Review: Space Hulk

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In the future there is only WAR!  Welcome to the realm of Warhammer 40KSpace Hulk was originally a board game based in this universe, and now it is getting a proper port-to-PC treatment thanks to developer Full Control. While it is not this IP’s first attempt to be brought to life via video game format, it is by far, hands down, the best effort any developer has ever put towards doing it justice.  Games Workshop is known world wide for it’s board, card, and miniature style games, so this really is a great IP for any developer to work with.

With the soon to be released Space Wolves DLC, now is the perfect time to invest in this game.  I know the cost tends to throw some people off, but you have to keep in mind that this is a board game, and if you went to the store to buy the board game, you would spend $99.99 USD.  Then you would have to put together each model, paint each model, and then after you got all of that done, you would still have to find a buddy to come over to the house to play it with you!  Full Control enables you to play with anyone in the world at your own pace, without having to set the board up each time you want to play.  So if you think about it in that context, the $29.99 USD price is a bargain!

30 Second Review

 + Ongoing and continued developer support.  Daily interaction with the player base.

+ Easy to learn gameplay with a solid tutorial.

+ Faithful adaptation from the board game to the PC.

– No multiplayer lobby currently.  (They are working to change that.)

– Easy AI

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Are you talking to me? I don’t think so!

Premise

You are following a Space Marine chapter known as Blood Angels.  The game takes place aboard a Space Hulk known as the Sin of Damnation.  Six hundred years prior, in the history of their chapter, 1,000 Blood Angels entered a Space Hulk, but only 50 made it out alive.  Fast forward 600 years, and they want redemption.  It’s about pride, honor, and reclaiming it!  They dispatched a response team, which included their entire first company with more than 80 veterans in full terminator armor regalia!  Yes, these are the Emperor elite, the bad mamajamas who plan to purge the galaxy of the xenos filth.

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Where are my Smore’s!

Gameplay

The gameplay is solid.  Sadly their is no controller support at this time, but the developers are working to add that feature to the game.  Your input would be classified as Keyboard & Mouse, however it’s really just a mouse driven game.

In the single player campaign, you will only be allowed to use Terminators.  You will not be creating your own squads, instead the map you are playing on will dictate which one of the two preconstructed squads you will have available to you.  On some maps you will use both squads.  Each Terminator is named and has its own individual and unique model.

A word of advice, overwatch is your friend.  Try to always remember to save a command point or two for clearing bolter jams.  I know in its present context, that advice doesn’t make much sense, but have no fear the tutorial will cover this information and more.  It really does go into great detail, providing all the information you need to know about the game mechanics.

In multiplayer mode, you will be able to choose your side; you can play as the Terminators or as the Genestealers.  This is the only opportunity you will have to play using Genestealers.  I kind of think this is a missed opportunity in a way; I really wish the developers would consider making either a Genestealer campaign or allowing you to replay the current campaigns from the Genestealers perspective.  I think this would add more depth to the game.  This faction is a popular faction that people within the community do enjoy to play.  They have a faster movement speed and are brutal in hand to hand combat.  A Genestealer gets to roll 3 dice and take the highest result, whereas a Terminator only gets to roll 1 die.  They completely lack range combat.  If you’re going to play using the Genestealers, you will have to learn how to maneuver down the corridors and utilize the environment to your advantage.

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Don’t forget to turn off Dynamic Lighting!

Things to Note in the Options Menu

Audio options consist of 4 sliders.  These choices are Music, SFX, Ambient, & Voice.

You have the standard video resolutions and can also adjust the quality of the graphics that are rendered.  You can adjust the settings to run this game if you are using an older video card.  I would advise to uncheck Use Dynamic Lights.  This option will really put your GPU to work, increasing the use of your system resources, and that decreases the available RAM you will be able to access.  This can prove to be very taxing for older systems.  It has a Gamma slider that you will be able to conveniently adjust according to your tastes.

If you leave the Terminators in their default speed of Normal, they are going to move quite slow.  I would recommend increasing their movement speed between Fast or Very Fast.

If you made the decision to purchase any of the available Genestealer skins this is where you activate them.  While the skins work for both the single player campaign and multiplayer, don’t expect to show off your favorite Genestealer skin to the human opponent you are facing.  Sadly your Terminator foe will only see the skin he or she chose to display in their own options menu.  I feel this is a missed opportunity.  Typically when you purchase a skin pack you get to flaunt your style to the other players allowing your character to have a more personal touch.

You can also turn on or off the Shoulder Camera option; basically in the upper right hand corner of your screen you have a little mini screen that shows you a detailed first person perspective of what your character is looking at.  Nice touch, but it’s purely in there just for aesthetics.  I would recommend turning it off to increase your immersion into the game.

