Friday, January 13, 2017

Review - Space Hulk DeathWing

I was hoping for DeathWing to become the Vermintide for Warhammer 40k, but sadly that wasn't the case. Space Hulk DeathWing is far from the co-op survival games and is more or less just another First-Person Shooter. DeathWing is developed by Streum on Studio and Cyanide. It is published by Focus Home Interactive.


Visually DeathWing looks good, I can't really complain about anything here. The graphics are done very well and are powered by the Unreal Engine 4. Space Hulk DeathWing looks awesome, they nailed the grim-dark atmosphere of Warhammer 40k. The art work and detail in every map is just absolutely amazing. This is one thing that the developers got right. Though DeathWing does suffer from some performance issues, which were really bad at launch, but a patch was released to fix them. Even with the patch, the game can get sluggish when there is a lot of things going on.


Another area that the developers did very well. The voice acting and sounds add to the atmosphere of the game. Space Marines sound like just as you would expect a Space Marine to sound in the Warhammer 40k universe. The music adds to the tension when loads of Xenos come rushing at you. Though, when walking around there is not much music playing. It only shows up during high octane action areas. The sound effects are pretty spot on to how the guns sound when they shoot and the steps you take in your Terminator armor. I really didn't have much complaint about the sound work in Space Hulk Deathwing. It works for the game.


Now here is where things start to fall apart in DeathWing. You have two options when you start up the game, play the single-player campaign or play multiplayer online. The real meat and potatoes here is the single-player. The Multiplayer is lacking in every way. I'll get to that in a minute, lets start things off at the single-player section.

Single-Player starts you off as a Librarian of the Dark Angels 1st company of Space Marines. You are accompanied by two other Space Marines, who are your AI driven brother in arms. This is all fine and dandy at first but after a few chapters you realize they are just there to keep you alive. You cannot give them anymore weapons other then the basic weapons. Your only choice is to have one guy heal, which he cannot use any other weapon then the Bolter for the rest of the game, and the other Space Marine becomes the Heavy Support. But in reality you find out that there is no classes either. The Heavy Support can die as fast as you or your healer. They are both the same, except one can heal and the other can use slightly more weapons. This makes for very basic cannon fodder AI buddies, but god forbid you lose the healer. You can't survive with out the healer.

The only person who gets upgrades is you, the player. You unlock more weapons and skills as you progress through the single-player campaign. Most of the weapons you unlock your other AI buddies can't use, which really sucks. I ended up just leaving them the same when I first started the game, the other weapons they could use didn't help me much. At the end of each chapter you get three skill points to put into three skill trees. One deals with psyker abilities, which are really cool and help a lot, the other two trees deal with utility and survival. Choose wisely, because once you save your choice you can't undo them later. As nice as that sounds, it really only makes you the stand out character. The other two Space Marines that follow you around are the same as when they started. I really wish Space Hulk DeathWing had more options for your AI buddies. Allow more weapons to be used or even classes such as a tank, healer, etc. But no, you are stuck with the same options since the beginning of the game for them.

As far as gameplay goes in Space Hulk DeathWing, it is pretty basic. DeathWing has been compared to Left 4 Dead and Killing Floor, but I don't see that. The Xenos are pretty much the same except for a few. You have your cannon fodder Tyranids, Melee Tyranids, and then Tank Melee Tyranids. Some of the Tyranids can spit at you or become invisible but I didn't see much of a difference in combat style from them. I noticed the cannon fodder (human/tyranid hybrids) would shoot weapons at you and the others just did nothing but Melee. Unlike Left 4 Dead or Killing Floor where the zombies or zed each had a purpose and you had to use different tactics to fight them. In Space Hulk DeathWing the Tyranid can be smashed to death or shot and either way didn't matter, no tactics involved just point and shoot. Except for the Tank Melee Tyranids (BroodLords), these require more tactics then the others because they can pretty much kill you quickly and take a lot of hits to bring down. That is why I say this game is more of a First-Person Shooter with spats of Xenos rushing at you every now and again till you reach the end of the chapter. All you have to do is point and shoot, and that tactic will be enough to get you through the campaign.

Of course you would think you would be able to have more say in your tactics in Multiplayer, right. Wrong, Multiplayer is just the single-player with none of the progression saved. Yup, you heard right. Each time you play online your skills start all over again. Whats the point if you are just going to be starting from the beginning each time you play online with your friends. No progression, no loot, nothing. A huge opportunity missed here. It could have been the Vermintide of Warhammer 40k or fun like Left 4 Dead and Killing Floor. But no, the real game is the single-player.


The story in Space Hulk DeathWing is the only interesting thing that kept me going through the campaign. What happens is a Space Hulk appears out of the warp and the Deathwing, the Dark Angels Elite Space Marines, are sent to investigate. As soon as you arrive the Librarian, played by you, gets visions of something within this Space Hulk. As you fight your way through the chapters you discover what that something is and what must be done for the good of man kind. If you like Warhammer 40k, then the story will be interesting, but if you are new to Warhammer 40k it might fly over your head. Space Hulk Deathwing misses a big opportunity to lore dump on you. It is like the developers forgot to put in information about the universe of Warhammer 40k. They just assume you know everything and can follow along.


Space Hulk DeathWing is a game made for the fans of Warhammer 40k. They got the art, atmosphere, and sound design right. But from there the game pretty much falls apart and just becomes a basic First-Person Shooter that tries to be like other co-op survival games. Multiplayer is useless and single-player is the only thing worth playing. If you can stand the mindless hordes of Tyranids coming at you again and again till the end of the game, and with no explanation of the lore in this amazing universe.

Final Rating

2 out of 5 - OK Game.

Space Hulk DeathWing is currently available on Steam and in 2017 to Xbox One & PS4.

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