Tonight I'm taking my hand to a quick review on the recently released Space Hulk game, if you are sitting on the fence about your purchase then I hope to push you off of it either way.
So, firing up Steam to buy this game I was first of all pleased at the generous minimum system requirements meaning my ancient Laptop can play this aswell as my more modern PC and also at the tiny 700mb download, abit of dice rolling and worshipping to the download speed gods (aka an hour or so) and I'm sat at the main menu screen but not before having a wonderfully rendered grim opening cut scene to get me in the mood.
The first thing that grabs me is that they have the 'feel' of the 41st Millennium spot on. It's bleak, no fancy heroic music just the dull droning of a Space Ships thrusters and little more interesting than Space to look at out of the windows - this might sound like a negative criticism but it's meant as quite the opposite - I love it.
For those that have absolutely no idea what Space Hulk is, let me tell you what it isn't - Dawn of War, and nor should it be. This is a turn based rendition of a classic board game brought to life within the world of video gaming, you will lead your squad of Terminators down tight corridors and engage at range and in close combat with Tyranid Genestealers with an overall mission objective you are to complete.
For those that are new to the game there's a recommended pre-campaign trilogy of missions that, even if you aren't new to the game I'd recommend having a go at - if nothing else just to get your head around the controls and interface but also if like me you love a good story then it sets the mood just nicely as you secure the beach head into the hostile Space Hulk.
Ingame the interface is very simple to use, what jumps out at me straight away however is the subtle attempts to make a turn based strategy game feel more real-time. As you get a visual on an enemy Genestealer your character opens fire as he advances to the point you moved him to without being told. For the Genestealers you aren't yet in range of or are facing you will be treat to a quite freaky red sensor rendition of the approaching nasty which gets the blood pumping ready for a scrap.
If you let a Genestealer get up in your face, just like the tabletop, he rips it off and you'll be treat to a one shot raping in close combat. To counter this there are certain defensive stances you can order your Terminator to adopt that either buffs defence in close combat or reactively fires at targets that enter his line of sight during enemy play. As the game goes on you will gain access to other bits of kit such as Assault Cannons and Heavy Flamers, aswell as more Characters like Librarians and Sergeants.
So, as this is a review I probably should point out a negative - Price, for me £22 is rather steep, especially as they intend to release paid for Downloadable Content later down the line to sustain longevity in the game which means more money. People who really want the game will pay £22, people who are sat on the fence will likely look at bigger A++ released titles that Steam constantly have on sale (I'm looking at you Dishonoured for £11.99) and use their money elsewhere. Also for those looking at playing this game on the go with their iPad will be disappointed today as it's only released on PC and Mac with the iPad version coming and an undisclosed "later".
Overall then, excellent game that really captures the grimdark future of the 41st Millennium and revives a classic PC and Board Game with excellent little features like your Terminators armour mounted camera giving you a first person perspective (see image below, top right corner) and real-time visual reactions to enemies. The developers have pledged to offer DLC later, hopefully in the form of new Campaigns but I expect armour packs etc. to make an appearance too. The only thing letting this down for me really is the price, for the die hard 40k fans out there - it's worth it, for those sitting on the fence that can maybe wait awhile then see if it ends up in a sale at some point!