Wot I Think: Space Hulk

By Robert Florence on August 16th, 2013 at 12:00 pm.


Emperor, forgive me for what I’m about to write. It’s me, Rab Florence. You know I love Space Hulk. You know I have every edition of the game. You know I am pure.

But it’s three in the morning, and I’ve been playing Space Hulk on PC for six hours, and that’s more than enough. It’s been a painful, heartbreaking six hours, and the thought of a seventh is unbearable. Let me tell you why.

Let’s start by quickly explaining why Space Hulk, in its board game form, is one of the greatest games ever designed. It’s a stripped down, sleek, beautiful thing. One player takes control of a squad of Space Marine Terminators. The other player controls a horde of alien creatures called Genestealers. Each Terminator has Action Points, giving them movement and attacks. You roll for Command Points too, providing extra actions that can be shared across the squad. The Genestealers are more simple beasts – playing the Genestealers is all about moving around outside the Terminators’ line of sight as a little blip token, and choosing the perfect time to reveal how many monsters are attached to that blip. Each mission throws a new scenario at the players, but there is a great deal of comfort to be found in how the game plays with such familiarity from moment to moment. Move – open door – cover corridor – activate overwatch. Move blip – lurk – reveal – ATTACK. Head-to-head, across a table, Space Hulk comes alive in spectacular fashion. It’s like one of those knife-fight in a phone booth deals, except the knives are dice, and the phone booth is a cramped room inside an ancient spaceship. And there is beer on the table, just to the right of all that.

Crucially, the Space Hulk board game feels like a distillation of the very best turn-based strategy mechanics. Just the good stuff. All killer, no filler. So why is this PC game so bad? I mean – how can that even happen?

ACTIVATE NEGATIVE ELEMENT OVERWATCH

Target Detected – Someone made the decision, early in development, to fully animate every Terminator and every Genestealer in the game. Now, okay, it’s a fancy-schmancy PC game, so maybe those animations are expected. But listen – when you start to realistically animate these big heavy Terminator dudes, you are asking the player to sit for a really fucking long time waiting for every command to resolve. All the immediacy of the board game is gone in an instant. When I play Space Hulk on my table, I can move a Terminator three spaces and turn him 90 degrees in one second. In the PC game I have to watch the little fella go THUNK-THUNK-THUNK-THUNK-THUNK for considerably longer than that. I actually couldn’t believe there wasn’t an option to turn the animations off. The recent Nintendo 3DS game “Crimson Shroud” features 3d-rendered miniatures, mounted on little bases, and they look beautiful. They can also be moved as quickly as lifting a miniature and placing it onto another space. There’s no reason why there couldn’t have been something similar here. Space Hulk is an adaptation of a board game after all – would it hurt to give us the option to simplify all that fancy, fussy video game crap?

Target Detected – I know pretty much every Space Hulk mission like the back of my hand. Because I know Space Hulk, I know where the doors are on every map. Someone coming into this game fresh is going to miss doors. I guarantee it. You will move a guy, then a door will open somewhere, and you will say “OH SHIT. I DIDN’T SEE THAT DOOR.” When you miss a door in Space Hulk, you are in big trouble. The cluttered, muddy graphics and the sub-optimal camera angles make doors easy to miss. That’s just not good enough. Basic stuff too. Ugh.

Target Detected – I want blips in my Space Hulk. Not glitches. Let me tell you about something funny that happened to me tonight – by “funny” I mean “not at all funny”. In the first mission of the game, the classic “Suicide Mission”, I found myself opening fire on a group of hungry Genestealers. I took all of them down except one. I spent the next turn readying my Terminators to deal with that lone Genestealer. On the Genestealer turn, that lone Genestealer didn’t move. Weird, right? Not really. I discovered that the Genestealer I was worried about didn’t actually exist. I mean, he was there – he was standing right there – but he didn’t exist. I stared at him for a while, his little animation looping, and wondered if maybe he was one of the dead Genestealers, whose soul had got trapped inside a bad computer game as punishment for his sins. It’s also worth looking out for other “funny” glitches, such as gunfire firing upwards out of the map towards your face, and Terminators walking right off the map into the blackness of fuck knows where. Oh, and missions ending in failure when they shouldn’t. Classic stuff. It’s only a BOARD GAME you are adapting here, fellas. This shouldn’t be so difficult.

Target Detected – Unless I’m some kind of idiot, and I hope I’m not some kind of idiot, the Hotseat Mode might as well not even exist. The idea of sitting and playing against someone at the same PC is great, but – oh, here we go. You know those blips I mentioned? In the board game, the Genestealer player has blips of different values. A blip might be hiding one Genestealer under it, which is bad enough. But it might be hiding three, which is sheer terror. A big part of the game is that tension of not knowing how many Genestealers that blip you can see actually represents. Well, in Hotseat mode, the number of Genestealers attached to a blip is open information. I mean, it says 1 or 3 right there on the fucking thing. I went back and forth with a few people, asking them if they knew how to turn that off. Surely there must be a hotkey that hides it or something? But we were all stumped. We were all mystified. We were all saying “THIS CAN NOT POSSIBLY BE AS STUPID AS THIS WHAT IS GOING ON WHAT YEAR IS THIS IS THIS ON THE VIC-20?”

Target Detected – Okay, in the online multiplayer you can’t see how many Genestealers are under the blips. Hooray! But this multiplayer is only going to work with friends. I played with a few randoms tonight, and one took so long over a turn I went and made a cup of tea, another quit out a few turns in, and the last one made one move and then just stopped playing. I think the games keep running, so that turns can be made hours apart in glorious asynchronous – OH GOD. This is Space Hulk! This is one of the most EXCITING board games ever made. This multiplayer turns it into something akin to those weird play-by-mail games you’d see advertised in old comics.

Okay – give me a moment here. Space Hulk is a board game. You know what I mean? It is a board game. It’s a game that demands your opponent is right there with you, shaking dice. You need to be able to laugh at your opponent’s misfortune, in his face, at the exact moment it happens. You need to be within punching distance. There is a LOT of luck in Space Hulk. To make that luck factor palatable, you need that thrill of throwing the old bones down on the table right in front of your opponent. When you’re playing against some slow, unseen stranger, who isn’t even rolling any dice? Those moments of ill fortune just make you angry. That’s all. Angry. Oh, and an undo button? Really? GO AWAY.

Target Detected – Another thing. Forget about all the shitty parts of this game for a moment. Even the stuff that works okay could have been executed far better. For me, the most thrilling part of Space Hulk is during Overwatch. Let me elaborate.

A Terminator is on Overwatch. A Genestealer turns the corner and starts moving towards that Terminator. He fires at the monster. It’s a miss. It moves closer. He fires again. Another miss! It moves closer. He fires again. ANOTHER miss. It moves even CLOSER! (At this point, playing the board game, the two players are screaming at each other in excitement and fright.) The Terminator fires again. His weapon JAMS. The Genestealer moves CLOSER. OH. MY. GOD.

In this PC adaptation, these moments just happen. You know what I mean? They just play out, and pass you by. There’s no wit or craft shown in how these moments are presented. The music could have changed, maybe. The camera could zoom closer with every miss. Surely something could have been put in there to say – “Hey, this is one of the cool parts of this classic game design! Sit up and pay attention!” Instead it just shows you the mechanics of the thing playing out, like it’s just another phase of the game. Or like, I dunno, like the developers didn’t really care.

And that really sums this scrappy, boring adaptation up. A lack of care. It’s about as bad as it could possibly be. I’ve played through half of the campaign missions, missions that are close to my heart, and I’ve hated every one of them. I stopped at exactly halfway, because the game told me I’d lost a mission I’d just won. And that was the final straw. What an achievement that is, to turn magic into soup. To turn a thing of such celebrated greatness into a thing of such grated celeryness. It sickens me to think that some people will play this game and think that this is what Space Hulk is – a leaden, dated bore. That’s not a Space Hulk I recognise.

Sure, you might still want to buy this expensive disaster purely because it’s Space Hulk.

But this is not Space Hulk.

I will not accept it. I just won’t.

, , , .

393 Comments »

  1. Bahoxu says:

    Yeah, i was afraid it might turn out like that.

    • betadays.co.uk says:

      Real shame! Big fan of the board game – and even got to play it at Rezzed with Thomas Lund talking me through things. It does sound like some patching can be done to resolve these issues, so will hold off until then.

    • Grey Poupon says:

      It took quite a while for the digitalized version of Blood Bowl to become a somewhat good game that I enjoy to play. Maybe the same will happen with this thing. The biggest problems seem somewhat the same. Glaring bugs and not following the TT version to the letter. Granted it took Blood Bowl 4 iterations to get there, but the way it is now is quite decent.

