Space Hulk Review: Warhammer 40k Tactics

Space Hulk Title CardSpace Hulk Quote GraphicSpace Hulk Info GraphicWhat it is about:   “”WE ARE THE VANGUARD OF HONOUR. THE CUTTING EDGE OF THE BLOOD ANGELS. WE BRING DEATH.” The legendary Space Hulk returns to Windows PC and Mac in this epic turn based strategy game. Set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, an intriguing story of legendary battles and heroic actions unfolds. Play as a small squad of fearless Space Marine Terminators who attempt to reclaim their honor by mounting an assault on a derelict space hulk infested by hordes of vicious tyranid Genestealers.

Take control of the Adeptus Astartes of the Blood Angel chapter and guide them towards glory, while battling fierce Xenos and uncovering ancient relics in the infested confines of the massive Space Hulk named “Sin of Damnation”. The game is a 3D digital turn based strategy game that recreates the classic claustrophobic board game experience in both singleplayer and multiplayer.”

About Full Control:  Full Control is a small but dedicated independent game development studio based out of Copenhagen, Denmark. Full Control specializes in creating high quality tactical turn based strategy games for PC, Mac and mobile platforms using the Unity engine.

Screen Shot 2013-10-31 at 7.00.42 PMThe Looks:  The game looks and feels like any game that is recent and has been set in the Warhammer 40k universe.  Though not graphically intense its Warhammer esthetic makes it enjoyable.

What You Hear:  Gunshots, hammer smashes, roars, and the sound of heavy clunking feet.  It is not the most inspired when it comes to sound design.  There is virtually no music.  I found myself playing the game with my own music on.

Controls/Gameplay:  Simple controls, mouse clicks to target and activate.  WASD to move the camera around RTS style, mouse wheel to zoom-in.

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The Enjoyment:  Space Hulk is a fun game despite its shortcomings.  The game is faithful in its representation of the card game and the Warhammer 40k universe.  The problem is, it just doesn’t do anything very interesting with it.

The story is largely forgettable.  You are simply trying to purge the Genestealers from an abandoned and lost in space ship.  The story is told through each mission, by detailing what your mission objective is.  The game ends with a VO of text as you finish the last mission, disappointing.

I loved the touch of having a first person camera view of what the selected unit sees, a nice creative touch.

There are some problems with using certain units.  Never ever let any enemy enter into close quarters combat with any of your units as they have a high chance of dying every time.  One of your best moves is the Overwatch ability, which allows you to hold corridors and automatically fire at moving enemies.  I thoroughly enjoyed putting two Terminators back to back to hold a corridor.  This was where the game excelled.  The tactics of the game are not terribly deep as you are pretty much forced to complete each mission one way.  However once you realize the limitations of the game, it allows you to more enjoy it sticking to its structure.  Escort missions were fun in how they change the tactics you were previously using.  You will come to love certain units such as the heavy flamer, and the librarian.  The librarian uses psionic abilities allowing you to block corridors, and destroy up to four units with ranged abilities.

One of the major issues that I had with the game was that when I failed a mission it did not indicate to me what I did wrong.  This caused me to either play the mission several times to complete, and for one instance looking up a video to see how to proceed, which I hate having to resort to doing.

Screen Shot 2013-10-31 at 7.01.23 PMOne of the other issues is how agonizingly slow the game is to respond to what you do.  Making each game last way longer than is necessary.  This becomes a larger problem when it comes to multiplayer, as a single mission can last over fifty minutes plus.

Multiplayer brings its own set of problems.  In multiplayer one person plays as the Terminators while the other player takes on the role of the Genestalkers.  The game does not help the player with understanding how to use and play as the Genestalkers.  Common problems during multiplayer included occasional lagging out, gameplay taking forever, and the serious confusion of how to best utilize the Genestalkers.  They could have alleviated that by having a few missions where you control the Genestalkers during the campaign.

While playing multiplayer I made a friend.  We played several games and worked through trying to figure out how to play the Genestalkers.  It was fun playing through each single-player mission in multiplayer with someone else who was struggling to figure out playing as the Genestalkers as well.

Space Hulk has its problems and issues but there is a nice nugget of fun inside worth playing.  Plus if you can find another to play though the missions in multiplayer you will have a lot of fun.  Space Hulk is one of those titles where you see where it can go next and hope that they can learn and grow from the first game and make that awesome sequel that Space Hulk deserves.

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What Could Make It Better:  More variety in the maps and color palate.  Actual music, and more noises.  More varied animations.  Speed up the games response time.  A story worth getting behind and a true conclusion, not a text ending.

The Good:  Faithfully represents the card game and the Warhammer 40k universe.

The Bad:  Not enough variety in set pieces and tactical options.  Slow reaction from the game will make matches last twice as long.

The Ugly:  Glitches hinder gameplay, not knowing why you failed a mission.

Who is the game for?  Anyone who is a fan of the Warhammer 40k universe, and enjoys tactics.

Space Hulk Verdict Graphic

Purchase the game on Steam here.

Check out the Space Hulk website here.

Check out Full Control’s website here.


2 thoughts on “Space Hulk Review: Warhammer 40k Tactics”

  1. I`m a huge Space Hulk fan, but even a die hard like me was seriously let down by the quality of this game. Yes GW please release titles for online gaming but make sure the game is good before you sell off the rights because it lets your fans down.
    This game could of been soooo much more given a little thought !

    1. Yeah like I say in the review, you can see that there can be a good game out of this. Its enjoyment is short-lived as is the length of the game. The best W40K games are the ones from Relic, both the squad based RTS, and the 3rd person shooter Space Marine. I wanted to like the game more, it is unfortunate that Games Workshop does not make better choices.

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