“Fancy a little Space Hulk Deathwing?”, ” Don’t Mind if I Do” has been a common turn of phrase for us recently.
We’ve been playing a little bit of Space Hulk Deathwing at Battle Brothers since it’s initial release on the 14th of December.
The game from Streum on studio and Cyanide Studio focuses on the 1st legion (The Dark Angels) as they come across a Space Hulk, infested with foul Xenos and send in the Deathwing to investigate. The game can be played as 4 player co-op or single player, where you order the AI controlled terminators around. I haven’t bothered with the single player version myself, but Ian has been playing it a little and is enjoying it. Where the game really shines though is in the 4 player cooperative mode, nothing better than meeting the alien with your terminator clad Battle Brothers!
First Impressions Upon Entering the Space Hulk
The game is beautiful, there is no denying that. Cyanide have expertly captured the look and feel of the Warhammer 40k universe. The interior of the ships that you explore are made up of many vast expanses, which at the same time feel very claustrophobic. Everywhere you look there are beautiful little details crammed into everything, something that someone not immersed in the universe could easily miss. But we generally feel the need to stop, take your our time and really soak everything in. This is a game that have been lovingly crafted by fans, and it clearly shows.
Space Hulk Deathwing was filled with bugs, and not just Genestealers…
Following the release, the game was plagued with a torrent of errors that unfortunately made it all but unplayable for some of us. Even when it worked and players weren’t dropping out of games, stuck at loading screens or just not able to join. We were met with in-game errors, things like not being able to attack, and no not due to your arms taking too much damage (which is a really cool feature). Rubber banding was also a huge issue, both ourselves and enemies would constantly bounce back and forward. Which somewhat interrupts your sense of immersion. It’s also really frustrating to be swinging or firing at a Genestealer and despite hitting it you can’t kill it due to the hit box being somewhere else.
It was frustrating to say the least, especially when we all have pretty good gaming machines. For the first week it seemed as though unless you had a super computer or when one of the lucky few that the game seemed to be optimised for your setup, it just wasn’t worth the time.
Our Faith in the Emperor Delivered Us
There was a bit of an outcry following the state of the game upon release, resulting in a number of negative reviews and a Mixed overall status on Steam. Most of these do point to the game being fun but buggy and that it will be better after they patch it. The Patch went live on Wednesday the 21st of December and sorted a number of these issues.
In all honesty, I don’t think the game deserves the overall status its got. These days it’s normal for a game to have some teething issues when it first launches. Even from bigger development studios. Hat’s off the the developers though, they acknowledged the issues that the community was having trying to play the game and were completely transparent and upfront about them. There still are occasional bugs following the patch but at least the game is playable now, and Throne of Terra! It’s good!
Weapon Loadouts & Terminator Classes
So far I’ve mainly been playing the Heavy Support class myself. The Assault Cannon and Plasma Cannons are firm favourites across our team. These iconic pieces of weaponry feel suitably destructive and both are adept at decimating waves of foul chittering xenos.
I like the limitations on the squad, there can only be one Medic and one Librarian. I haven’t played either personally but we usually have one of each in the unit. Their unique skills (especially the heal functionality on the medic) bring a lot to the game and make it a lot more fun. The medic drastically increases your chances of completing the mission, I would always advise having one.
We all avoided the Assault class early on, after all who would want to go toe to toe with multiple monstrosities. Especially having been brought up with tales of them easily being able to rip out a terminator’s spine! Admittedly I tried it last night “For the lolz” and although the lightning claws are decent, once you upgrade to the Thunder Hammer and Storm Shield you become an indestructible whirlwind of death.
Our Thoughts on Space Hulk Deathwing
As a massive 40k fan that is hugely into the lore, background and Warhammer 40k setting this game ticks a lot of boxes. I especially like how the development team have dealt with issues and the fact that they encouraged people to talk about the Beta, post up videos etc. I believe this is a very good sign, when most companies today make you sign a EULA and won’t allow reviews till after the game is released, mainly due to the fear that such information will hurt sales.
That all said there are a few gripes, nothing that I would really moan about, yes there are bugs but those are being dealt with. I just feel some things could be implemented better. For example, currently your terminator seems to reset to level one every time you start a new mission. I would like it a lot better if there was some form of character progression or weapon/load out customisation such as weapon attachments, skill power ups etc, there’s plenty that could be done. Especially when you look at similar 4 player co op games (the likes of Payday 2 comes to mind).
Personally, I would give Space Hulk Deathwing an 8 out of 10, it’s a lot of fun but there is certainly room for improvement.
Where to start, the best part by far in this game is the fact that you get to play as one of the emperors finest, the Adepts Astartes, the Angels of Death. A Space Marine.
The game is visually stunning to say the least. There is an oppressing atmosphere from the get go even though you are traversing a massive Space Hulk with rooms the size of Football fields. The developers have still managed to maintain a claustrophobic feel to the game with its narrow tunnels, walkways and dead ends.
This is a team game, where you will find yourself relying heavily on your Battle Brothers, fighting back to back as things heat up fast, shouting orders at your comrades “Firing” “Reloading” “Contact” , as enemies attempt to outflank you using air vents and service tunnels. Before you know it you will be surrounded by death and viscera, with enemy’s piling over the corpses of their comrades to get at you, with almost no thought for self preservation.
At the moment I’d give Space Hulk Deathwing an 8/10 the game does need to address some issues, in particular the leveling up system and loosing the weapons you have earned but there is a lot of scope for improvement.
When I first started playing, the first thing I noticed was how much detail the developers had put into creating the environment and maps of the game. Everything you see around you has a reason for being there or at least doesn’t look out of place in any way.
As for the gameplay, when I played my first few games I thought that it was rather slow but as I played more and with friends I found it to be hectic, badass good time. The one thing I wish was that you didn’t have to lose the items you have unlocked every time you want to play. If instead they had a system where eventually the unlocks are permanent to reward players, it would be better.
All in all as a somewhat newcomer to the 40K universe (never really played the tabletop game so the PC games are where my knowledge comes from) there is a lot to like in this game; tight corridors to fight back to back in, large open spaces to make you feel surrounded and variations in mission objectives. If you enjoy team games and bloody carnage then this is a game worth checking out.
I’d give Space Hulk Deathwing a solid 7.5 out of 10 as the game currently stands. If they can eliminate the current list of bugs and maybe play around with the unlock system or maybe even a loot system for new items then I don’t see why this game couldn’t make it closer to 10.
7.8 / 10