Space Hulk [Review]

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Aug
28
2013

The enduring legacy of Games Workshop’s popular franchise Warhammer 40,000 had enjoyed quite the upsurge, thanks to video games based off the grim darkness. Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War, its sequel, and Space Marine were a great look into the lore, opening the floodgates to new fans throughout the mid-to-late 2000′s. With a Warhammer 40K MMO in the works and the Dawn of War’s future unsure for the most part due to Relic Entertainment now being a property of Sega, releasing this game may sate the thirst of WH40K fans

Space Hulk is the name of Warhammer 40K’s most popular board game. Warhammer 40K itself is a tabletop miniatures game that’s currently at its sixth edition, and Space Hulk was one of its spin-offs. There had already been two previous video game incarnations of the board game, the first Space Hulk video game being released back in 1993 by EA for the PC and Amiga. Then there was Vengeance of the Blood Angels for the PC, PlayStation, Sega Saturn, and 3DO. If you still remember what those platforms were, or have even played them, then it’s safe to say that you are quite old by now, especially if you are Warhammer 40K fans. It also means that it would be safe to proceed with this particular game.

As a video game adaptation developed by Danish studio Full Control ApS, this does well enough when it comes to the basics. Like the board game, this is a two-player game wherein two armies clash, one being the Blood Angel Terminators, and the other being Tyranid Genestealers. The Blood Angels need to get to the other side of the map, while the Genestealers are there to kill them all. Everything is set in one of the titular gigantic ships that litter the warp, the Space Hulk.

The Blood Raven Space Marines’ main goal is to survive the threat of the Tyranids, whose only purpose is to devour everything in its path. The map plays a major role in the asymmetrical strategy in Space Hulk, especially with how differently each unit moves in the game. Terminators aren’t very mobile and advance slowly across the map, but they have ranged weapons to keep enemies at bay, while the Genestealers are the exact opposite of this.

There are a good number of things wrong with this game though. For instance, the interface in Hotseat mode makes it just downright unplayable. The enemy AI is also pretty bad, so you’ll need to play against other humans in multiplayer to truly get the most of the gameplay experience.

It’s also not a very visually pleasing game as the graphics seem rather rudimentary for something released in 2013. The initial release is also quite glitchy and full of other technical faults, as if it didn’t get much QA and was rushed out the door. It even has typographical errors, which looks bad for a western game. There are also some weird framerate issues that are present even in the most powerful of gaming PCs, so there’s something wrong with its guts.

There are only 12 missions in singleplayer to play through, and there is no way to create and load custom missions. Perhaps the one thing that could save it in terms of replay value is the faithful Warhammer 40K community, so it was definitely a missed opportunity. Perhaps the developers were in too tight of a schedule to consider adding these features. If they’re thoughtful enough though, they could add them through a DLC, but chances are rather slim.

Perhaps this is better on the iPad than on the PC, but that’s fully up to preference. For you to really like this game though, you better be one big Warhammer 40k fan to truly appreciate it. This is not a game to introduce to new fans of the franchise; that’s what Dawn of War 2 and Space Marine are for. You’ll still get more fun from playing the board game with some friends, but at the very least though, this game can serve as an entry point to boardgaming and Warhammer 40K for younger generations.

Tested in PC. Final Score: 6.5/10

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About Avoiderdragon

I'm a freelance writer and a borderline hardcore gamer. I contribute game reviews and other content here in CheatMasters for my fellow gamers.
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