      And about that “things that happen without any physical rolls” -thing. Blood Bowl has these “go for it”-rolls that are a bit similar. If you just move through them, the PC version rolls them without you even realising if it wasn’t for the sound (if you don’t fail them that is), but since the roll can change what you’d do after it, players tend to move one square at a time when doing “go for it”‘s. This results in a more TT-like experience. Maybe they’ll implement something similar in Space Hulk eventually. Just because it’s horrible now doesn’t mean it’ll be horrible some time in the future.

      • sinister agent says:

        And like blood bowl, which is still full of the same serious bugs, bad netcode and terrible design and UI problems, people will still line up and buy it four times and then the sequel, regardless of whether it’s actually been fixed, simply because it has the name on. Ugh.

        • Grey Poupon says:

          Oh I do find Blood Bowl quite enjoyable and a lot better than what it once were. It’s not perfect, but it’s one of the best TT game adaptations. Granted it shouldn’t have taken them this long to get it to where it is now and there’s still room for improvement, but I do think it’s a good game and certainly playable.

        • Premium User Badge TheApologist says:

          Isn’t that a bit dismissive, and even a bit patronising? I bought two versions of Bloodbowl, and have really enjoyed playing them in local multiplayer with friends. It’s not perfect, but I didn’t just buy it (twice) because of the name on the box.

      • Premium User Badge cpt_freakout says:

        I played it for a short while and it’s an OK game. Not amazing, but OK. The first time I played Blood Bowl (well, the first time I played it after I read the manual and finally knew what the hell I was doing) I get, and still do, really excited about dice rolls and Touchdowns hahaha. Strangely, I haven’t gotten that with Space Hulk. I don’t know, it’s just not as exciting for me. Maybe if the dice rolls were visible?

    • Buffer117 says:

      Yep, I was holding out hope but this was exactly the review I expected. This license should be soooo easy to make a cheap amazing game, yet it always looked on trailers to me like it was going to be poor.

      The fact that it was 23 pounds!! was another indication they were going to milk the money using the love of the licensed material. This sort of thing just shouldn’t happen these days.

      • EOT says:

        I got shouted down in the RPS Steam chat for pointing out that I thought that £23 was a bit on the pricey side for what was being provided (and the fact that it wasn’t looking good).

        Regardless, it’s a shame that its turned out as I predicted.

      • Corb says:

        This is the problem that comes up when you try to copy paste a board game into a digital version. The people who like the board game are disappointed because it isn’t the board game and those of use expecting a video game are disappointed because it’s too much like a board game. I mean…it’s a video game, why wouldn’t there be animations? That’s like me playing the cardboard version and complaining that the miniatures require me to move them on the game board.

    • S Jay says:

      Once again, the “odd lack of previews before launch” proved to be true.

      • Premium User Badge tigerfort says:

        Yeah. I think it’s now reached the stage where it should be possible to work out a “review score” for a big name/budget game simply on the basis of how long in advance they send out (p)review copies. If the reviewers haven’t seen it before release day, it’s guaranteed not to be worth buying. If they only get it one day before, it’ll be good in parts but have some game-breaking stuff that the publisher hopes won’t be noticed in time to go in the pre-release reviews. If everyone gets copies a fortnight out, it’s going to be great. Simples.

    • Discopanda says:

      …But RPS was saying it would be good! They SAID it would be good! …and now these guys have the Jagged Alliance rights! OH GOD WHAT HAVE WE DONE

    • Pointman says:

      Mate, what can I say, have logged quite a few hours on Spacehulk and really, I was surprised with your review. Age maybe? I stopped throwing tanties a little while back.
      Don’t listen to this unusual review, it’s a good recreation of the board game, a lot of bugs are fixed in the patch (released less than 24 hours?). It’s PC, obviously some feelings are lost from the board game (it’s a PC game…oh I already said that..lol)
      Strange, strange, strange…..is this your job?

    • KastaRules says:

      The only adaptation worth playing is the one from 1993, preferably on a good ol’ Amiga!
      The awesome soundtrack still creeps me out!

      • rickn99 says:

        This. That shrieking and wailing during combat was amazing.

        My screen was often filled with big red blood splashes.

    • vorazan says:

      Why o why is GW whoring out their licenses to no name, no skill developers?

      I realize Relic are gone but surely there’s someone out there willing to make Dawn of War 3… or you know, Space Marine 2 … or a big Warhammer 40k game that doesn’t suck, that has all the epicness, dakka and Emprah!

      This game has none of that. The free to play card game for iOS made by some Russians is not too inspiring either.

  2. JohnP says:

    *removes from Steam wishlist*

    • MrThingy says:

      this

    • S Jay says:

      Same move.

    • Westy says:

      Indeed.

      I had a bad feeling about this drop…

    • Gormongous says:

      Hah! Yep.

    • eaprivacypolicy says:

      I think that this was an overly harsh review, and you may want to look into it further before dropping the game on account of what were very specific points that may not affect you as much on an individual level as it did to this late night writer.

      • RProxyOnly says:

        ‘This late night writer’…

        Oh, snarky…. I smell a level of personal injury that would only come from the involved.

        • eaprivacypolicy says:

          Dude, he wrote it not me (“But it’s three in the morning, and I’ve been playing Space Hulk on PC for six hours, (…)”). Fact, not snarky, unless he was lying about his writing context.

  3. JFS says:

    Shit… what a bummer.

  4. Over says:

    It looks like a fanboy will always be harsher in his reviews. It looks like this game can’t compare with your idealized vision of the board game.

    • Javier-de-Ass says:

      or, what he’s saying is that the actual game of space hulk. what he likes about the game. doesn’t come through in this version.

    • Premium User Badge distantlurker says:

      for “your idealized version of”, read: ” “

    • duchessprozac says:

      Here’s the thing, though: This is a digital adaption of a board game rather than a “computer game.” To judge it as a computer game, it fails on many levels: no progression through story, too simple gameplay to be engaging, lack of other TBS trappings computer games usually have.

      But as Rab points out, it fails as board game adaption as well by changing the things that make the board game fun.

      It should have either been dogmatic to the original game or altered to turn it into a real TBS game; this half-breed version just simply doesn’t work.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Rab’s complaints don’t really seem to be just “THEY DEVIATED FROM MY PRECIOUS BOARDGAME SO IT AUTOMATICALLY SUCKS”, though. It just sits there next to the game that tried to ape it, being the good example someone made earlier.

    • Rab says:

      I actually had a version of this review that addresses this, but I decided it wouldn’t be necessary. As a “fanboy” of the board game, I would actually lean towards WANTING to love this version of the game. What I’ve done is review it as a modern computer game – I have to keep referencing the board game, because that’s all this game is. It probably would have worked better if it had been LESS faithful.

      Simply put – to charge 23 quid for a clunky representation of an old board game, with all that game’s qualities poorly implemented, is a disgrace. If this game wasn’t called Space Hulk, no-one would give it a second glance. And it would be a fiver.

        • gunny1993 says:

          You could probably do it for free on roll20 if you were willing to invest some time. (or hell, probably some maps out there already)

        • TsunamiWombat says:

          …Is that little game any good?

          • KDR_11k says:

            I think so, I played a ton of another of that dev’s games (Star Trader) but either way they have a free version available.

      • pantognost says:

        Mr Florence,

        I read your review and I honestly think that you should change your writing habits. I honestly believe that you are a well inentioned enthusiast both for computer games in general and for space hulk in particular. 

        But writing 3 AM in the morning after a catastrophic bug made you ragequit after six hours of straight play is just wrong.

        I have seen the screenshots of the game that go with this review. You know what they remind me of? A little kid drawing mustaches and fake bad teeth on the poster of his loved celebrity after being talked down by his idol when he tried to impress it with the perfect question-remark. 

        Many have pointed out the obvious bias in your review, such as strong wording (“as bad as it gets”), flaws impossible to fix (not able to yell at another human at moments of tension when playing against the AI) and minor issues bloated out of proportions (yes it is a computer game, yes there are animations, yes the animations are slow to create atmosphere, yes it would be cool to be able to disable them -although I seriously do not understand you youngsters with the need to rush things-, but no it is not the large negative point you make it out to be). Just to be a little childish myself, if you weren’t so anxious to rush through the level maybe you wouldn’t miss the doors in it. I sure as heck haven’t missed one so far. 

        The important issue with the game is the bugs. It is funny that you did not mention another serious one, that is the inability to select a terminator from his icon in the UI if, in another squad, the respective slot’s terminator is dead. Not a showstopper, you can still click to select him, but a bug still. I suppose that the developers are spoiled by our tolerance of bugs and pressured by publishers so they release obviously bugged versions of their products. 

