Recently I had a look at the new ARPG from Neocore Games (who created the “Adventure of Van Helsing” series) which drops players in the Warhammer 40k Universe as members of the Inquisition as they roam around the Calagari sector purging it of chaos and Xeno threats. The build we got to play around was an alpha build so all opinions here are subject to change.
We got to play around with one of the classes, the crusader and had a few missions to play around with. The game itself boasts procedurally generated levels and missions and that is obvious from the missions I managed to play. The rooms fit together in a computational fashion and were filled with hundreds of enemies ranging from cultists and boyz to chaos marines, dreadnaughts and Ork Nobz and I got to fight a fair amount of them. I will say the alpha wasn’t well optimised but again and the alpha version of any game has maybe some of the systems and mechanics in place over making it look pretty, so I won’t talk about the graphical fidelity too much.
The levels weren’t too bad to play through and made sense in terms of layout as most of the levels shown here were Imperial factory spaces and space stations so they are mostly large corridors with large open spaces filled with machines which shows the procedural generation is working in a way that is logical instead of having areas that lead to nowhere with nothing in them. On the flipside of this the movement in this build was a bit clunky and slow which did make traversing the levels a bit more of a pain but that could have been down to optimisation or a design choice considering the power armour worn by the player. The shooting and abilities were click to activate and aim them and depending on the skills chosen and the weapon equipped will change on the fly. Grenades are a blast to use (excuse the pun.) Bodies do fly when caught in the blast and in typical 40K fashion, blood and gore is splattered on the walls and floor.
There is a cover system in the game which makes firefights more dynamic but when there are enemies that destroy cover or run at you then you do have to try and move around which does make some fights clunky but hopefully that will be altered later on. It is fairly rare to see a cover system in an ARPG like this but it seems what Neocore are doing is a lot of research into how the table top game of 40K and the role cover plays in that and implementing it here and with some adjustments it can work well. The weapon sets are quite satisfying to use especially when using the bolter class weapons which is what the space marines use and opening fire on a group of cultists is a good feeling and then pulling out lascannons or charging in with holy zeal with a power sword and a huge crusader type shield makes battles fun but a slap-fest in ARPG fashion when it comes to bigger enemies but the weaker foes are just cut down like nothing.
At this point in development some of the core systems are there but it does have a while to go and a lot of optimisation but once it’s cleared those hurdles then being able to join some friends and purge in the name of the emperor should be a lot of fun. The thing is what we’ve got here is a game from a developer with a pedigree of ARPG games and applying their years of knowledge of the genre that they kept alive to a setting that is a cornerstone of the entire sci-fi fandom. It needs to be baked for a bit longer but the game should be really fun later on down the line