Do you have a death wish? Well, you’ve come to the right place! I present you Space Hulk: Deathwing *cough* Enhanced Edition and by the way, the cough is silent. A game set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe and based upon the turn-based strategy tabletop miniatures board game Space Hulk but in glorious Unreal Engine 4 as a first-person class-based shooter. A game so devastatingly fun that I wasn’t able to let it go until my ears bleed out from all those echoing gunfire.
You set off as a member of the Dark Angels’ Deathwing Company known as the Librarian a character that has the ability to use devastating psychic attacks from lightning, fire to even bend space at will as well as a dozen of massive weapons from auto-cannons, plasma launchers, flame throwers, melee weapons and the like but only for the main campaign. And speaking of main campaign, it felt a bit short and lacking. Tasked with eliminating the enemies hived within, a batallion of space marines converge into the Space Hulk, a wreckage of the old. There we find the secrets that lies within these dark corridors and uncover the plans of the genestealers. Coincidence? I think not!
While I do enjoy gunzerking the enemies from within the Space Hulk, at the same time, I felt way too limited in terms of movement in this claustrophobic environment that only changes ever so slightly as I moved from one map to the other after each chapter. Considering the fact that it was made from a strategy-based board game it felt a little bit short on strategy bits as I see myself running from one end to the other without any care for sealing doors as I smash it to bits with my FISTS OF FURY!!! While gracefully tiptoeing my way to the next objective. And unlike next-gen console games that has more mechanics than it needs to be this simply lacks what I expected for a game based on strategy. Take cover? Fuck that! I’ve got a really bulky Tactical Dreadnaught Armour FFS! Ladders? Too heavy, sadly! Hide? Too massive to fit two. (LOL) Run? Sure let’s do that and only that!
Aside from all those decision making options which is mostly just running and smashing, the fact that your AI squad doesn’t have a brain for themselves is one thing I can’t forgive. For the love of god! Heal you fucking donkey! Although the radial menu is at the very least manageable on the controller I would’ve preferred if there was an option to make your apothecary (the healer-focused class) focus on healing after a member drops to a certain health threshold as more often than not I get too engrossed in smashing heads and blasting asses before they could violate my face that I would soon realize I’m alone with a pile of corpses at my wake.
But possibly one of the good parts of the game is exploration as each and every map consist of tons of corridors and open rooms to explore and to find hidden relics casually tucked in a room filled with other useless gunk. Although the thing that really pulls me back to the game time and time again is the customization options from skins, banners, perks, armor modifiers and fully-customizable weapon loadouts that can be earned by doing special missions from the main menu. This feature allows players to jump back in with procedurally-generated missions to earn experience and valour in a team with your non-trustworthy AI companions from within the main campaign. Oh boy, GG! Although this time, you can change your character to the different classes in the game to make each and every sortie unique whenever you feel like it. And unlike the main campaign, there is no psygate to replenish and revive the fallen members whenever necessary. Death is coming! And it has WINGS!
And while I am unable to provide my experience towards multiplayer which is pretty much a “special missions” type of play with friends or pub, it does however feel like it might be a blast to play with a group of friends whether the teamwork sticks or flops entirely. Something that I have to try as the game goes live.
But moving on to what seemed like an eternity, we find ourselves with some random crashes here and there, as well as some minor stuttering at times, mostly when moving to new areas and fighting hordes of grotesque monsters in dark hallways and tight corridors. But aside from the stutters, the only real threat is the crash which for the most part only happened three times for the whole campaign and considering that the game does auto-save at certain times, it is however bearable if only the loading times were actually faster than I want it to be.
Graphics? Unreal Engine 4 baby! It’s crisp and packs a punch. Although I am not a fan of the sumo-wrestler kind of people, this is one made me want to reconsider as each and every character within the game has its charm and quirks although the environment itself is a bit too similar from start to finish it is one that can be forgiven for some well-crafted maps and the enemies that crawls from the walls or cracks in the floor that could surprise the unprepared.
A fun gunzerking experience and psychic blasting moments of epic proportions! One that I have enjoyed from start to finish despite the lackluster story and patriotic efforts to the chapter. Dying? No thank you! Stutters and crashes won’t stop me from playing even if I have to crawl my way with the loading times which are rather longer than what I want but not enough to brew some coffee. Now if there’s something I could change, its custom button layouts instead of having two presets which only switches the use of the left and right thumbsticks. Although custom button assignments for the DS4 Controller itself was enough as I only wanted to switch the L3 (sprint) to an L1 (parry). As I have never even parried a single attack ever during the main campaign when I’m always tactically retreating every step of the way. Whether that’s a good thing or bad is up to you. And if there’s one thing I’m quite sure about, it’s well worth it with tons of replay value whether you like playing co-op or alone in the couch with some potato chips on the side within a dark and confined room or maybe even just a regular room will do, your call baby!