Monday, 15 October 2018 19:31

REVIEW: Space Hulk: Tactics (Playstation 4)

Written by RiotArms
Rate this item
(3 votes)

I’m salivating. I really am team. Anything Warhammer 40k related makes me swoon. We all know that Games Workshop has had a hit and miss record for games however there has been amazing titles such as Vermintide and Space Marine (I don’t care what you say it was amazing).

Brought to you by Cyanide Studios based in Paris France; this firm has been responsible for bringing you other classic Warhammer titles such as Bloodbowl and Space Hulk: Deathwing, so you can be assured that whatever they produce is true to the Warhammer lore.

Let’s talk about some Lore before we start quickly: A space hulk is an unholy unification of derelict spaceships lost in the warp, coming together to form a massive structure. Within in lies horrors that humankind has never seen before. Factions such as Orcs, Harbingers of Chaos and the alien like Tyranids use these vessels to launch attacks on whole worlds, razing them to the ground all the while slipping back into the warp when their deed is done.

With 2 unique campaigns; the player can choose either from the frenzied and righteous Blood Angels brotherhood or the malevolent Genestealers; alien like creatures with a sole intent to wipe out life on all worlds. For this review I concentrated on my brother in arms the Blood Angels. So, bless your storm bolters and join me unto glory. FOR THE EMPEROR!

2018 10 15 00010

Smells like Aliens in here...

It was a slight shame that there was no opening to the game. Anything Warhammer 40K related I just froth over the art style, the equipment and factions. As you can tell I’m a MASSIVE fan; ever since I was a kid with a 5000-point Chaos army.

Booting up the single player I choose Blood Angels and the difficulty as normal. And there it was... the cutscene I was wishing for. You get drawn into the universe; feel the tension in the air and the aura of ultimate devotion the Blood Angels have. Then the mission begins. The tutorial immediately kicks in and the sense of complicity that is Space Hulk. For those who don’t know Space Hulk is a table top game similar to D&D where you have points of movement, rules and die that dictate attacks and defence stats. In this game it is all digitised, so you must use your imagination, but the rules still stand. Each terminator brother has 4 action points which are used for movement and other actions such as attack, interact, melee and guard to name a few.

The first few missions are more or less throw away missions that enable the player to grasp the gameplay. As mentioned in my previous reviews this fluidity of tutorials whilst playing story more is imperative as it doesn’t ruin the flow of the game and Space Hulk does maintain this in a great way. You learn the basic moves and actions however the game doesn’t teach you the most important thing: Tactics. If you are walking into this game thinking it is an easy rush through, think again. Even in the training missions the game is unforgiving and difficult for those who do not respect it. You are also introduced to cards, short term upgrades to improve your odds against the enemy which can be played during the players term.

An awesome feature is the top down to FPS. You can control the terminator brothers in either both depending on your playstyle. Naturally FPS will give you limited situational awareness, but you really get a feel for the game and being in the confines of a spaceship in full terminator armour. The combat engagements are close and personal, making you flinch each time something pops out of no where to being totally revved up as you order your brother to unleased his cannons on unsuspecting aliens. Total gimmick but totally worth it.

After the training missions are completed I was spat out to a map. Think Super Mario World and moving your character one space at a time. You are met with either communications which sometimes make the player make decisions. On your travels you also collect components, in game currency that allows you to upgrade your cards. Moving forward you will encounter red blips which are genestealers which you will need to interact with via missions. The missions vary in objective and can be quite frustrating. With a do or die theme, victory can grant you parts and weaponry where defeat will deduct components off you. With that being said let’s dive into a bidding (mission) for the emperor.

2018 10 15 00013

I got your 6 brother!

The first mission I get is to withstand a horde for 8 turns and protect the objective. Let me tell you this; you need a plan and a backup plan to play this game. You start off with 5 terminators with different load outs. The sergeant is the leader, the heavy has a long-range capability whilst the other 3 assault terminators are the line troopers.

