Review: Space Hulk Ascension
Developer Full Control has returned with a vengeance. When Space Hulk released on August 15, 2013, there was much confusion as to what the game was suppose to be. A lot of people just didn’t understand it. The original game was a board game adaptation that was brought to PC and iPad, complete with multiplayer. However, a buggy launch with no multiplayer lobby, and backlash for being too much of a straight board game adaption and not enough of a “video game” plagued Space Hulk.
Instead of taking all that consumer feedback negatively, Full Control took a different approach. They set to work on a PC only launch. What they did was create the single player video game experience for which everyone had been crying out! Welcome to Space Hulk Ascension.
30 Second Review
+ RPG leveling system complete with stats, progression, skills, equipment, and customization
+ Improved AI
+ More missions, campaigns, chapters; basically more Space Hulk
– Game pacing may seem slow for people not experienced with Space Hulk
– No multiplayer
Get ready to enter Space Hulk Ascension. The base game includes the Ultramarines, Blood Angels, and Space Wolves. The above image is the loadout screen. From here you will level, change your weapon set, customize your appearance, choose your skills, pick your equipment, upgrade your attributes, and rename your characters. I decided I needed the character roster from the movie Aliens.
All the changes that have been made to Space Hulk Ascension from the original Space Hulk are improvements for the better. The AI is smarter. They have more genestealer types. What impressed me further was that any genestealer DLC you purchased for Space Hulk carries over into Space Hulk Ascension.
The gameplay in Space Hulk Ascension is similar to that of Space Hulk, but it’s more smooth and fluid. It really shows that they designed it to play more like a video game than just replicating the board game.
Who Wants More?
Full Control has dedicated their focus to Space Hulk Ascension for 2015–more chapters, forum support, community feedback, more modes, challenges, and DLC. Absolutely more Space Hulk!
Two DLC chapter additions have already been announced and released in the form of Imperial Fists and Salamanders, the latter of which I wrote about here when it was announced. More is coming, but I can’t say what exactly, because it has yet to be officially announced. However, I promise you won’t be disappointed by the chapter that will be released next.
The DLCs are not just chapter expansions, but they also adding more to your weapon loadout, campaign missions, and flash missions. As you can see, the theme of Space Hulk Ascension is more… more… more!
Sounds Too Good to be True
Even though Space Hulk Ascension is almost superior to the original Space Hulk release in every way, it does fall short in two areas. We now have a video game version of Space Hulk the board game. That being said, for anyone who is not familiar with Space Hulk, or with tactical turn-based strategy games like XCOM: Enemy Unknown, then you may find the pacing of the game to be a little on the slow side. For die hard Space Hulk fans like myself, it is not an issue, but it may pose as an issue for some players.
Space Hulk Ascension has no multiplayer. Full Control announced that Space Hulk Ascension is for single player and Space Hulk is for multiplayer. While this stance is all well and good on paper, Space Hulk Ascension is just too superior to Space Hulk in gameplay, level design, and the RPG elements that they added in. I uninstalled Space Hulk, because after playing Space Hulk Ascension, I found it impossible to go back to the first game. Personally, I hope that Full Control decides to release a genestealer multiplayer DLC pack for Space Hulk Ascension. Multiplayer is not a factor for everyone, and there is plenty to keep you more then busy for hundreds of hours just in the single player campaign alone. That said, I do wish I could play Space Hulk Ascension in the multiplayer using the leveling system. Leveling marines separately from the campaign and adding in permanent death would create a completely new dimension to the game; much could be done from this angle. Can you imagine if you could level up genestealers in a similar system? One can only hope.
To Buy or Not to Buy?
There is so much that has already happened for Space Hulk Ascension, and yet, there is more yet to come. At the very least, I don’t think there is any harm in putting this title on your wishlist or watching some gameplay videos to see if it’s up your alley. Keep in mind, this game was my top indie game pick of 2014, and three months later I still stand by that. Even more has been added than when I first made it my top pick last November. It’s just simply amazing to see what is happening for Space Hulk Ascension, and I am excited to see everything else that is coming out later this year.