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.

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393 Comments »

  1. KDR_11k says:

    I guess I should just drop some money at Templar Assault for my phone, that’s basically an off-brand Space Hulk from what I can tell and since the devs are the garage type of indie it doesn’t have animations at all to waste time with.

  2. lowprices says:

    Glad I bought Gone Home last night instead of this. I knew no pre-release reviews was an ominous sign.

  3. JiminyJickers says:

    I’m enjoying it so far, only a few missions in. The only problem I have is that it runs slightly sluggish on my laptop.

    Very happy to have purchased this. Can’t wait for the level editor to be released.

  4. Drinking with Skeletons says:

    While I’m not saying your opinion isn’t valid, I’m going to have to read some more reviews before I decide to take the plunge or avoid like the plague. Having never played the board game, many of your criticisms sound like typical strategy video game complaints (particularly the “wait for everyone’s turn to finish”). Hotseat is problematic, but there’s probably no full solution unless they somehow institute a feature to keep you from looking at the screen along with your opponent.

    The bugs sound like the worst problem, but even then that’s going to depend on the issue. I’ve seen plenty of games (including games I love dearly) where a model didn’t disappear correctly, for example, and that sounds like something that could–should–be patched out. Will they be fixed? That’s the real question.

    Frankly, I’d love an RPS Verdict–been awhile, hasn’t it?–to get a multi-point perspective.

    • ramirezfm says:

      If you like your numbers some other site gave the game 6/10 and said : After playing it, I feel like $29.99 is a little too steep for what is essentially a very basic strategy game that is missing some standard features.

      I’ll wait for 75% off…

      • Rab says:

        And that site didn’t even mention the game-ending bug halfway through the campaign.

        • Malibu Stacey says:

          Which suggest said site ‘reviewed’ the game without getting to the 6th mission where people are getting the mission failure even when successful.

        • JiminyJickers says:

          Yeah, that is a bad one, luckily I haven’t gotten up to it yet. They did mention they are fixing it in their first patch. Still, from someone who has never played the board game and only played the original, I am really enjoying it.

          I hope you will give it another go when it has the bugs worked out.

      • Drinking with Skeletons says:

        I don’t really care about numbers, but a lot of the criticisms here come down to “it isn’t as good as the boardgame version.” That’s fine and dandy if you’ve played the boardgame and care about that comparison, but if you haven’t it’s difficult to find that to be compelling criticism. Even the very fair “it’s hard to see all the doors because of the lighting” is buried beneath a reminder that the author has played the board game so much that he knows where all the doors are.

  5. P-Dazzle says:

    I think everyone knew how bad this would be when they refused to let anybody review pre-launch. There is only 1 reason you would do that!

  6. Swamp Fancy says:

    “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.”

    Mission 6 right? same for me :/

    • Rab says:

      Yep – played it three times, spending over an hour on a mission that simply can’t be completed.

      • Cleave says:

        does it not work if you get the 2 terminators out before the librarian? I haven’t tested it yet but it seemed like that to me as it gave me the game over screen as soon as i moved the librarian out ahead of the others.

    • notenome says:

      yeah mission six is broken right now. The devs have apologized and are releasing a bug fix in a couple hours.

  7. apocraphyn says:

    What a shame. Highlighting Crimson Shroud was a bit unexpected, mind. Thoroughly enjoyed that game, despite the bastard skeleton key section.

    • Diziet Sma says:

      That and the fact you can’t actually move your pieces in Crimson Shroud, unless I played it through twice missing some fundamental feature. Sure you can move the party from location to location but not tactically move the characters themselves. Or do I need to go back and play it again?

  8. Tomhai says:

    reading the arictle while Space Hulks ad is the background of RPS… priceless

  9. Auru says:

    I am sad about this.

    I was really hoping this would be a good version of the board game, with PC gaming related features to make it all the more enjoyable.. it’s a game I have lived with all my adult life really, different editions of the board game.. the old PC version with the Deathwing termies.. the newer Blood Angel versions of hulk.. i’m saddened that this version is so lacklustre since it’s being released now.. older versions did so much more justice to that horrible feeling you get when a blip becomes 6 genestealers :)

    40k deserves excellent gaming titles… take the Space Hulk name, turn it into a slow paced Dead Space 1 type crawl through a derelict hulk.. limited ammo.. solid melee combat, weighty movement and attacks.. make you feel like a terminator!

    plz :(

  10. mattamd says:

    To be fair Robert, this review was more of your opinions on why digital board games aren’t your thing. I feel like the only thing that would have made you happy is top down view of the literal board game pieces and you physically picking up figures to move them around the map. That’s not what this game is trying to do. The board game already exists, if you want that EXACT experience you can have it elsewhere. This game was meant to be a nice way to play this game solo against AI or from a distance with friends. It has done a fantastic job of recreating the Space Hulk feel in a digital format. This game incorporates 95% of the original board game rules and does a pretty damn good job of it. The minor rules changes are pretty evenly spread out on both sides so they’re actually pretty well balanced.