Off the bat you need to move into position. The space hulk consists single corridors and little moving room. Playing the map is the key to victory. I setup my heavy down a long corridor and activate overwatch mode; a 2 Action point move which enables the unit to auto fire at any enemy that enters their line of sight. I move the assault units into an open area with anticipated attack and activate the same overwatch ability, keeping in mind the range they have. Lastly the sergeant is placed with my heavy to provide backup, always protect your main assets. I end my turn and wait, and it’s there... the gibbering hunger for flesh.

Immediately the screen is filled with red blips on the radar; the hordes are moving in for the kill. As a turned based game with no fast forward you are at the whimsy of the opposition till it is your turn. You do have control over the camera and can choose to go back to first person mode. I made the grave mistake of accidently changing during a genestealer move, not realising it ambushed a brother from behind tearing him asunder. My pants also ripped asunder during that moment.

Let’s touch on combat. Remember I said that it was based on a board game? There are still die but you don’t roll them. The hit and fail rate are determined by RNGesus above and the results shown on the right side. It’s a bit redundant to have this however I guess it stays true to the board game. For ease of translation every move that requires chance does have a win lose percentage before execution. As mentioned cards can also assist in the chances of landing much required strikes.

With my line breached, defences had to be bolstered again for all round defence however I’m faced with an issue; not enough AP. This is where tactics really comes into play and the decisions you make will have a profound effect on the rest of your match.

I retreat into the small room and proceed to lock down the area waiting for the breach. Fast forward safe to say 4 of the 5 in squad made it out in time with a clutch confrontation between the good sergeant and a sneaky genestealer which ended with the alien being cleaved in twain by an energy sword.

2018 10 15 00011

Back to the armoury

Music was composed to fit the mood exactly. If I was in a space junker with swarming aliens this would be the soundtrack. Making use of aura and ambient noises it gives you a feeling of foreboding and tension that you must have to keep yourself frosty during game play. SFX were great however sounded a bit linear. What I will say is every action you can hear and feel; especially each step you take down the dark corridors. Voice acting was a bit of a letdown. YES, they are serious and YES, they are military but there was no life in the voice or conviction, just felt a bit flat.

Graphics were ok to good. Depending on what you were doing; they felt either really polished or too jagged. The cutscenes were on point however some of the combat scenes and movement in first person mode could have been rendered better. Being the fan boy, I am I will say that this didn’t bother me too much. The voice dialogs when the main characters spoke felt like they were generated in a 2000’s game which was a shame since I was expecting some more visuals with the communications. It’s the year 40000 guys; holograms and projections existed!

Gameplay well touch on a bit more. Even on normal it is a hard game. It is hard in the sense that it is very unforgiving. It is also hard in the sense that the game expects you to have some kind of tactical prowess before playing. There is no help with positioning and there is no forgiveness with combat. Each action must be considered being made. Me being an accomplished strategist in and out of game found it difficult to make decisions at times. The game does feel a bit clunky, but this is due to the turn-based nature. This is what the game was on the board. As mention previous the dice not required because you had no real way to know that dice was involved. Mechanics were hard to grasp and does take time to get used to. Confirmation buttons were too easily pressed committing moves which used up previous action points which could lead you to your defeat.

Story mode was flat a linear however does hold true to the lore which is always a nice to have especially for those fans out there of the WH40k universe. Replayability is strong in this game as it has a multiplayer option plus a mission builder, allowing diehard fans to craft the next missions and objectives.

2018 10 15 00012
Riots remarks

Right so the fanboy in me has settled a bit lets talk. If you like games with tactics base combat with sci fi flares such as the classic Fall out tactics and any other turn-based game, get it. If you aren’t a Warhammer 40k fan or tactics fan; don’t buy it. You will not like it and you will spend your time wondering why you can’t win and by that time you can’t refund it. I enjoyed it because I love the lore and have a previous connection to the franchise but as a player I wouldn’t have as much I did simply because there is no connection.

Pros:

- Sci fi
- Makes you use your head

Cons:

- Difficult
- Linear
- Sometimes unpolished


Additional Info

  • Review Score: 3.5 / 5.0
  • Release Date: Out Now
  • Platform: PS4
  • Developer: Cyanide
  • Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
  • Genre: Strategy