Published on December 30th, 2016 | by stafunoob0
Review – Space Hulk: Deathwing
As gamers, we’ve all had a highly anticipated game sadly fall short of expectations. Whether it be due to lack of story impact, or a game that just downright doesn’t work. When I first saw the trailers for Space Hulk: Deathwing I instantly got amped up. It had carnage, a ton of weapons shown in use, and it even showed some abilities being used as well. Needless to say when I got my review code I was instantly excited to get it installed. Unfortunately, that amped up feeling was quickly extinguished upon loading up Space Hulk: Deathwing.
In Space Hulk: Deathwing you play as Librarian Barachiel, leader of a division of the Space Marines, called the Death Angels. Your task is to infiltrate a massive Space Hulk and find an ancient artifact that your enemy, the Xenos, seem to be using. Throughout this journey, Barachiel starts seeing psychic images that reveal hidden mysteries of the Space Marines’ past that have been buried. At first glance, the story itself seems intriguing and possibly a good introduction to the Warhammer 40k universe. However, there just wasn’t enough there to sink the lore hooks into me and get me addicted and attached to the story and its characters.
The primary reason I couldn’t get myself involved in the story was because of the glaring issues with the games performance. On my rig I was barely able to maintain 45fps while walking through a narrow corridor, not to mention the sub 30fps I would get once a firefight broke out. Thankfully, partway through my play-through of the game a patch was released that stabilized and even improved the performance slightly. Sadly, the game seems to have an odd 62 fps lock, a decision that I am struggling to understand. Now, with Space Hulk being built on the Unreal 4 engine players can access the config files to fiddle with settings not exactly available on the in game menus. This means that it is possible to unlock the frame rate and tweak other various settings, it may just take a bit of extra work on the players part.
Naturally, I thought “Great! The games frame rate is unlocked and no longer plagued by performance issues, I can really dig into this and enjoy it.” I can’t even begin to explain how wrong I was. Space Hulk: Deathwing feels… old. As a Terminator, a Space Marine who has earned the right to wear the Tactical Dreadnought Armour, you have access to a vast amounts of guns and melee weapons. Also playing as a Librarian, a psychic Space Marine, you get access to some kick ass powers. Unfortunately, the animations of these weapons and powers are lackluster and at times not even existent. At one point I had a giant thunder hammer, I expected thunderous booms and intense lightning effects every time I swung this hammer. I was only greeted with slight dink with 3 or 4 lightning bolts arching from the hammer for about 2 feet.
On top of the awful animations, was the decision to add a head bob animation into the game. I thought the biggest thing to make me nauseous playing a video game was low field of view, my goodness was I wrong. At least with most respectable games you can change the FOV, and in Space Hulk: Deathwing you can. Unfortunately, there is absolutely zero option to turn off the head bob in this game. There isn’t even a way to tweak the config files to minimize or eliminate the head bobbing.
What makes the lackluster animations and head bobbing even more depressing, is that the environment has so much detail! As I mentioned before I am not a Warhammer 40k fan myself, just never really got into the whole universe. I could tell, though, that the developers are fans of the 40k universe and did their best to pay attention to every little bit of detail laid out throughout the game. Vast corridors riddled with relics and codecs, giving a peek deeper into the lore of the Space Marines and this derelict Space Hulk. While this is great for 40k fans, and God knows I am a lore whore, I feel like this much attention to detail really detracted from the production of a good game.
The multiplayer has a Left 4 Dead style feel to it where players move through levels and fight off hordes of Xenos. As you progress through the levels, you unlock new abilities and weapons to use to help you finish your missions. These unlocks don’t appear to be permanent, however, just a match by match basis. Sadly, I wouldn’t be able to confirm or deny, as every single time I’ve tried to hop into a multiplayer match I have been met with issues. Anywhere from not being able to find a match, to the game crashing as soon as I accessed my inventory in a match. It’s a shame too, because I was hoping the multiplayer would be a shining light in this mess of a game.
Space Hulk: Deathwing had the potential to be an amazing game with a vast array of weapons and abilities to fight off hordes of Xenos. Unfortunately, it turned out to be nothing more than the ultimate fan service project wrapped up into a lack luster game.
Too Much Fanservice
Summary: The potential for a great game cast neglected for the fans to go "oooh" and "ahhh".