        All in all, after having played the game several hours myself I found out that it is quite much fun, a most faithful adaptation of the board game in an electronic medium and, apart from the short campaign, a good overall game. All this, if I hadn’t bought the game before your review would be unknown to me because I trust that the gaming habits of RPS authors are close to mine. If that was to change in favor of the impulsive bipolar character of other review sites…alas all is lost for me :) 

        I really, like many other readers of your site, would like to know what Alec things, since he was very impressed with the previews of the game, and I think that you have done the industry, and the genre, a disservice by such a biased, subjective review. 

        Consider this: If this, in my opinion, mildly good port of our loved old game tanks because of a review in a site that targets the exact same audience of the game what are the chances of a follow up stream of games in the same genre. Naturally your duty is to your readers but, dear mr Florence, here you did not provide an objective review, as you should, but a personal opinion dressed up by whatever flaws you could come up at 3AM in the morning after a ragequit. 

        Please, the next time, sleep it off and write the review the morning after.

        • Premium User Badge Alabaster Crippens says:

          I just want to disagree a bit about a few things, the main being the call to review ‘objectively’ towards the end (which admittedly, does underpin a lot of what you’re saying).

          One of the reasons I like RPS is that it makes it very obvious that it’s reviewing games from a subjective point of view. We get wotithinks instead of reviews, and that always sounds like an important distinction. All reviews are going to have this problem, but RPS in general are a bit more direct and honest about this.

          As you note, Rab has actually given us all the evidence we need to realise that his perception might not match everybody’s, it’s explicit how much of a fan of the boardgame is, it’s explicit that it’s late and he’s angry, and you have to feed that into your interpretation of what he says.

          I don’t think objectivity is a possible thing ever, although it can be a good thing to aspire to, but I’m glad that RPS don’t.

          • pantognost says:

            It probably came out wrong, due to the length of my post, but I, too, am convinced that reviews are not and cannot be objective. It’s just that I was convinced that RPS was a site with a specific kind of subjectivity that matches my own.
            In this review I read only a rant after a ragequit and that was the core of my criticism.
            I am not disappointed that the reviewer is a fan of the board game.
            I am not disappointed that the reviewer has sky high expectations about the game.
            I am not disappointed that the reviewer reveals the major fault of the game, that is the bugs.
            But…
            I am disappointed that the reviewer tried to tear this game apart due to his emotional state and not due to the real state of the game as I experienced it.
            That pretty much sums it up.

    • KDR_11k says:

      A bug that turns a victory into a loss is severe enough to break such a game entirely, I don’t think it takes a fanboy to point that out.

      • Cleave says:

        basically in that mission you have to escape with the librarian special character and 2 terminators. Seemingly it’s coded so that the game ends as soon as the librarian escapes and is a loss if you haven’t got the terminators out by then. Obviously the best tactic is to get the VIP out first so yeah, bit of a dumb coding error. Hopefully it will be fixed. Other than that I haven’t seen any bugs that are more than cosmetic (characters walking the wrong way but ending up on the correct tile, characters shooting in the air etc.)

    • mouton says:

      Review is not just the final opinion, it is a sum of all the pros and cons. He does give specific reasons of why he doesn’t like the game. If you find what he outlined to be no problem, then this review is – for you – a positive one.

    • MisterFurious says:

      You got that backwards. Fanboys will be vehemently defending the game and blasting anyone that says anything remotely negative about it.

  5. Premium User Badge deadfolk says:

    Nuts.

  6. Bull0 says:

    My ray of hope in all this is that now that there’s a digital version, perhaps the boxed sets on ebay will come down in price a little.

    Yeah, fat chance. A guy can dream though

    • Javier-de-Ass says:

      lol. yeah, you said. fat chance

    • sonson says:

      I’m beginning to think that my comple first ed copy I picked up on Ebay for about 30 quid last year is one of the greatest investments in the history of humankind.

  7. unangbangkay says:

    So, now that we’ve judged it by what it isn’t (a board game), how is it?

    • Boffin says:

      Was about to ask the same thing, I have no idea whether this is a good game or not.
      It’s apparently a horrid adaptation, though!

    • gunny1993 says:

      A buggy badly made version of a boardgame … it was really hard to figure that out, specially when he used all those examples of how the game was buggy and badly made.

      • Boffin says:

        The focus is on how it’s not as good as the board game, cool. As someone who’s never played it, that doesn’t really matter to me.The only real negatives sounded pretty minor, and I’m sure half of them will be gone soon enough.

        I’m probably going to hold off on buying it for now, until I hear more opinions – but I definitely think this could’ve been a bit more focused on the actual game, rather than saying it didn’t live up to the board game.

        Fun fact: the board game is mentioned in some way in every paragraph (my personal favourite is “Space Hulk is a board game. You know what I mean?” in the last third of the article. Yes, we know). Can’t we all just agree that it’s based off a board game, then review the game on its own merit (or lack thereof)?

        • gunny1993 says:

          Well I would say when a game is using the mechanics and ideas of a board-game, how it stacks up in regards to said game is rather important. From what i see from this review is that i could knock up a better version of it myself with roll20 and a copy of the rules.

          If it were a deeper iteration of the original, or if it implemented new features (which i will agree the WIT doesn’t really mention in either an affirmative or negative manner) then i would be less interested in how it stacks up against the board-game.

          • WindWhale says:

            I’d say “to an extent.” For those of us who’ve never played the board game, it’s rather immaterial how it stacks up to the board game; we’re only concerned about the standalone PC game. We’re coming in fresh without the initial concerns around the Overwatch tension (not to say it’s not a good thing to have but I wouldn’t necessarily notice the lack of it).

            In reality, my concerns are more like “how does this stack up to XCom” or MechWarrior Tactics, than any WH boardgame.

          • Baines says:

            It is still important why it doesn’t stack up to the board game.

            No protection of hidden information in hotseat mode is bad. Overlong animations that cannot be skipped or turned off are bad. Camera and graphics design that makes it easy to miss key features of the map are bad. Multiple bugs, including game breaking ones, are bad.

            You don’t have to have experience with the board game to realize the PC game problems that the WIT is describing.

        • RvLeshrac says:

          It is of the genre “board game.”
          It is shit at being a board game.

          What, exactly, do you need to know beyond “the game fails at every aspect of the thing it is expressly attempting to be”?

          If someone sells you a painting as a “painting of an orange”, but it is clearly a painting of a pear, does it matter if it isn’t a physical orange?

    • ramirezfm says:

      It is exactly that, a board game. In every single review I’ve seen so far that one thing is clear. It is a digital version of a board game. So it seems that it is a board game that is not a board game. This is not the board game it should be. A bad adaptation of a great game. A bad game in itself.

      Now, I don’t own the game, but I’ve seen my share of WITs and Let’s Plays to say… this is not the Space Hulk you’re looking for. The Emperor sits on his golden throne and is really really pissed about this now. I think it would be bearable if they would add a normal multiplayer and halved the price, but as it is the *remove from steam wishlist* comment is my way to go. And I so hoped this to be good ;(

    • Dominic White says:

      It’s a board game alright. A direct adaptation of one. Where they managed to break it so that it’s hard to sometimes see what’s on the board and where it’s literally impossible to play against someone in the same room because they forgot about the single advantage that the Genestealer player has.

      • razgon says:

        Sadly, it IS Literally impossible now…

      • jonfitt says:

        You’ve got to wonder how on earth that happened. Any two testers sat down to play a game would have said “hang on, we’re missing a key mechanic of the game here”. Either the testers were fools, the choice was made to ignore it, or it wasn’t tested.

    • Dan Griliopoulos says:

      It’s very slow (especially the animations) but it’s also very tough, because it’s such an accurate adaptation. If it’s boring, save for the animations, that’s true of the board game too. My pals *really* like the multiplayer – though they recommend voice chat while you’re playing.

      I think I still prefer the old EA one, but this one is certainly a lot prettier.

      • Ninja Foodstuff says:

        The animations are less of an issue if you just try and issue movement orders to everyone in your squad at the same time, without waiting for them to get where they’re going.

    • Premium User Badge xao says:

      Buggy and slow with lousy multiplayer.

  8. Shinan says:

    It’s a good thing it was so expensive that I didn’t jump on it immediately.

    • Shiri says:

      Got that right. RPS was so excited about this that despite not having played the game since I was too young to really understand why it was meant to be good, I was tempted to grab a copy. But £22? Cor. Better wait for the review on that. Glad I did.

    • Lawful Evil says:

      Waiting for a review is always a good idea. Unless You have so much money to simply not care about “bad investment”.

    • MrThingy says:

      ” Coming soon, to a bargain-basket near you! “

    • Lemming says:

      I feel burned that I jumped on it and it turned out to be not very good, but the price was never a turn off. Since when is £23 expensive for a game?

