel with a bloody history for the blood angels for it is the place where they suffered a big defeat and have been seeking redemption all this time, now they have their chance and the retaking of the space hulk begins, but that won’t be as easy has walking in finding the keys in the glove compartment and setting off because we have xenomorphs from alien I mean gene stealer’s to deal with, nasty bugs that make your armor feel like cardboard, which begs the question why we went in using such crappy armor in the first place, and that’s pretty much the extent of the story, you have a debriefing before every mission that connects them together loosely, so yeah the story is pretty weak considering both the possibilities of the warhammer world and the bland execution lacking personality and character ,thought the briefings are pretty cool most of the time, but I can’t help feeling like the story was a enormous missed opportunity, if you actually gave crew members an identity (and more than one voice actor, seriously, that’s more laziness than lack of funding )instead of cannon fodder number one and cannon fodder with claws, this could have been much more enjoyable has a campaign and not just a series of missions.
Game play is hard to explain, at least in its quality, you are given control of different squads in the actually really well done mission variety, sometimes you have a hole squad or two squad and one level gives you a librarian (A bad-ass dude with a power Axe and psychic powers) and a mecha wolverine and you have to go revive your squad and escape under the gene stealer’s relentless attacks, I really liked the mission variety in this game but that isn’t nothing if it isn’t fun to play right ? Well the game play is pretty self explanatory and the tutorial tells you all you need to known, you have ability points and command points , you spend ability points to different things and some actions like setting your units in a sentry mode called over watch cost more than others, command points are issued randomly and act as action points that can be used for all your units, in terms of units there are your basic foot soldiers equipped with storm bolters fully auto hand guns that even the entire cast of expendables couldn’t fire (expect for chuck Norris), and a power fist, then there is one unit with a chain fist, not a lot of difference there, there are 2 melee only units one with a war hammer and a shield (the most bad-ass dude in the squads) and like I said before mecha wolverine, the heavy flamer who sets stuff on fire and has a limited number of shots, the bad-ass dude with a big gun that sounds awesome but takes 4 ability points to reload and has 10 shots, and then there is the sergeant who wields a power sword and gives the ability to reload command points for better or for worse, and the librarian, who knew a librarian could kick ass right, I mean besides Conan.
But to win matches requires more than just being bad-ass death machines, it requires luck, and a lot of it, you obviously need to think strategically or you will get killed, but mostly it comes down to luck, you can put mecha wolverine guarding a door all you like but the truth is one gene stealer can kill you faster than you can say blasphemy , yeah you heard that right one hit kills, they role the computer die and if they miss you walk away and if they hit you die, no damage system, which believe me sucks major time, because it can completely break down your structures and carefully planned positioning when a enemy can get lucky and kill you and it’s a waste of good enemy ai the enemy exploits your weaknesses and moves strategically and it gives a good challenge but when it all comes down to luck its pointless how good the AI is, I’ve had a gene stealer walk through fire not one but two times before he dropped dead, and most stupid of all is when I miss at point blank range not one not two but 6 god damn times, bolters will jam countless times way more than they should and the assault cannon can even blow up in your face killing you , why would they even cary such equipment into battle, these are suppose to be blood angels ? They’re barely the neighborhood watch.
And all these problems and more arrive when you play the point defense mission, believe me this is a rage quit territory for even the most stubborn of individuals, I’ve heard about people uninstalling because of this level and I really can’t blame them, and I know what you’re thinking, come on your complaining on a luck factor on board game remake, yeah I am because if it brings the hole game down it shouldn’t be in the game and all role-players have stories about catastrophic blotches of dice throws its part of the culture but when it happens more often than not, then its just poor game design and it isn’t fun, and even if you do pass all the missions all you really get at the end is a voice over like the ones you have always gotten, no final cut scene or anything.
Multiplayer, well it’s a board game right? What’s the point of playing a board game alone? Well multiplayer is completely and utterly uninspired and boring, you can control the gene stealer’s which is fun for about 5 minutes, oh and forget about playing online there’s no way unless you have a friend to play with, I opened the lobby created a game and opened a book and even then I couldn’t find a match, its deader than colonial marines, and if you play all the problems from the campaign are still there and you still play all the levels from the campaign no custom multiplayer matches, no terminator vs. terminator, no capture the flag, no progression system or anything that makes this multiplayer worthwhile, it isn’t even fun I played 2 games before I got bored with it and we both gave up.
The graphics? well they are pretty good, the settings were detailed and they had their differences to avoid the same look for everything, the sound design was good with great ambient noises and everything else was good, the voice actors all two of them were pretty good, animations felt smooth and you felt both the weight of the terminators and the creepiness of the gene stealer’s, the melee attack animations are Alright and I felt like the shoulder camera was actually a brilliant addiction adding the immersion, the action cam was hit and miss, sometimes it was awesome and other times struggled with the tight corridors, on performance levels the game ran pretty well and I only had one or two glitches happen to me, thought the multiplayer had more bugs and glitches than the single player, the graphics options fail to give us any real options and give us stuff like, fast, fastest, beautiful, fantastic, okay first of all we know how to handle graphic options and advanced options should be mandatory, and second don’t call your own game beautiful in game leave that for the marketing.
I wanted to like this game I really did, but all these problems get in the way of the fun you can have with, there’s really no reason to play it besides it being a welcome change of pace from all the fast competitive games we’ve been getting but there’s definitely no reason to buy it at 28 bucks, maybe if the price drops and you’re a war hammer fan you might want to consider picking this game up, otherwise sorry space hulk but it seems you dishonored your brothers and you have failed the emperor.
Man I miss Dawn of War 2.
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