Space Hulk: Deathwing

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"Herald of the coming doom, by cry of raven we are drawn. This oath of war and vengeance, on blade of exalted iron sworn. With blood-anointed swords aloft, advance we into dreads dark shade. Punishment divine unleashed with hate, a wrathful storm of bolt and blade. Purge with plasma, fist and shell, bring fire's righteous breath. For the Emperor, Knights of Caliban, the Lion's anointed Angels of Death."

Space Hulk: Deathwing is a first-person shooter featuring Deathwing Terminators in a Space Hulk setting developed by Streum On Studio, the developers behind E.Y.E: Divine Cybermancy. Not a lot is known about it yet, except that it's being made in the Unreal Engine 4 (meaning pretty damn good graphics) They recently released a trailer, which looks fucking awesome. As of the Gamescom announcement, Deathwing will be released in November 2016. On the 4th of November it was revealed that Deathwing was pushed back to December 9th, then again to the 14th, according to the official Twitter and Facebook. As compensation, pre-orders (which were given at a discount) are scheduled to receive beta access codes between November 9th and 20th.

At launch, it was an unpolished mess filled with crashes, framerate drops and bugs. These were caught during the beta but it was too late to fix them much. Although still a pretty-looking game if you have the beast of a rig needed to run it, that hasn't saved it from the flood of refunds and negative reviews.

For those of you curious, the actual shooting was servicable; the singleplayer is more or less fine if you can run the game without crashing, but multiplayer is a pain in the ass and led to severe population drop-off. This is close to becoming yet another disappointment in 40k gaming, as usual, and the February 24th patch is thought to be the game's last prayer.

As of May 2018, the game has had a complete rebuild under the "Enhanced Edition" and can actually run on reasonable PCs now, in addition to a few new additions such as weapons and classes, as well as special missions and full character customization.

Story[edit]

Belial, Captain of the Dark Angels' first company, has sent Terminators to assist in securing and destroying Space Hulk Olethros. This Space Hulk has a number of different ships, including a Black Templars battle barge and a Cadian mass transport. But one ship in particular, the Caliban's Will lies in the center of the Olethros, and is the Angels' ultimate objective, as it dates all the way back to the Horus Heresy. Their paranoia about the ship being aligned with the Fallen Angels STOLEN BY FILTHY HERETICS FROM THE OTHER LEGIONS is what motivates them to press on despite the dangers.

In the campaign, you take the role of a Librarian leading his battle brothers deep into the Space Hulk to locate lost brothers and recover dark secrets within. Unfortunately, as is often the case, the Genestealers got there first. While the Angels succeed in entering the Caliban's Will and recovering the relic, they make a terrible discovery; the genestealers have absconded with some of the Dark Angels' gene-seed, and are attempting to pass it along to the Tyranid hivemind, which is on approach as the Space Hulk turns out to be a massive psychic beacon. With time against them, the Angels resolve to destroy the hulk before the Tyranid fleet arrives, wiping out all traces of the Dark Angels' gene-seed. They succeed in detonating the ships' plasma drives, destroying both Olethros and arriving fleet in one fell swoop.

Gameplay[edit]

The game plays in a similar style to Left4Dead, but a few important differences are to be noted:

  • The level maps are nonlinear; you can choose to take the shortest path, but you may want to take into account locked doors, potential killzone hallways, etc. You can also go exploring for hidden chapter relics and STCs.
  • Ranged combat is actually a thing; you will need at least one or two guys on you team who can shoot accurately, as enemy rockets or gun turrets can easily put you out of commission.
  • Weapons can jam, putting you in a bind if you're surrounded. Be careful not to fire your weapon too long.
  • Be proactive about locking doors behind you, as genestealers will sneak up on you if you're not careful. Or you can just bash down doors if you need a quick escape route.
  • You earn upgrades for your class as you level up, rather than finding them out in the field. This counts for both weapon loadouts and class abilities.

In the single-player campaign, you have a limited number of Psygates with which to heal yourself, revive downed teammates, and equip new weaponry (if Nahum isn't equipped with a Narthecium, you have to manage your health and Psygate usage carefully). There's a seven second warmup to use a Psygate, so be sure to activate it when you know you're in a position to defend yourself. You can pick any weapon available to all five classes, but you stick with your librarian powers no matter what loadout you get.

