When I first viewed a trailer for Space Hulk: Deathwing, I was very intrigued by it. The brutality and different weapons in the game looked to offer some interesting gameplay. After getting to play not only the beta, but the full version, my expectations were shattered, and not in a great way. Space Hulk: Deathwing is a first person shooter based on the classic board game where it gets it’s namesake. For full disclosure, I have never played Warhammer 40k growing up, so for what this game was supposed to represent, I had no basis of.
You take control of a unit called the Librarian, who has access to different weapons and abilities to destroy his enemies. The potential for what this game could be is huge. There is ability progression, different weapons to unlock and a multiplayer mode. Unfortunately this is all bogged down by tired mechanics and almost game-breaking bugs.
First we will talk about the single player experience in Space Hulk: Deathwing. When opening up the game, you are thrown into a tutorial which thoroughly explains the different mechanics in the game. The HUD looks and feels almost unfinished and tiring. Some of the text looks like basic fonts that don’t match up with the rest of the HUD. The Librarian is equipped with a main weapon and a secondary weapon. There are plenty of weapons to unlock as you go on, though I couldn’t get the opportunity to unlock them. The combat is pretty basic FPS style, shoot, zoom and shoot and use your secondary weapon. The Librarian also has access to some nice abilities through three different skill trees.
The ones you get right off the bat are a lightning strike and a force blast move. These seemed to come in handy whenever I ran into a pack of enemies. The fact that you could take limb damage was pretty unique, having to strategically play so you don’t lose functionality of either of your weapons was a nice touch. In the single player you have a couple squad members that follow you around and fight with you. You also get a teammate that heals you on command.
Moving throughout the map felt clunky and almost stiff. The sprint meter seemed to refill at a snail’s pace, which became a bother when navigating the maps. Speaking of navigating the maps, during the first mission it took what felt like forever to come into contact with the enemy AI. With the diversity of weapons and abilities you would think that the combat would be a little more interesting. This presumption was wrong as the combat got dry overtime, with rinse and repeat mechanics. Sometimes stuff like this can be easy to look past and even sometimes get used to, as long as there weren’t any graphical errors. Now, I don’t have the highest quality computer, but it is pretty high up there right now. With the game running on medium-high I still experienced near game breaking bugs. After a couple of crashes, that was enough to make me stop playing the game. The multiplayer has been basically unchanged from the beta, aside from adding more levels and items to the game. You can find out what I thought about the multiplayer here.
I didn’t understand much of the story, as stated above, I was never really into the 40k universe. A lot of the terms and phrases went over my head and got lost. As I’m sure the story is very accurate and done very well, it really didn’t do anything for me. Space Hulk: Deathwing has the potential to be a very well polished sci-fi, FPS game. With a little more work via updates and patches, I think it could reach its full potential. Combat in the game becomes stale even with the offering of plenty of different playstyles with new weapons and abilities. Space Hulk: Deathwing suffers more than it excels, which really brings it back from being great. If you are a die hard fan of the 40k universe I suggest picking this one up, if not, well you could probably avoid it.
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Review statement: The copy of the game was supplied by the developer for the sake of this review.