REVIEW – What if we took one of the flopped games of 2013 (there were a lot that year), Aliens: Colonial Marines, and move it over to the Warhammer 40K universe? We would get something similar to what Space Hulk: Deathwing can provide. Perhaps this is the reason why it ended up as forgettable?
Comparing the game with the xenomorphs doesn’t sound that dumb if you think about it: the W40K universe itself is effectively inspired by the Aliens movies, and let’s not forget about the 1993 game either. Space Hulk originally showed up on the PC and Amiga that year, four years after Games Workshop’s board game. Back in the nineties, Space Hulk meant this thing:
The base concept of Terminators killing enemies on large, abandoned space ships called Space Hulks might sound stupid because you can just get rid of everything with a nuke, which might just solve the situation altogether. However, the combat means everything that is under the Space Hulk banner. In Deathwing, if we play solo, we get two AI colleagues (which is following the 1993 concept) to give them some basic orders to get some tactical ground, too. We are taking control of a Librarian (no, not an old woman in her sixties), who also has some basic magic powers, so a Librarian can be considered as a mage to some extent. We start to run into the lack of concept by this point.
For me, it feels like Space Hulk has lost the direction and it felt like it has some identity crisis. With the cooperative aspect, Deathwing could have easily been the new Evolve, or hell, Left 4 Dead, but it lacks that spark that could cause the (positively) shocking, enjoyable experience. Instead, enemies just come and we don’t feel like being terrorized.
Weapon arsenal, or should I say, bug arsenal
Previously I mentioned our character in solo, and I need to bring up something else: the amount of weapons and magic skills is just not enough. After a while, I didn’t feel like sprucing up my choice of weaponry and just stuck to the Storm bolter altogether. Sure, you could now bring up that Space Hulk: Deathwing plays better with friends. Good point. Deathwing is fun with friends, but I have to ask: whose dumb idea was to reset your levels in the default cooperative mode every single time?
Things like this mistake feel like the game is just lacking polish in multiple aspects. It also felt like lacking optimization altogether going from solid sixty frames per second to as low as fifteen on a machine that almost fully reached the recommended specs on 1080p resolution. Despite the decent visuals, the peer-to-peer connection to your friends can destroy the experience.
This is a bug. There’s a few more, but I’d rather not spoil them all for you – there’s a few (?) more!
This game isn’t available on consoles yet, but if it ends up launching in this state, it’ll only be a 5/10 as the ambiance makes it a 6 in my eyes, and flopping on consoles would be almost a given. In coop, the game is good, the visuals are appealing, and the audio is alright, but in every other aspect, it feels unfinished and rushed. It just couldn’t decide whether it wants to be a solid clone of Left 4 Dead or a decent Aliens: Colonial Marines in a W40K setting. Therefore, it felt flat on its ass between the two chairs.
The missions are usually the repetitive fetch quests that will ask you to haul your ass to the other end of the map and then come back to the start, so the authentic setting/visuals don’t cut it. Space Hulk: Deathwing is only recommended for W40K fans. For everyone else, it’s alright… for ten bucks or so. If you don’t know anything about the franchise, the story won’t mean a lot to you, either…
+ Fanservice at its best
+ Aliens: Colonial Marines in a new setting
+ Feels decent in cooperative
– Lacks optimization, buggy, feels unfinished
– Why didn’t the devs focus on the co-op?
– The story will mean absolutely nothing to noobs in the W40K universe…
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Developer: Streum on Studio, Cyanide
Genre: Cooperative FPS
Release date: December 14, 2016 (PC)