The Dark Angels get six different choices of unit (All Terminators) with a specific ability and loadout options:

  • Tactical - The vanilla Terminator. While they start out with just a Storm Bolter and Power Fist, these guys are still useful as they can revive downed teammates. They're also far more accurate than heavy weapons termies, which is important for taking out those hybrid rocket squads or gun mounts. Their weapon upgrade is the Heavy Flamer, Redemption Bolter, Lightning Claws, or the Spear of Caliban, basically an auto-fire Plasma Cannon that slowly regenerates ammo over time but does less damage than the normal Plasma Cannon, and lacks the explosive area of effect possessed by the regular version.
  • Assault - The shieldbro Terminator. Put these guys on point to soak up bullets and melee attacks while you cover them. They come armed with a Power Mace and Storm Shield, but can replace it with a Power Sword, Thunder Hammer or Lightning Claws. Upgrades include Deep Strike teleport on enemies and energy shields. If you are playing with friendly fire enabled, don't let them use Thunder Hammers, or they will instakill every teammate within a half-a-mile radius.
  • Heavy Weapons - The Dakka Terminator. Armed with an Assault Cannon, these guys are great for clearing out rooms. They have shit accuracy, but that's not really a concern if there's Genestealers everywhere. These guys can choose to take a plasma cannon instead, or the "Vengeance cannon" which is an assault cannon with lower ROF and ammo count but higher penetration. They can also get an ROF boost, a deployable mine, and a hack boost upgrade for when you need to lock/unlock doors or turn machines on, making these guys valuable for when you can't afford to stick around too long.
    • Veteran Barachiel in singleplayer defaults to a heavy weapons termie. He's pretty terrible at his job, but an assault cannon is an assault cannon. He doesn't level up on his own, but his hack boost upgrade is still there in the the player character's upgrade trees. He's also far better with a Thunder Hammer and Storm Shield if you get them for him, leaving you with the heavy weapons if you so desire.
  • Apothecary- The medic Terminator. These guys are ESSENTIAL to your team, as you will take lots of damage as you progress through the space hulk. Apothecaries are equipped similarly to Tacticals, but can replace their Storm Bolter with a Redemption pattern shotgun Bolter that fires shotshells, or the Hellfire bolter that exchanges ROF for explosive rounds. Apothecaries can't heal themselves until they reach level three (so your team really needs to keep them alive as long as possible), and eventually they get a mass heal ability.
    • The other singleplayer AI guy is Apothercary Nahum. He can heal himself as early as level one, thankfully, but like Barachiel can't level up on his own.
  • Librarian - The magic Terminator. Armed with a Force Sword (or Force Axe) and Storm Bolter, these guys can straddle the line between assault and tactical in that they're decent in both ranged and melee. Where they really shine, though, is in psyker crowd control. They have knockback, chain lightning, fireballs, and even a telefrag ability that lets you eviscerate opponents up close.
    • In singleplayer he is your main character. Which means he is OP as fuck, able to take every weapon in the game (but can use Force Weapons only if you take the stock storm bolter) with three upgrade trees.
  • Chaplain- introduced in Enhanced Edition, armed with a Storm Bolter and Crozius as default, but can take any of the Tactical's weapons. The Chaplain can rez the entire team at once, temporary invulnerability, and a damage reflector.

Like the Terminators, the Genestealers come in a number of varieties as well.

  • Genestealer: The regular variety you will encounter. Their claws can hurt you, but they die pretty easily to a hail of bullets.
  • Genestealer Hybrids: Creepy bastards who wield human weapons against you, though they are extremely weak in melee. Most are armed with heavy stubbers, but the real threats are the ones with missile launchers, or the rare psyker.
  • Warrior-Strain Genestealer: Slightly bigger and stronger Genestealers who can spit acid.
  • Stalker-Strain Genestealer: Genestealers with partial invisibility. These guys will do everything to sneak up and take a bite out of you. In singleplayer they fuck up your radar just by existing and deal shittons of damage to Nahum and Barachiel, so don't be afraid to spam your powers and guns to get rid of them.
  • Scythe-Strain Genestealer: Big-ass armored Genestealers who will tank your bullets as the rest close the gap, though they're also slower.
  • Broodlord: Tough bastards who act as a boss. You will need to coordinate your fire to take these guys down. Before they zap you to death with psyker powers and rip you up all at once.
  • Bio-Blast Strain- Introduced in Enhanced Edition. These are the suicide bombers of the genestealers, who will seriously mess you up if you run into one just around the corner.
  • Genestealer Aberrants- These hybrids carry heavy mining equipment such as laser cannons or hammers, and are a bit tougher to kill compared to the other hybrids.

