Warhammer 40, 000 Eternal crusade is a massive multiplayer set in the Warhammer 40K universe. The game has been through a couple of processes such as its original alpha build but now currently is available on PC platforms. There are plans for the game to make its way onto the current generation consoles (Xbox one and PlayStation 4) however this will probably not be for some time.
Since the game is a pure multiplayer experience there really is no story. Currently there are four races you can play as. These are Elders, Orks, Space marine and Chaos Space marine. For those who do not know a lot about Warhammer 40k lore the Elder are an alien race with the fondness of using psychic powers and look vaguely human. There pretty much space elves. The Orks are the classic green brutish things you are used to in games that have ridiculously immense psychic abilities to the extent they could blow up a planet just by thinking about it but are too stupid to realise it. You will often hear them before you see them with their fondness of shouting WAAAAGGGGGGGHHHHH! Space marines are giant genetically enhanced human beings coated in massive armour and extremely loyal to the one emperor and Chaos space marines are space marines that have turned heretical and enjoyed the benefits of the warp (a strange kind of place that is pretty much hell).
With these races being pretty different I was surprised how little they differed in playability with the only real difference being in playing as the elders which felt very squishy and low on health. Personally, playing mainly elder but occasionally space marine the only real difference I found was with the classes that you could choose. These include the majority of the types in each race like the howling banshees, fire dragons and warlocks within the Elders or the apothecaries and standard bolters of the space marines. All of these were pretty well done with the play style of each feeling very different and it really feeling like you did belong to each of the unit’s chapters. The main issue I did have with the game can simply be put down to how the game seems to give the player information in the game. By this I do not mean lore on a species or why certain races hate each other and why everyone hates tyranids but I mean just in general. The game has a garrison level with an explorative map with dark souls-esk hint writing areas which you can press for it to tell you something you can do. This I suppose gives the player plenty of time for themselves to get acquainted with the controls but with targets that do not move and present no threat what so ever it feels incredibly boring. This and some of the instructions are easily miss-able and not particularly helpful which makes the tutorial feel a tad bit frustrating. I still have no idea how to cling to a wall with a swooping hawk and had to switch from the controller controls to the keyboard controls to switch positions in a vehicle. That being said using the controller, I felt the controls were very well set out and quite easy to learn. But, the lack of information does not stop with the tutorial as I found other issues with the customization and advancement options. In both of these you can customise your classes by either buying new gear or by advancing one of the classes via advancement points that you earn after each battle. But, with all of these it seems pretty unclear to what these bonuses actually contribute to your character and all the gear seems very limited. Again, this being said, all the gear available does feel very in line with the 40k universe.
There are currently two main modes available which are great big battles/skirmishes which are large 40- 60 to 30-40 players in combat to take or hold objectives and a horde like mode where as a team of five you have to complete certain objectives while being pestered by tyranids. Both these modes are done really well and are really enjoyable with the great big battles feeling like you are really warring against another race. My personal favourite of these domination based gameplays is a variation were the defenders have a set amount of lives that are used when the defenders respawn and are distributed over two objectives to defend. If one of the objectives is captured the capture time the attacking force has to capture points is expanded and the lives stored there are lost. This gives a real conscious effort not to die and presents the player and team as a whole with really important decisions – do we let them take A and save on the respawns when things are looking bad or do we press on and try and hold it for the last couple of minutes even if there are no spawns left. It makes the games battles feel more like a skirmish within a war then each battle being a separate thing in itself playing to the whole “there is only war” that the series is known for.
The game looks as good as you would expect being set in a universe where there is only war with very ruined metallic rocky terrain. The sound effects used and soundtrack used for the atmosphere really makes each game feel like a big epic fight. The execution animations also will always make you risk it as much as possible to get that signature kill with your races class’s character and feels very right. But, it would be nice to see a lot more varied maps to play on.
Overall the game plays in a fun way but feels very unfinished with a lot of the basic combat mechanics working well but being rather hard to figure out what there actually doing. This produces a problem in how to use things like gear and advancement points to adjust it to a way you like to play. The game feels like an un-finished version of what I wanted Star Wars battlefront to be. It also feels it still is very much in its Beta stage and hopefully it will be improved before it will move to consoles. Not to say it is currently boring as the few game modes are very well done and extremely fun to play and the game itself feels at its core like a great 40K game. This may mean that if you’re a fan of the 40k series you will get more out of it but it is still a good massive multiplayer shooter. You just maybe want to wait until it is a lot more finished. So I suppose I better get back to it, here’s a great quote on what the game feels like in its most epic moments – “the wind whipping across your face as your blades whip across the throats of the foe. It makes the blood sing.”