This review is an unedited version of the review written by Zombie Dredd and published in the Tech Magazine: Issue 61 September 2018.
Space Hulk: Deathwing is in essence an almost two-year-old game. It arrived for PC in December 2016 and has recently landed on the PlayStation 4 as a shiny ‘Enhanced Edition’.
Underneath the shine however is still a (largely) corridor-based first-person shooter set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. It is one that draws on that universe’s deep lore which some may not completely understand or even enjoy.
In the game’s single player campaign, you are a Librarian of the Dark Angels 1st company of Space Marines. If you’re a little lost already, you are a genetically enhanced superhuman soldier with psychic capabilities in a pretty badass suit of armour. You are the Deathwing in the name.
The Space Hulk of the game is a derelict (and rather massive) space ship which is packed with your main enemies of the game – Tyranid aliens known as Genestealers. These pesky aliens have decided to set up home in the ship and cause a general nuisance in your search for artifacts and, well, more articfacts.
Thankfully, you are more than capable of dispensing with the alien menace thanks to your armour, projectile weapons, melee weapons and ‘Psyk’ abilities. Your two AI teammates are however a lot less capable without your instruction and I had to wonder if the game would not have been better without their lumbering non-assistance.
Having to tell your medic (known as an apothecary marine) to heal himself when his health is low can be a challenge when surrounded by enemies. Deciding to not tell him to do so is futile as it will result on him simply dying. This is almost forgivable however compared to your squad mates simply not seeing most enemies unless they’re right in front of them. You could order them into action but the order wheel is clunky and more likely to result in your own demise before you get things right.
Thankfully, there is always the ability to warp to your safe haven and heal yourself, but that needs to be strategically planned as you have limited uses to do so. And there’s a countdown before tripping the light fantastic.
The game does manage to convey a real mood and atmosphere despite its middling graphics. The gunplay is rewarding with the right weapon and some of the melee weapons are satisfying to use. Some of the Psyk powers are destructive enough to have you grinning with glee, others feel like a slap in the face.
Ultimately, Space Hulk: Deathwing should’ve stayed a simple first-person shooter without the teammates and RPG-light elements that sees character progression and levelling up of skills and weapons. You’re a Space Marine and you should already be that destructive.
The slightly ridiculous and over-the-top story feels disconnected from the gameplay at times. There were moments that I felt a little lost with the task at hand. But Deathwing you have one job really and that is to wipe out the aliens on the Space Hulk. It’s just a pity that the game decided to do it slightly half-heartedly.
Available for: PS4 and PC
Distributed by: Apex Interactive