      • jrodman says:

        It’s expensive for the modern practice of..

        Ooh shiny! Clickbuy.

        which is where the games market has been heading, between steam, bundles, and iphone/android apps.

        For the classic approach of actually buying the games you want over the other games, it’s not expensive.

  9. DrStrangeLug says:

    And no chance of a better game until the GW license expires .

    • Stromko says:

      A nice fan-made digitalization of Space Hulk got cease-and-desisted just so this by-the-numbers crap version of the game wouldn’t have to compete with it, too.

      • Bull0 says:

        There’s Alien Assault, which is a faithful repro of the board game on a mechanics level but which doesn’t feature any GW artwork/sound/terminology and is really good. It has, like, 50+ missions.

        http://teardown.se/

        It’s also mod-friendly, hint hint.

        • Spacewalk says:

          Which, funnily enough, was the fan made adaption that got C&D’d. They were able to redo the theme and continue.

          • Bull0 says:

            Yeah, I did think Stromko was talking about AA. And it has persistent squad stats and awards/ranks for your marines, etc, which are all things the apologists say you “wouldn’t want” in a space hulk game. It’s really good, can’t recommend it highly enough.

        • ramirezfm says:

          I cannot thank you enough. Just yesterday I saw some let’s play of this from the times it was wh40k related and I was looking for this ever since. And now I found it!

        • jonfitt says:

          You can mod in your favourite “Alien Assault Force”, like the the Giant Mutant Space Badgers…
          http://www.strategyinformer.com/pc/alienassault/mod/33672.html

        • fdisk says:

          Can’t wait to get home and check that out; thank you for posting it!

        • ElElegante says:

          Looks awesome, will check it out as soon as I get home! Thanks for the link, I had never heard of that before!

        • arccos says:

          To anyone on the fence, I’ll just second this and say Alien Assault is amazing. I’ve never played Space Hulk (the board game), I’m not all that interested in Warhammer in general, and Alien Assault is still a damn fine game worth quite a bit more than FREE.

          It has kept me up many a night, with almost inevitable glorious victories turning into stinging defeats and vice versa.

          There are a few other similar games that try to ape either the board game or the original Space Hulk computer game, but Alien Assault is by far the best.

  10. Branthog says:

    I considered buying two copies of this. Really glad I dodged that.

  11. leeblackwood says:

    Another rushed, buggy licensed game by a crap developer for an IP that has an established fan base.

    Sadly, It will sell because the fan boys need to play the game to feel a sense of completeness.

    • squareking says:

      This makes me scared for Jagged Alliance.

      • greywolf00 says:

        No kidding. Was already worried when the Kickstarter was struggling, this review just makes me dread what’s coming.

      • gigafinger says:

        Agreed. Good thing JA2 still stands the test of time.

  12. danphango says:

    I actually thanked the Emperor for the undo button, because of the drift that happens when you select the next terminator. in order to make the game a little more fast paced, you’re able to select the next termie and give him orders while the last one is still moving. the thing is, selecting another termie causes the camera to pan over to him and i kept assigning guys to the wrong square or facing them in the wrong direction because the pan of the camera was pulling my cursor off to one side.

    • Cleave says:

      Yeah the undo button has saved me from the slightly glitchy interface a couple of times. I don’t think you should be able to undo a dice roll though but fine for accidental movement.

  13. Humanji says:

    Crap. And these guys are making the new Jagged Alliance next. :(

    • Goodtwist says:

      This is actually the bigger catastrophy, as you say.

    • bills6693 says:

      Jagged alliance, and I backed that on kickstarter! I was hoping this game was going to turn out well, as a sort of ‘see, these guys can make a good game, JA is going to be good too!’.

      Instead its ‘dammit, these guys failed at this, guess JA is probably going to be bad too’.

      And at the time I had the money, now I could really use not having backed that :P

    • fdisk says:

      Yup, I actually pulled out of that Kickstarter after having backed it about a week before it ended. The reasons being that 1) It’s a developer with no real track record 2) They kept avoiding showing any type of prototype, the best they did was an interactive 3D diorama and 3) They are a very small developer with no experience already working on another game (Space Hulk) so it seems they bite much more than they can chew.

    • mouton says:

      There is a chance they will learn.

      From what I read about Space Hulk, most of the issues were easily avoidable.

      • Hmm-Hmm. says:

        The question remains that, if these issues were so easily avoidable, why these issues weren’t avoided in the first place.

        But reading the comments, it’s probably not all that bad. Probably still overpriced, but that happens with many games.

  14. DutchDrunk says:

    I understand being mad at bugs, I can understand being mad at a basic feature (the blipping) not implemented well in Hotseat mode. But the rest of this review is just a lot of “BOARDGAME IS BETTER!”.

    Pity, I’d love to have seen a bit more of a neutral take on it.

    • Premium User Badge Malibu Stacey says:

      That’s the main failing of most board game to video game conversions. You have your entire requirements perfectly mapped out for you (aka the already existing board game) so your video game has to be at least as good as the board game otherwise it’s failed. Look at how shit the Blood Bowl games are compared to the board game.

      • sonson says:

        Blood Bowl on the PC still *gets* the core ethos of what it is a digital copy of, what made it good. Whereas I’ve always felt from the previews as though this was missing everything beyond the fact that it’s got Terminators and Genestealers in it and that they’re not friends.

      • GHudston says:

        In my opinion, the PC version of Blood Bowl is far superior to the board game by virtue of giving me enough actual opponents that I can play it more than once in a blue moon. ;)

        • Sparkasaurusmex says:

          plus it does the math for you

          • RProxyOnly says:

            Dude..simple shit you can do in your head is arithmatic… Mathematics is the other stuff with the sign and equations.

            2+2 isn’t Math(s).

            Lesson ended. ….Snort.

          • aircool says:

            Er… arithmetic is an aspect of maths.

    • Javier-de-Ass says:

      neutral take? hehe. the boardgame is the game called space hulk. a videogame called space hulk should be trying to be the game called space hulk, or else what is the point?

    • Premium User Badge frymaster says:

      This is RPS, they don’t do objective reviews.

      Of course, neither does anyone else, but at least RPS are honest about it ;)

  15. merc-ai says:

    SPACE HULK SPACE HULK – remember when articles about this game were like this? So much hype wasted. Also, weird to read this negative Wot I Think while giant Space Hulk ad is in background.

    Seriously, though, it’s shocking – how someone could take a task as simple as porting a board game, and fail so badly? Unbelievable!

    • MacTheGeek says:

      FACE PALM FACE PALM FACE PALM FACE PALM FACE PALM FACE PALM FACE PALM FACE PALM FACE PALM FACE PALM FACE PALM FACE PALM FACE PALM FACE PALM FACE PALM FACE PALM FACE PALM FACE PALM FACE PALM.

  16. Premium User Badge Rizlar says:

    This is not Space Hulk. This is SOUPHULK!

  17. Dog Pants says:

    Thanks for staying up to review this, Rab. I know a number of people who were hovering over the ‘buy’ button but waiting for a review. I hope this might temper their expectations.

  18. GernauMorat says:

    Hey guys, they still have a really positive quote on the Steam page from an RPS PREVIEW masquerading as a review quote. Thought it looked a bit odd yesterday, but know the WIT is up it looks positively dodgy.

    • Cleave says:

      Yeah that’s pretty weird. The same 3 quotes that have been there from previews are now labelled as reviews..

      • Jim Rossignol says:

        That’s an issue we’re aware of. Steam provides people with a “reviews” slot in to which they can drop quotes. It should really be called something like “What the press says” or similar.

    • Somerled says:

      “Space Hulk … is one of the greatest games ever designed.” – Rock Paper Shotgun

      “… a distillation of the very best turn-based strategy mechanics.” – Rock Paper Shotgun

      “What an achievement” – Rock Paper Shotgun

      • mouton says:

        Then again, someone who relies exclusively on such snippets probably also makes their judgement based on things like metacritic or review scores.

        • GernauMorat says:

          Yes, but it’s still at best disingenuous, and is obviously trying to create a false impression

      • Prime says:

        I remember someone in PC Gamer years ago writing a scathing review specifically constructed to frustrate that kind of chopped-sentence marketing. He even said so in his last sentence. “fucking try and market this review, marketing bastards” or something similar that’s probably been exaggerated somewhat in my mind due to my boiling hatred of PC game marketersWHYDONTYOULYINGFUCKSJUSTDIE.

  19. sonson says:

    “Or like, I dunno, like the developers didn’t really care.”

