Space Hulk: Deathwing is a Warhammer 40,000 First Person Shooter developed by Streum on Studio and published by Focus Home Interactive. The game is based on the old Space Hulk boardgame from the Warhammer 40,000 universe. Deathwing is a very Left 4 Dead styled game following in the footsteps of Warhammer The End Times: Vermintide. If you enjoyed that game or indeed Games Workshop titles in general you should enjoy Deathwing. In Deathwing you can expect to fight against swarms of disgusting aliens in indestructible Power Armour with a wide arsenal of futuristic weapons in the dark, claustrophobic corridors of a gothic styled spaceship.
In Deathwing you follow the exploits of a Librarian of the Deathwing, the 1st Company of the Dark Angels chapter. The Dark Angels are Space Marines, genetically altered super soldiers armoured in Power Armour that fight for the God Emperor of Mankind. The Deathwing are different from other Companies of Space Marines in that they all fight in ancient Terminator Armour, a far more powerful variant of standard Space Marine Power Armour. In the campaign you play as a Librarian, a Space Marine with the ability to manipulate the warp to their will to allow them to perform supernatural abilities. Your squad are deployed along with the rest of the company to a Space Hulk, a collection of space junk crushed into a giant ball by the power of the warp. Amongst this Space Hulk is an ancient Dark Angels ship that contains relics of the past and may reveal some dark secrets from the past…
Mechanics wise the game is very similar to Left 4 Dead and it’s predecessor Vermintide. You’ll have to fight hordes of Tyrannids in various levels. The levels aren’t very linear at all, instead Deathwing has opted for a clever assortment of corridors and tunnels, with objectives being dotted across the map this allows not only for several different paths to choose to get to your objectives but also you find yourself going through corridors you had been through previously as you would expect to on a real spaceship giving Deathwing that small extra sense of detail which I quite like. As a Librarian you control many different powers. These include Shockwave, sending a blast of energy around you to knock down your foes, Chain Lightning, a powerful shock of electricity that jumps from enemy to enemy, Spontaneous Combustion, which should speak for itself and Lion’s Shadow which allows you to teleport inside your enemy to make them explode. Deathwing allows you to equip a fair few weapons too, the starting weapon the Storm Bolter is a submachine gun that fires explosive rounds. Despite this it does feel like it lacks a bit of a punch against Tyrannids. The Assault Cannon however, is an entirely different story. This is much like a Storm Bolter only it’s a huge minigun and it feels like firing a herd of Elephants at your enemies. Then as for melee weapons The Force Sword is a swift Psychically infused sword that can quickly slice through Tyrannids.
The Power Fist, is the opposite to this as it allows you to slowly beat your enemies into a mulchy paste. There are other, more powerful weapons that can be unlocked later in the campaign too including Flame Throwers and Plasma Cannons. Many “relic” collectibles can also be found across the various missions in Deathwing, they grant you extra willpower (used for powers) and don’t really do much, but it does add an extra level to the gameplay. Speaking of powers, safe rooms work differently in Deathwing too. With Left 4 Dead, there would be a safe room at the start of the game and that’s it. In Deathwing you can teleport yourself to the safe room a few limited times each mission, to change up your loadout, likely to make up for how Terminators don’t pick up weapons on the battlefield. Each mission also comes with a detailed statistical analysis that tells you how many kills you have, how many were headshots/melee kills and other such things. Based on these you will be awarded up to 4 fervour points to spend in one of 4 skill trees to increase your effectiveness in combat. On top of all this, the story is co-written by Gavin Thorpe who has written many Warhammer 40,000 books including one of my personal favourites: Angels of Darkness. The game isn’t without a few problems, the release version isn’t optimised all that well and the game is a bit lacking in content, although being a Games Workshop title I’m sure that it’ll get padded out to no end with DLC in due time, and the game isn’t a full £60 AAA title so the lack of content is forgivable. Other than that the game plays well.
Overall the game is pretty good, despite the few optimisation issues I would recommend it to any Warhammer 40,000 fan. If you’re not a Warhammer fan however, this may not be the game you’ll want to introduce you into the series. Maybe play the tabletop first or one of the classic games *cough* Dawn of War *cough*.
As a final score I give Space Hulk: Deathwing a 7/10. An all round good game, although a bit lacking in content, is worth it’s price tag.