The Good[edit]

  • Graphics are Unreal absolutely gorgeous.
  • The atmosphere and sound design is proper of an space hulk, complete with subtle dark ambient music.
  • Levels are HUEG, and even with a map you can still get lost at times.
  • Attention to detail is EVERYWHERE. YOU CAN EVEN READ THE LITANIES ON PURITY SEALS! The damn BINARY CODE on the walls in legit and is translatable into plot points, story and tech prayers OOG.
  • Every ship resolves about different organizations of the Imperium. The log screens you can find give you details of their daily routines, like the Adeptus Astra Telepathica, calling gathered psykers as "raw materials" and the Adeptus Mechanicus showing their way of making things function (e.g. pray until it works)
  • You get to play as an actual Terminator (a slow, bulky walking tank with big firepower but limited mobility. And that means no jumps or backflips)
  • The weapons pack quite a punch. Either melee or ranged, you can find a lot of fun in purging hordes of xenos, either by smashing them to pulp with the thunder hammer or showering them in dakka with the assault cannon.
  • Genestealers are everywhere, and can give you nasty surprises, especially the Stalker variant. You can even hear them running through the ceiling and even the walls. Also notable is the fact that they can spawn indefinitely, even if you have already visited the same room before. And none of this is unfair, none of this is jumpscare bullshit if you're using all your resources and wits.
  • The game is challenging even in the lowest difficulty levels. Some open areas really need you to plan your strategy carefully before combat.
  • Devs have shown to be massive 40k fans. You can feel the passion they have spent on this.
  • A large number of locations from the lore that have never before been rendered are on full display. Psyker Holding Cells, Guardsman's quarters, Black Templar locker rooms, a ship's bridge, spectacular temples to both the Emperor and Omnissiah and dozens of other locations are on full display with what can only be described as loving detail.

The Bad[edit]

  • Bugs. Bugs everywhere. And not the ones you might think. Random crashes, framerate drops, and other weird stuff that can really render the game unplayable.
  • Good luck saving enough money for the PC behemoth you need to run it at 60 FPS with all settings to Maximum.
  • No "Save" option. Want to pick up and play later? You gotta either complete an objective or spend one of your psygates. Or find one of the textlogs left by the ship's engineers (listed in the load game screen as "console_save").
  • You cannot cancel psygates once you have started them. If you press the wrong key by accident, you've wasted one already. Fixed, just press the Psygate button again to cancel.
  • Enemy AI is not as intelligent as was promised, stemming from needless aggression. On one hand, sure, they can dodge, jump or find alternate routes to fuck your shit up. On the other hand, they have zero sense of patience or baiting you; given the choice between "wait" and "die", they'll happily run in a conga line straight towards you. This becomes ridiculous in parts where all 'nids are coming from a single spawn point, allowing you to pile corpses easily.
  • Sprinting meter. Because even a genetically engineered super soldier with extra lungs needs to catch some breath.
  • The two termie AI buddies you get aren't retarded but they can be really useless at times. They take forever to fire their weapons and they do so just after losing a chunk of health. The only thing they do right is following you. And holy shit, they're really fucking good at it!
  • Missions in story mode are a bit generic. In the "Go there, kill xenos, turn off switch, get back" kind of way. Well, there's also that escort mission for a fucking C.A.T. You'll want to skin that C.A.T. after all the locked doors it makes you go through. At least it can't die.
  • Multiplayer with your friends is exciting in the higher difficulty levels but you'll be forced to play the same maps with the same missions over and over. Unless DLCs are on their way, SH:D is doomed to get stale by the next year.
  • Just four players per MP mission. Want to emulate the fancy last stand you saw in the trailer? Too bad.
  • The librarian in MP is nearly useless since it only gets the same three weak spells per mission: the pushback, the electrobolt, and the bigass fireball. No vortex of doom, or Inferno. And the only weapon he gets is the storm bolter. Remember the trailer with him using the hellfire with the power sword? YOU WISH.
  • No one wants to play tactical but ironically it's the only class that can save entire missions by giving invincibility and rapid deployments.
  • No voice chat. WTF?!
  • Weird progression system in Multiplayer Kinda fixed with the addition of "Codex Rules", which gives you access to all the arsenal from the start, but you can't change your inventory, and dying actually means you won't come back in quite a while.
  • Mass Effect 3 levels of unsatisfactory ending. Seriously, there's no denouement, no epilogue, it's "mission complete, hulk blows up". Then it's back to the title screen.
    • Oh, and the incredibly obvious plot twist (the Caliban's Will was full of Fallen TRAITOR MARINE WHO ARE NOT SONS OF THE LION OR ANYONE FROM THE 1ST, MOST ROYAL LEGION!!!) isn't commented on ONCE by ANY of the voiced characters.
  • FATALERROR
  • As with most games published by Focus Home Interactive the developers had very little in the way of advertisement and budget, which is evident in the unfinished state of the game, we just hope the console versions release is more successful so the project doesn't die, we really need a decent 40k shooter.

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