Last but not least there is a Space Marine Timer that you can turn on or off.  The board game uses the timer, but if you are new to the game, I would highly recommend turning it off until you feel a bit more comfortable with it, or you can be like me, and just leave it off.  I won’t deny that I would prefer not to watch a 2 min warning clock quickly countdown.

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Every meal is a banquet, every paycheck a fortune, every formation a parade! I love the core!

Five Point Highlight

1.) I can’t stress enough that Full Control took every aspect of the board game, and they brought it to life in a video game.  It is so hard to find a company that will do a proper adaptation of a board game.  A developer being as faithful as this to the lore of their subject matter is a rare find.  They actually care about the product and are doing their very best to be true to the source material.  Not only do I commend them for that as a reviewer, but as a gamer, I appreciate it also!

2.) Attention to detail!  Games Workshop models are extremely and in some cases painstakingly detailed when you go to paint these by hand.  If you were to compare actual miniatures Games Workshop has released to their video game counterparts, there is no deviation; no flaw!  I’ve played countless games that are Warhammer 40K or Warhammer Fantasy licensed on consoles and PC, and let me tell you, hardly any of them even bothered to come this close; these guys absolutely nailed it!

3.) Even if you’ve never played Space Hulk before and are worried that it’s going to be difficult to learn how to play, fear not; this game is presented in a user friendly interface, and the tutorial gets the job done!

4.) Single Player Campaign and Multiplayer!  I’ll be honest; it took me a little bit to warm up to the idea of asynchronous gameplay, but now that I have, man I wish everything that was 1v1 would be asynchronous!

5.) Full Control is continually working with the community and doing their best to improve the game to make the best Space Hulk game they can make!

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Why is it every time we order pizza the neighbors think block party!

Five Drawbacks to the Game

 1.)  Currently the Multiplayer has no lobby.  They are working towards adding one, but at the moment, it is definitely a drawback.  In order to find someone to play with, you’ll either have to add them to your in-game friends list or just randomly search for an opponent.

2.)  Speaking of friends list, as the game is a multi-cross platform game, the developer opted to use their own user list to find other players.  Your Steam friend list has been excluded because of this.  In order to play with someone, you’ll have to add them using the e-mail address they used to create their Space Hulk account.  I have an idea though: when you create a game, you already have the option of searching for a random opponent or choosing someone from your friend list.  I wonder if they could add a third option that would allow you to search using your Steam friend list.

3.)   Do not use the always online match search feature.  This feature currently doesn’t work the way it’s suppose to, and even the developers have advised using only asynchronous for now.

4.)   The AI is fairly easy.  If you play this game on its Hard mode, it will actually feel more like a Normal challenge.  That being said, the multiplayer mode where you play against another human person is where your going to be really challenged.  I would use the campaign to acclimate yourself to the game, controls, and rules.  Then when you’re up for the challenge find an opponent in multiplayer!

5.)  Some of the mission maps are a little easy, but you have to keep in mind, this is based straight off the board game.  It uses the campaign maps from it, so no fault lies with Full Control there, because they did a faithful adaptation.  There are more campaigns that you can purchase in the form of DLC, and some of them are quite a bit more challenging!

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I love the eyes in this scene!

The Verdict:

Space Hulk scores a 9 out of 10!  The only reasons it is a 9 and not a 10 is because of the multiplayer issues and the lack of controller support.  I know they are working towards fixing these issues, and once they do, this game is easily a 10, but for now I have to give it a 9.

Space Hulk is a great and wonderful board game adaptation to PC, and I stress that point again, because everyone needs to understand that essentially this is a board game.  A highly enjoyable experience!  However, I understand that this isn’t going to be for everyone.  If you are a Games Workshop fan, then you should definitely purchase it.  It is the best Space Hulk video game I’ve played to date.  You don’t have to be a fan of Games Workshop to fall in love with this title though.  If you enjoy turn-based strategy games like XCOM: Enemy Unknown, then this game very well may be right up your alley!

Also as an added bonus, Space Hulk does include Steam Trading Cards.  I have the level 5 badge for this game, and I must say it looks pretty sweet!  It is one of the badges that I am proudly displaying on my own profile.

Full Control is doing an awesome job, and they are very involved and communicative with their player base.  Don’t believe me?  Just go to the Space Hulk Steam forums and look at the daily contact that they have with the community.  It’s a nice and wonderful thing to witness, and I appreciate their efforts in making the game the best that they can make it.  They are doing a wonderful job!  In the rumor mill, there are murmurings that we could be seeing Full Control do Gorkamorka next, which is another Games Workshop board game.  I would love to see what Full Control would do if they did gain access to this IP.  They have certainly proved they would be able to pull it off!

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