Space Hulk is the video game reincarnation of the classic Warhammer 40K board game of the same name. One of the first Warhammer games licensed outside if THQ in years, the developers of Space Hulk, Full Control, will surely be under pressure to do something special with the opportunity that they have been offered. Having had a look at the game and an interview with the developers at Rezzed this year, it looks like that is exactly what they have done.
Space Hulk is a different idea to the traditional Warhammer tabletop game. This was a separate 40K board game which gained quite a significant following from fans, but was a limited edition release. Full Control’s new PC adaptation of this game intends to throw new life back to its legacy and give fans and new players alike the chance to experience it in a new and shiny glory! Based inside a derelict space wreck, you take the fearsome Blood Angel Terminator Squad into the tight, dark and dangerous hallways and take on the force of the ferocious Genestealers. You must keep strategy at the forefront of your mind in order to safely navigate what could easily become a very claustrophobic tomb indeed should you fail to do so. With each member if your small squad having different abilities you must decide who to send where, how each of them can support the others and who is most important to keep alive…
The mechanics of Space Hulk bears a clear resemblance to other team-based strategies on the market, most notably maybe the incredibly popular XCOM. Turn-based strategy is a genre which is quickly re-emerging in the gaming marketplace, making this a perfect time for a game such as Space Hulk to make it name. The question of course from gamers will be “what makes Space Hulk any more special than the others?”, and this is something which we put to the creators of the game at Rezzed. Aside from the already significant fan base of the Warhammer franchise who are likely to show an interest in the game, they believed that there were unique features to Space Hulk which would attract the attention of newcomers and turn-based strategy fans. Firstly there is the unusual use of tight, closed spaces to fight in. Most strategy games will give an open enough area for players to use a variety of strategies to engage the enemy. Space Hulk is unique in its claustrophobic gameplay style which will really challenge players to come up with new ways of overcoming the odds which face them. The game is also much darker than many strategies, giving a real atmosphere of tension throughout play. The different classes and abilities of squad members will also challenge the strategic abilities of players as they navigate this mysterious and unnerving landscape.
There are several other unique and admirable features to Space Hulk which are worth noting. According to the creators, the campaign is based on actual campaign missions from the Space Hulk board game, specifically the Sin of Damnation hulk campaign, which is guaranteed to impress fans who are awaiting this release. There are a variety of multiplayer options in game, which include head to head and cooperative modes of play. A nice aesthetic feature of the game is a first-person should cam view which can be seen on the HUD. This gives a unique perspective for strategy games, showing exactly what can be seen by the selected unit as you command them. To go along with this, there is an impressive perspective for action in game, with intricate detail having been placed into combat visuals rather than units simply standing still and shooing straight. The whole game is from a closer viewpoint to our average strategy game, and visually this is fantastically done. Everything has been sharply detailed to give a wholly impressive finish to support the in-depth thinking which has gone into making a strategy to suit both traditional Space Hulk fans and those from outside of this world alike.
Nathan’s Final Thoughts:
Warhammer 40K was never the side of the game which captured me (back in the day I was all about LOTR, but that was some time ago now!). Space Hulk has really made me wonder why. The game looks fantastic, and for someone who usually prefers the more open, real-time strategy games I am really impressed by what I have seen and genuinely hope that I can get my hands on this game to have a crack at it. An entirely different turn-based strategy experience to other titles, and a good one too! I very much look forward to the release of Space Hulk, and going on Full Control’s previous releases such as Jagged Alliance I anticipate great things to come!
Charlie’s Final Thoughts:
EWING KNOWS HIS SHIT WHEN IT COMES TO TABLETOP 40K. After devoting half my life, 100% of my childhood pocket money and a solid 50% of my parents earnings I can say I have bought my way into the universe in the most spectacularly ADHD ridden way, buying units I liked the look of from all the armies and never actually having enough units to play.
What I did get to play was Necromunda, a small scale skirmish tabletop game that pitted tiny teams of units against each other in urban warfare. Here my impulsive nature was rewarded because of the scale of the game with 5v5 units being a seriously intense battle. I actually missed Space Hulk arguably but inexcusably because of my youth, a thing I rectified this weekend after an overly enthusiastic interview with the lovely Thomas Lund (CEO of Full Control) and maaaan is it great. The sheer panic and adrenaline high when things go wrong and the sheer excitement and brilliance when something miraculously goes right for me; make it an addictive experience. I now understand the hype surrounding the release of this title, and from what I’ve seen, it is much deserved. Good luck to the team at Full Control on the distant release and also on their current Kickstater for a more community driven Jagged Alliance.