    This is what it always felt like to me from looking at the previews. Just trading off the IP and the good will the series engenders. As a computer game it looks stale and weak, as a computerised board game there appears to have been no thought behind anything but a wrote verbatim copy, and they didn’t even manage that either. No consideration for the medium or the lore or atmosphere or basically all the stuff that makes Space Hulk so good.

    • Dan Griliopoulos says:

      Having met the lead developer, they do care. You can care and make a crappy game too, y’know?

      • Rab says:

        True. Since you’ve met him, give him a ring and tell him not to release any more games that don’t work.

        • mkwilton says:

          While he’s doing that why don’t you stop writing mindless, pointless nerd rants that some people will mistake for a valid review?

          • jrodman says:

            Since you claim to be from the Ministry of Review Validity, I demand to see your identification.

      • sonson says:

        I don’t doubt that they are enthusiastic about Space Hulk, and that they care about the IP and so on. I’m sure they’re incredibly invested in that and really big fans and such. But it would seem that they didn’t care enough to have the professional sense to consider how they could translate that into a faithful representation of the product that was a worthwhile investment for nearly £25, which is something else entirely, because it is patently a long way from that. It’s a jazzed up app asking for nearly twice the price of Unity of Command, which is an excellent strategic game on every level. For that to be the case suggests someone didn’t invest in it as honestly as they should as far as I’m concerned. The radio silence beforehand doesn’t do much to dissuade this impression either.

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      It doesn’t matter if they care. If they don’t care about the IP but are good at making great games, it would be a decent game. They can care immensely but suck at making games and it will be a shit game.

      • Cyphran says:

        This is true. Not everyone is good at their job. Or, sometimes teams of people don’t click and things just don’t work out.

  20. AshRolls says:

    To be fair, it sounds like a lot of the problems that the reviewer had with the game could be quite easily fixed with patches and a few tweaks.

  21. LucasBriggs says:

    I must say that It is a good game. Sure there are some nitpicks here and there but it retains the feeling from the boardgame. You know the claustrofobic feeling, the puzzle that every mission is and the feeling that even though it’s a turnbased game it still feels like you are in a hurry.

    The one thing I def. agree on is the blip thing, hidden genestealers should be blips :)

  22. razgon says:

    The current game lacks all feeling of tension now – I haven’t tried Multiplayer yet, but I’d hope that retains some vestiges of unease and excitement?

  23. GeminiathXL says:

    And to think that my buying-finger was hovering over the “buy this for myself NOW” button for a good 10 minutes before realising I needed more info on what the PC version had become.

    Thank you, Robert, for avoiding a horrible drama that would have evolved at my home if I had decided to buy it today.

    Such a shame, though. Such a shame.

  24. AngusPrune says:

    Alas. But then again, I always thought that Yet Another Spacehulk game was the last thing the 40K license needed.

    Wake me up when they make a faithful recreation of Necromunda.

  25. bstard says:

    It even has 0day DLC. This makes the Emperor weep.

    • Premium User Badge Malibu Stacey says:

      What the actual fuck?
      You’re joking right?

      • TormDK says:

        Full Control has made three additional genestealers “skins”, which were given to preorderers free of charge – and is available for everyone else for purchase.

        • Premium User Badge frymaster says:

          ah, that’s acceptible, I think. I like the idea of giving pre-orders some harmless bonus, and I like the idea of people who didn’t pre-order being able to get them. Shame the game seems to be shit, really :(

          • TormDK says:

            YMMW but I find the game to be fun, find my Wut I think below in the comments.

            It wasn’t a preorder incentive per say, according to Space Hulks facebook page, the DLC became a reality a couple of days before the game went live, but Full Control (wisely I might add) decided that preorders should have it included.

          • Premium User Badge Malibu Stacey says:

            Yeah I have no problems with purely cosmetic stuff like that, it’s when actual game content is denied because you didn’t pay through the nose for a pre-order at a store which doesn’t even exist in your country that really irritates.

  26. The_Great_Skratsby says:

    Aw man.

  27. trjp says:

    Hang on just a second here – let’s take stock of the issues Rab raises

    The “walking through walls” and “alive but dead enemies” are bugs – bugs which should have been caught but the issue is not that they’re there – the issue is how quickly they’re removed (we’re PC gamers – we should be used to some of that).

    The genestealer token count is fixable – but isn’t there a fundamental issue with 2 players on the same screen anyway? I’ve never really gotten why 2 people would play a boardgame on the same PC anyway – the POINT of having it on the PC is playing with people who aren’t with you – if you’re in the same place, get the boardgame out.

    The animations could easily be made skippable – again, it’s whether they will be.

    Someone on the forums here said there were some issues with move calculations – the ‘automatic’ version of a move cost more than the manual step-by-step – again that’s fixable…

    Everything else – the lack of thrills and excitement because your opponent isn’t there in-front of you is probably not quite so easy to fix – but there are things they could do and there are other things you can use like voice/video chat etc – and you can play people who are elsewhere in the world if that’s your bag.

    Overall then, 2 issues stand out

    1 – they need to do some work and how quickly/well they do that will be critical to this game’s reception

    2 – perhaps making boardgames into PC games isn’t a wise idea UNLESS you know how to make it BETTER in the first place.

    • Premium User Badge Malibu Stacey says:

      if you’re in the same place, get the boardgame out.

      Because everyone can drop £200-300 on the limited copies of Space Hulk available for purchase on eBay?

      • GHudston says:

        That’s not the video games fault, though.

        • Magnusm1 says:

          Okay? Doesn’t change the fact that Space Hulk should have functional hotseat-multiplayer.

          • GHudston says:

            But it does have functional hotseat multiplayer. The ONLY difference is that the genestealer blips aren’t hidden like they are in the board game.

            It’s not ideal but sadly, when two players are playing on the same screen, it is impossible to give only one player hidden information. It’s not an easy fix if you really think about it.

    • Lawful Evil says:

      (we’re PC gamers – we should be used to some of that)

      Yeah, we are so used to be treated like shit so many times, that bugs are a normal thing to be expected. Yes, due to the complexity of the video games and variation in hardware there will always be bugs, but I am always irritated by them nonetheless, and I refuse to be “used to them”.

      • aircool says:

        I remember the days when games weren’t slated for having tons of bugs (in particular, Neverwinter Nights 2 and Battlefield 2142 were two games that received good reviews but were bugged to buggery).

        I don’t miss those days. Even a good game should get a kicking for having bugs which are more than an inconvenience.

    • Rab says:

      The digital version of Magic: The Gathering is a great example of something that is a pleasure to play. It has everything the card game has, beautifully packaged, and it flows with ease. I’m certainly no board game purist weirdo who thinks that board and card games should stay on a table.

      • almostDead says:

        Perhaps you just aren’t as aware of the problems with the magic rules that the dotp version has, as you are with this space hulk conversion. And you complained about the timer in that game.

        You are too familiar with your subject.

        • Synesthesia says:

          Agree with this. MTG has its own set of problems.

        • KikiJiki says:

          Yeah, I second this. DotP is full of incorrect rules interpretations compared to MTG:O which is just as ‘clunky’ as Space Hulk is.

          • Premium User Badge Xantonze says:

            What are those problems? I’ve been playing Dotp for the past few days, and nothing struck me as strange (except the mulligan rule, which is pretty good imho). Problems with mana and damage allocation could be solved in the options.
            Overall, I think it’s an excellent little game. Too bad there are only ~250 cards… and no planeswalker.(?)

            EDIT: though I saw some pretty strange priority problems when dealings with instants or effects like protection…but I thought It was all down to my ignorance.

        • Jorum says:

          Thing is DOTP is £7 not £25.
          And while it is not 100% accurate mechanic , most of the differences are advanced stuff that I suspect is not going to matter to 95% of matches or players.
          Also DOTP doesn’t claim to be full 100% digital version of Magic the Gathering. The game loading screens actually advertise MTG online which is the full deal.

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      You can do this with any shitty game. Make a list of reasons it’s shitty then say “okay fix those and it won’t be so shitty!”
      If you keep polishing a turd eventually you have nothing left.

  28. Kakrafoon says:

    I wish it had some x-com-like teambuilding elements. Sure, the Terminators are 400-year-old-veterans that don’t “level up” anymore, but for me there’s no motivation to play the game when I have to start every mission with a generic squad of battle brothers I have no connection with.

    • Premium User Badge Malibu Stacey says:

      That would be a different game not Space Hulk.

      • Sparkasaurusmex says:

        quite possibly a better game

        • ceriphim says:

          The unlock or progression element seems to come up quite a bit, here’s my take on it-

          Yes, I realize if there were unlocks/progression it wouldn’t be “SH:The Board Game”. To be honest, I’m enjoying the gameplay and *loving* the visuals. I’m a hardcore 40k fluff fan, and can almost never get enough game realization of the novels (I don’t play tabletop but have done some models for use in Dark Heresy sessions)

          BUT, here’s the problem – the gameplay’s so shallow that there’s nothing else to it. I agree, $30 (or whatever) is too much for this game. For that, I was *really* hoping there would be some sort of RPG/progression elements, even if they were just new purity seals added for survivors. As it is, I don’t see myself replaying the vanilla game much if at all

          What would keep me coming back for tons more:
          -Rapid release of mod tools/editor for the community to go to town on (can you imagine a Grey Knights vs Demons mod? Standard tactical/assault marines in place of termies? An inquisitor & warband? Orks infesting the hulk instead of ‘stealers? Multiple races/factions on the same map??? The mind boggles at the possibilities…)
          -A real single-player campaign with a limited number of marines for the entire campaign: With only four squads to clear out this hulk, every single death means something and there is the real possibility of finding yourself in a campaign fail-state
          -Perma-death, naming, customization (within the limits imposed on each mission for weaponry, etc), end-of-mission and ongoing K/D tallies – give me SOMETHING to care about beyond just winning this stand-alone mission

          Overall, I like the game. I just wish there was at least ONE other layer to it. The nice thing about the board game is that you *could* do these things – I could write a 5-mission campaign with a friend in which we agree he only has 10 marines to use. Each death is heartbreaking, every move meaningful. They carry real & permanent consequences, creating tension and anxiety. Hell I could even create a Dark Heresy Space Hulk campaign quite easily, with all the progression and more.

          Why is every single GW-licensed 40k game (since DoW) so fucked up and shallow? They had such a good thing going with the original DoW but none of the releases since then have been satisfying for more than a few hours.

          Frustrated fan is frustrated.

    • LionsPhil says:

      there’s no motivation to play the game [without progressive unlock nonsense]

      This is generally an indicator of a game that is not actually fun, which is the root problem there.

      • bills6693 says:

        Wait, do you mean having progression is an indicator the base game is not fun, or that this game is not fun since the person is not motivated to play?

        • Ilinx says:

          I read that as meaning if you’re thinking looking to progression to make the game fun, then the game wasn’t fun in the first place. So, the latter?

          • LionsPhil says:

            Yes, that.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Not necessarily – think about Cannon Fodder. The game was a blast but that little subtle extra addition of naming of your guys and giving them a rank and a gravestone made it deadly personal every time you lost one. While it may not be progression as suggested, it certainly gave you a bond with the squad which was the spirit of the suggestion.

            Also of note, Ian Livingstone wrote a campaign shortly before the latest board game was announced with named terminators, histories and as you lost them in the campaign, that unique member of your squad was gone forever…. he said it was inspired by Necromunda. Guess what was included in the latest board game, those same names and histories.

      • The Godzilla Hunter says:

        I would have to disagree.

        I think there is a difference between content being artificially being unlocked, like in COD or LoL, and having a sense of progression, like in most RPGs or Dawn of War.

        In the former, the unlocks are a simple trick to make people play longer, which is used to make up for bad game design. In the latter, the progression adds to the game, as you become invested in the characters, and are able to shape them.

        • LionsPhil says:

          I don’t think you actually disagree.

          I just mean that if you’re not motivated without that the core game is bad. You can take any number of games which do have progression (pick your favourite RPG, more or less), and while stripping out the progression would harm it, it’d still be fun (e.g. think once you’ve hit the level cap and have all the best loot).

          • smb says:

            That is the point. GOOD progression either enhances the core experience, or becomes mechanically inseparable from it. The question should always be, “Is this system enjoyable and well-realized?” instead of, “Would the game be as fun without it?”

            Answering the latter will result in “no” almost every time, because progression is integral to so many games. Keep in mind that this includes more than STATS and GEAR. Introducing new enemy types and power-ups throughout a game also qualifies. The original Mario Bros. arcade game is a good example. In fact, I can only think of a few game types with zero progression; basically anything focused around multiplayer or randomly generated challenges (puzzle games, competitive FPS, etc.)

            Edit: Now that I think about it, even puzzle games tend to have progressive mechanics (more complex patterns, speeding up over time.) Which leaves competitive multiplayer for the most part… Makes sense why so many developers opt to include multiplayer modes, huh?

  29. TormDK says:

    Here’s Wut I think : (Preordered it, haven’t played the board game at all – so a fresh open mind you could say, even though An open mind is like a fortress with its gates unbarred and unguarded.).

    On animations: It’s true that you have to wait for the terminators to chunk along, but since you can select another marine while one is moving, It’s not that big a deal in practice. The biggest wait is having to wait through the genestealer turn plays out, which can take awhile if a lone Brother is overwatching a corridor filled to the rim with genestealers. I would agree that players should be given the choice, reach out to the developers on facebook and suggest it.

    On Doors: Couldn’t say, haven’t missed any yet – but I would agree that from a tactical perspective you will be bumrushed by stealers if you don’t cover your every angle, even on Normal difficulty. As it should be. Space Hulk is not pulling any punches in that aspect, for which I am glad.

    On Hotseat: Haven’t tried it yet, I’m way way too timid :P, plus PayDay 2 with friends.

    On bugs: Haven’t found any yet, so I can’t mirror the RPS reviewers sentiment. Prehaps my Windows 8 Pro machine is simply blessed by the Emperor himself?

    Overall I’m finding it a good tactical game. Over time I might venture into multiplayer and pit my wits against human opponents, but right now the game itself if challenging enough as it is. Marines are made of wet tissue paper against these genestealers, which (for me atleast, having played FFG’s various Warhammer 40K RPGs) felt a bit wierd.

    • almostDead says:

      You will find bugs though. Until 1.0.1 comes out, which the devs have promised ASAP (today), you cannot pass mission 6.

  30. Chris D says:

    That’s not great. I hadn’t quite given up hope about half-way through the review, as it seemed that a lot of those issues shouldn’t be too difficult to patch out, but if it’s case of an endemic lack of either inspiration or care then there ain’t no fixing that.

    Sad and puzzling. If a designer is producing a great original idea I can forgive them if the technical implementation and presentation is a bit shonky. But if you’re adapting a pre-existing boardgame then the the design work has already been done for you and if what you’re bringing to the table is the technical implementation and the presentation then there really isn’t any excuse for making these kinds of basic mistakes.

  31. Burrito says:

    Remember this?

    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2009/09/30/definitely-not-space-hulk-alien-assault/

    This is still a thing. And a pretty good one, too.

  32. Cutter888 says:

    I’ve been hovering over that buy button on steam for ages, hoping this would be a worthy version, but it sounds like I’m going to have to pass and find another avenue to relieved my desperation to play this damn game.

    It’s not even on Vassal!

    • datom says:

      I know I’m just repeating what many others have said but please try Alien Assault.

      Alien assault has a large modding community which has rebuilt a large number of the campaigns, included graphic packs that let you play as a range of chapters, and built in DOW2 tunes. It’s ace.

  33. AbyssUK says:

    I haven’t been this dissapointed since that god awful speedball 2 remake came out that didn’t even work correctly with gamepads… how does this happen how do big game names like this end up in the hands of people who clearly don’t know what they are doing…

  34. Totally heterosexual says:

    Well fuck.

  35. Winstons says:

    I have to disagree with this review. It comes across as over the top to me. Frankly I’m a little taken aback by the vitriol in it, and it seems a little petulant. I thoroughly enjoyed playing the game last night and am looking forward to some multiplayer with friends later. I see a lot of people drawing their opinions from this review without trying the game and writing it off, demolishing the companies work without even trying the product, and I think that is a shame. I loved the boardgame as a kid and this is just as fun. The points Robert raises I find either didn’t annoy me, or I didn’t notice.

    It is a nice, simple game, and I use that term in a positive sense. There are no fancy loading menus or cutscenes, no bells or whistles. It is literally just the board game, with a short added tutorial. The animations are simple, the graphics nice, the game fun. I just find it disappointing that this RPS writer has savaged it so badly and altered the opinion of people that may have enjoyed it.

    • Bull0 says:

      No demo, so trying it means throwing £23 at it. Consider that. And Rab’s mostly criticised it as a bad board game adaptation – the blip counters being face-up totally breaking it as a 2-player game, for example. Writing that off as “vitriol” seems over the top to me, and might change peoples’ perception of a well-written article. ( :P )

      • Winstons says:

        You’re quite right Bull0 – a demo would have been very nice (just packaging up the tutorial would have worked easily enough). The hotseat blip bug – fair enough. I would hope a mistake like this would be patched quickly. That part isn’t vitriol certainly – but the tone and wording of the whole review throughout carries that impression. RPS is such a respected site I just find it a shame that it’s so hostile and will have such an effect on the readers. To describe it as “about as bad as it could possibly be” is pure hyperbole.

        XhomeB sums it up more succinctly than I.

        • Rab says:

          I think it’s the worst adaptation of Space Hulk I’ve played. The old EA one was better. The little indie one that got the cease and desist was better. It is – in my opinion anyway – as bad as a modern implementation of the game could possibly be. It doesn’t even WORK. And sure, this is PC-land, and that stuff can be patched out. But that stuff shouldn’t happen, not in an adaptation as simple as this.

          • ThomasLund says:

            I am obviously totally in disagreement with you Rob, but you are totally entitled to your opinion. I just find it very sad that so many people take your rant? as a review of the game.

            We have been ultra true to the game. We have also had a ton of hardcore hardcore Space Hulk fans play the game during development (including your own Alec Meer) – and everyone loved it completely. Including Games Workshop. Including hundreds of fans at Rezzed and 2 Games Days full of Space Hulk fans.

            Just shocking really, and I hope people will give it a second look and judge by themselves.

          • gunny1993 says:

            We?

          • Rab says:

            It is a review of the game. I could have went further, and spoken about the camera “drift” that makes quick selection of units difficult. And I could have went much heavier on the fact you released a game that has a mid-campaign mission that can’t be completed. And sure, you’ll patch it and fix it, but the fact remains that you released an expensive game to market that doesn’t actually work.

          • Winstons says:

            Thanks for the reply Rab, that’s appreciated. I can’t tell you your opinion is wrong after all, I just cannot agree with it. A game being released with bugs requiring a patch is never acceptable – but although they shouldn’t, modern games tend to fit this model. I am just disappointed you couldn’t enjoy it. Calling it ‘as bad as it could be’ is very strong, and I just can’t call that accurate.

            I also have to agree with some other comments here, that none of these nit-picks were picked up before by any preview testers, including those from RPS, who gushed about it.

            Thomas – it seems a game as venerable as Space Hulk always attracts strong opinions – I hope it is some comfort to your team that I and my friends think the game is great fun.

      • GHudston says:

        I still think the blip thing is a massive nit pick. I genuinely have no idea how they would manage to have hidden information when both players are looking at the same screen and the fact that it’s not the case in the multiplayer suggests that it was done out of necessity, not choice.

        The fact of it is that if you’re a fan of the board game and you have a friend over to play Space Hulk, play the board game. Save the video game for playing with friends over the internet or playing against the AI.

        • Premium User Badge frymaster says:

          the board game managed without the blips revealing how many were attached just fine.

          Solution is easy, have the numbers turned off and have a key the alien player can use on their turn which, while pressed, flashes up the numbers. That way they’re hidden by default but the player can still ask the marine player to look away while he checks

        • Bull0 says:

          Well it’s hot seat, so I guess you show the numbers when it’s the genestealer player’s turn and hide them when it’s the blood angels player’s turn, etc. Hotseat mode is a throwback, looking away from the screen when it’s not your turn might seem anachronistic but if you aren’t going to make it work why bother implementing it at all, eh?

    • Jonfon says:

      I see a lot of people drawing their opinions from this review without trying the game and writing it off, demolishing the companies work without even trying the product.

      Is there a demo available somewhere so, or how would one go about trying it before buying?

    • XhomeB says:

      It does seem like certain things are completely blown out of proportion, like the Overwatch issue.

    • Arflec says:

      Having had a chance to play through the prologue missions and the first few “real missions,” I have to agree with those saying the review is over the top. Seems like perspective and expectations coming in mean a lot. I’ve not played the original board game, although I have played quite a bit of the Death Angel card game. Coming from that background, I have very much enjoyed the game. Death Angel is solitaire/co-op, so it is you against the “AI” of the game mechanics. It is therefore a more deliberate, slow burn kind of experience rather than what Rab has enjoyed with the Space Hulk board game. Coming into the PC version, I was expecting that sense of ratcheting tension, and I got it. The deliberate movements of the Terminator units with the grainy shoulder cam footage really nailed what I envisioned in my head as I played Death Angel.

      I haven’t run into many bugs beyond the odd clipping error that had a Genestealer come run through a door before the opening animation played, but I understand the frustration of the show-stopper in mission six. To be fair, though, it sounds like that one is done and dusted at this point, less than 24 hours after release. Not saying it is great, but it is hardly front page news that a game ships with errors, even serious ones. Developer response seems to have been timely and appropriate, so how much crow do they have to eat to make people happy?

      Others have mentioned it in their comments, but there is clearly a lot of love for the WH40K universe in this adaptation and if you come into it with the right expectations, there is a lot to like here.

    • mkwilton says:

      It’s the classic mindless petulant rant by an ultra-nerd fanboy with rose-tinted glasses who can’t switch off his shiny filter wherein his imagination added a whole ton more weight to a simple childhood boardgame than any digitally realised version ever could.

      Totally imbalanced, part opinion, partly misguided, mostly rant – there are a few seemingly valid points made but sadly most of it is a nerd in his underwear going blue in the face cos mummy took away his favourite toy. It’s a shame to read this sort of crap at RPS as I’m used to something at least vaguely useful in most of the ‘reviews’ or ‘opinion pieces’ here.

  36. Cleave says:

    I think I just encountered the same thing on mission 6. Moved my Librarian to the exit with the 2 terminators behind him ready to go on the same turn, boom! mission failed. I guess the idea is to have the guy you have to protect exposed at the back then…

    Annoying, but I’ll learn for next time. It was a hard won (lost) battle as well :(

  37. John Walker says:

    WHAT IS SO WRONG WITH SOUP?!

    • TormDK says:

      Soup is not food.

    • sonson says:

      WOMEN LIKE IT

      • XhomeB says:

        THERE ARE NO WOMEN IN THIS GAME, THAT’S WHY RPS DECIDED TO TRASH IT!
        You know it to be true.

        • John Walker says:

          Where exactly DO baby space marines come from?

          • LionsPhil says:

            Dire Storks, covered in skulls and parchment.

          • KikiJiki says:

            @LionsPhil Dire Storks? WHAT HERESY IS THIS?

            Surely you mean Servo Skulls?

          • TormDK says:

            They come from grown marines innards (Progenoids) of course!

          • Premium User Badge Malibu Stacey says:

            There’s no such thing as “baby space marines” John. You are obviously being silly for comedic effect.

            Surely Rab has indoctrinated you into the entire lore of WH40K by now?

          • Bull0 says:

            @LionsPhil borne aloft on a jump pack and armed with a master-crafted storm bolter and frag grenades

          • jonfitt says:

            A brother takes a young boy to the monastery, puts some gene seed inside him, and that makes him special.
            Nothing shady going on there.

        • Premium User Badge Gap Gen says:

          “Dying xenophobic militant theocracy promotes unequal gender roles.”

          But granted, very few Warhammer games say “actually, the side you’re playing is pretty much evil, now go and massacre an entire planet because somebody drew a moustache on the Emperor’s portrait”.

          • aircool says:

            You get them from games workshop for about £30 for five. Glue them together and wait for them to grow.

    • Low Life says:

      Soupgate 2: The son of Soup

  38. Premium User Badge PoulWrist says:

    Oh well. I was looking forward to this. Good thing it was so ridiculously expensive on steam that I held out.

  39. caddyB says:

    Yeah, never preorder or get excited about anything. Especially if they won’t send out review copies before the release.

  40. Premium User Badge DrScuttles says:

    My enthusiasm has been somewhat kicked in the soft parts. But as a few other people have mentioned, some of these issues could be addressed in patches. I’ll probably still pick it up sometime though an AI opponent will actually give me someone to play against.
    That this version is somewhat underwhelming just makes me want a game in the style of Vengeance Of The Blood Angels that much more. Or even a Hired Guns reboot.

    • Premium User Badge Malibu Stacey says:

      Or even a Hired Guns reboot

      You mean remake or HD’ifying or modern update. No thanks on a reboot.

      • fish99 says:

        Agreed. A HD version of Hired Guns would possibly be the best thing ever (or even some way of getting the sound working with the PC version and Dosbox). A reboot would probably turn it into an FPS and lose everything that made it special.

      • Premium User Badge DrScuttles says:

        Oh good grief, yes that was exactly what I meant. Remake, not reboot. The fingers were working faster than the brain this afternoon.

    • thekelvingreen says:

      Oh gosh yes, a Hired Guns remake would be spectacular.

  41. Phinor says:

    Well, at least you can disable the action camera. The movement is still damn slow – although you can for example click end turn after committing to a move, the movement animation still plays through before the game moves on. I hate that the dice rolls are just small numbers in a small window, let me roll the dice! I’m not expecting miracles, just dice that I can click.

    There’s plenty of good in this game but the annoying bits are there too. but that’s coming from someone who never played the board game. I’m not going to say it’s a mess, but it could use few patches at least.

  42. XhomeB says:

    What’s going on here? People on Steam forums who are obviously familiar with the boardgame either LOVE it or at least enjoy it a lot.
    I don’t care about multiplayer, so that’s a few negatives less, I supposed.

    • ramirezfm says:

      You must have read a different forum then. There seems to be a love/hate relationship with this game. There are many hate threads and some love threads. I think it’s all taken out of proportion. Everything that is wrong with this game can be easily fixed… by downloading Alien Assault and uninstalling Space Hulk.

  43. The Sombrero Kid says:

    I just downloaded the board game & it doesn’t sync my progress with my copy of the board game at my mums house & I have to phone my friend & get him to describe his moves down the phone at me, shit game.

  44. Deadite says:

    I picked this game up despite the worrying lack of reviews because Warhammer. At least all the things mentioned in this review are relatively minor fixes. If they fix the bugs and tweak it a little it could still be decent. I really hope they won’t just leave it as is. It needs more missions more variety too. Leave the board game section as a faithful recreation then add a more in depth campaign with a proper storyline on top.

    Well one can dream.

  45. Lawful Evil says:

    The review is harsh (perhaps a bit too much), but very informative nonetheless. Appreciated.

  46. Yosharian says:

    Yiiiikes this is some harsh shit right here.

    I knew something was up when I saw there was a review embargo, thank fuck I didn’t drop 20 quid on this last night, I almost did but was too busy playing MWO.

  47. Warruz says:

    Iv played about a few levels so far and i have to say while the slow terminator movement ,few bugs,and the blips need fixing(a simply patch could handle) its a fine game.Perhaps its because i am someone who has never played the board game so my view is different but i must agree with the others where lots of the issue sounds like “This isnt the exact same as the board game” .

    There is far to much black and white in this comments and even the article, its either Boardgame or video games. Guess what? Its neither , its a hybrid of the two and will end up blending both elements giving you neither a truly board game experience or a complete video game experience.

  48. Oathbreaker says:

    >THUNK-THUNK-THUNK-THUNK-THUNK

    More like Move – Wheeze – Move – Wheeze – Face wall – Wheeze – Turn – Shoot off at an angle.

    The animations just kill me. The attack animations make me not want to play. I guess I was right to wait for the inevitable $5 sale.

  49. Premium User Badge hobbity_j says:

    I bought this like a chump based on the previews on this here website I subscribe to and really trust. The review seems to do a complete 180 on the previews. was there no inkling at preview? did none of the issues you had come up before? The sites excitement was infectious.

    That said, you didn’t make me buy it, I should know better than to pre purchase. I have a weakness for 40K adaptions.

    so no hard feelings, I’ll play it and hopefully soon I’ll stop being quite so rubbish.

    • KDR_11k says:

      Well, bugs can’t really be judged in a preview because it’s an incomplete build and of course there are bugs in those, the expectation is that the bugs will be ironed out by release.

      Also I guess it has to do with the time spent playing, just seeing a few minutes of a game doesn’t tell you much about how annoying things like slow animations get later on.

      • Premium User Badge hobbity_j says:

        Thats fair, I’ve played the tutorial missions and have failed the first mission a few times now. The game seems hard, not a huge fan of how often my guns jam. Its not amazing.

        my issue was with the gulf of difference in the preview writing and the review. it feels a little misleading. but that’s what I get for pre purchasing!

    • Javier-de-Ass says:

      you don’t value judge something in a preview. you just see what’s there, talk about what’s missing or what the developers are trying to do or what else they’re going to add. you can mostly not just guess at what will actually be added or fixed or not from a preview build.

  50. Runic says:

    I registered just to say this: This review is as bad as the game ( apparently ) itself. This is just a full fanboy biased rage without anything neutral being said, and deviates from the usual ( albeit changing ) quality of reviews written by RPS. I don’t believe the game deserves this tbh.

    Long time reader, but I had to register just to say this. This review is utterly negative, and doesn’t seem like it was written objectively AT ALL.

    I shall wait for a more neutral review, altough I do believe the game might not be awesome. I hope they atleast patch it better.

    • datom says:

      With all due respect, long time readers surely understand how a Wot I Think differs from an objective (ahem) review in traditional gamesmags. You have used the word review four times even though RPS always makes quite clear that it does not ‘review’ games in the manner you seem to suggest they normally do.

      And if by more neutral means likes it more, I’m pretty sure metacritic can point you towards a range of people who will give it 8/10. If you want Rab to like it more, I’m not sure that’s a problem that can really be helped.

      • Runic says:

        They can say what they like, in essence these are reviews even if they have a more personal flavor to them. And nothing will change this being one of the worst and most seemingly biased “Wot I Think Totally Not A Review” -of all time.

        And why would you try and imply I’m not a long time reader? What’s the point? In the end it won’t matter though, because I am, and nothing you say will change that. Haven’t felt the need to register except now, and in the end I’m trying to do good here: criticize a bad article that clearly has been affected by somesort of rage.

        Definetly dented credibility to me. And it seems I’m not alone, judging by other comments. The writer can have his opinion, but this article provides little actual context.

        • datom says:

          I apologise if you think I was suggesting you weren’t a long time reader. What I meant was that in every bloody Wot I Think every written, people post to describe it as objective/biased and a bad review. As a long-time reader yourself, I presume you have seen some of these before and are aware of the standard responses. It makes me wonder why you would register to demonstrate your frustration with this, when it’s pretty much standard operating procedure.

          There is an area of grey (see F:NV) when issues are described misleadingly or are factually incorrect. Are you arguing that the problems Rab describes are factually incorrect? If so, that’s a valid argument. If you are saying ‘they don’t bother me as much as they do Rab, so they shouldn’t be covered in such prominence”, I don’t think that is a valid argument.

          I think my problem is using terms like ‘not objective’ and ‘biased’, when of course all reviews are subjective and biased. What I think you mean is ‘fair’ and ‘balanced’, by which (in this context) you mean describing more positives around the game. But if Rab isn’t positive about the game, then I’m not sure he should pretend to be. I had some fears about this conversion and they *appear* to be realised. If I hear from other sources I trust that those fears are needless, I will still buy it, or if they release a demo. For that reason this review was exceptionally useful to me. Had Rab pretended to like it for your benefit, that would have made the review less useful for me, and may have encouraged me to purchase it and then feel a similar level of frustration to Rab.

          I do appreciate you are trying to right a wrong, but as I have just proved, RPS comments allow you to write a lot of words on a given subject. The way you can do most good is by posting your own impressions of the game. Genuinely, the only people I trust more on games than RPS writers are RPS commenters.

          • Everblue says:

            For what it’s worth – a whole bunch of people in my Blood Bowl forum have bought the game and the feedback is that people are having fun with it. Multiplayer is apparently a blast.

          • Supahewok says:

            Speaking of long time readers, do y’all remember Quinns review of Fallout: New Vegas? ‘cuz I get the same vibes from this review as from that one. And what game is one of the darlings of the PC gaming world now?

            Yeah. I’m taking this review with a mighty big grain of salt.

        • LucasBriggs says:

          Have to agree, also registered to comment. The whole “review” smells of someone venting their rage.

          • gunny1993 says:

            Venting their rage at a game they see after having played a decent amount of the game and state why they dislike it quoting specific instances.

            Sounds like a review to me, objectivity is impossible, everything is subjective.

            What you’re looking for is a change-log not a review.

          • LucasBriggs says:

            Well, there is a saying, “speak in anger and you will hold the best speech you ever will regret” or something like that (translated from Swedish), not saying that it’s his best speech or that he regrets it.

            In fact I like the “my point of view” format, but this one went a bit to far.

          • gunny1993 says:

            I would say it is passion, not anger. Both lead to a review with lots of personal feeling, but i feel he backed it up with enough examples for me not to dismiss it.

            Even if you discard all the stuff where he is putting in his opinion you still end up with a bunch of bugs and massive oversights that hardly make me willing to put his opinions aside for good. Even if these can be patched out, it’s enough to make me apathetic towards the game at best.

          • LucasBriggs says:

            In any case there really ought to be a demo :)

        • Sparkasaurusmex says:

          A “worst review of all time” is going to be a favorable review of a bad game. Slandering a game is never as bad as saying shit smells like roses.

          (besides, this is a bad video game, so it doesn’t really matter how he gets the message across, as long as we understand that the message is “don’t buy this.”)

    • Bull0 says:

      So although you haven’t played it you’ve got no problem telling someone who has that they don’t know what they’re talking about. Cool!