    That being said, it’s certainly not without it’s problems. The price is absolutely too high. $30 is just asking too much. I’m sure the license from GW is why they’re asking this high price,but still the cap should have been $15-20. Also, I agree that the game could definitely use more options toggles to customize things a little more for the player. Lastly they could have done a LITTLE bit more with some of the gun sound effects. However most of this stuff could be fixed with a few patches and bug fixes, nothing that makes me want to give up the game forever.

    I’m a long time fan of the board games (I own over 200 games) and own a copy of Space Hulk 3rd Edition that I play regularly. I spent more than 4 hours last night screaming and laughing with this game. The claustrophobic atmosphere and tension was replicated very well. I was regularly posting and reading updates with other players in Google+ groups and everyone seemed to feel the same way…They loved it! I was even able to play a game with a friend and we had no issues at all. This IS Space Hulk, it’s just a little different when it’s not on a table.

    All I’m saying is that this game really can be a blast if you’re going into it with the right mindset. I hate to say it Robert but you were just expecting a little too much cardboard in your PC game.

    • Syphus says:

      Pretty much everything you said.

    • Yosharian says:

      “To be fair Robert, this review was more of your opinions on why digital board games aren’t your thing.”

      I didn’t get that at all, what I got from his review was that he loves Space Hulk and doesn’t feel that the game is a good approximation of it, for the reasons he stated.

      • mattamd says:

        That’s not really want he says. He complains more about the fact that this isn’t the same exact thing as playing the Space Hulk board game. Which is honestly just silly. It’s obviously not the same exact thing as sitting at a table and rolling dice and moving figures on cardboard tiles. You’re sitting at a computer and playing it with a mouse and keyboard.

        That being said, the core of this game is nearly a LITERAL COPY of the Space Hulk 3rd Ed. board game rules. Any time an action happens, it plays EXACTLY like it, the models look EXACTLY like it. I mean, every single piece of this game is the board game but with added animations, sounds and transferred to a digital format. The major difference is that you can play this game against AI in a campaign or online with friends.

        It’s still too expensive and needs some polish, but there’s no reason why a fan of Space Hulk should hate a game that is nearly identical to the board game in every way. I just honestly don’t understand what they would have needed to do to make this guy happy. He complains left and right about how it’s NOT Space Hulk, but then doesn’t mention what would have actually made it feel like the “real thing”… Which is why I think his review is poorly written. It’s just ranting about how playing a computer version isn’t the same this as sitting at a table with your friends rolling dice. Really…you don’t say?!

    • Moraven says:

      He did mention an example of a digital board game done right, in his eyes. Which I think is not a bad thing when digitizing these games. I feel animations should be there, but quick and fluid. Take advantage of what the digital world can do where the physical can not.

      Would a Clix game have stands and no animations? Proably not, you can put the clix data in the UI and give great character to the game.

      • Cleave says:

        They were trying to highlight the cumbersome bulky armour with the animations and sound effects and they did a pretty good job. The animations don’t take that long and you can move units before the previous one has finished moving. The only thing about it that bugs me is that when they’re turning they’ll walk up to a wall, stop, then turn which looks a bit silly, especially as you can see their first person viewpoint in a camera window. It could have been more fluid but it’s a minor nitpick.

        I think the main problems with this game are an overall lack of polish and a relatively high price. They were showing off the alpha version a couple of months ago so it seems pretty early for its release, and it shows. It should have had a closed beta at least but they probably just ran out of money.

        What worries me though is that as a small developer, with jagged aliance surely ramping up production soon, who’s going to be left to support this?

  11. wodin says:

    Are these the same doing the next JA game?

    Also you want a great SH game look no further than the link below..and their also making AA2. Go to the forum to have your say in AA2 development.

    http://www.teardown.se/

    • ceriphim says:

      Is there any work still being done on this? I glanced around the AA2 links and see a lot from around 2011, but not much more recent. I played the original AA with some mods but the graphics and absolutely brutal gameplay put me off, TBH.

  12. Lagwolf says:

    No preview copy to reviewers is always a bad sign for a game. Sadly I am not at all shocked by how poor the game is…

  13. Syphus says:

    Its not usually I completely disagree with an RPS review. But aside from the bugs (which I haven’t even experienced), I pretty much disagree with almost everything else.

    And on top of that, I have not missed a single door yet.

  14. Vexing Vision says:

    I really wish they’d stop letting Rab post random stuff.

    Space Hulk is a glorious rendition of the boardgame, with exactly the right amount of fizzles and features to make the transition to computer worthwhile. It does reek of an indie-team though, especially when it comes to the textures of the Sin of Damnation and the Genestealers, which are not very good or pretty. Animations could have been smoother.

    But gameplay, AI and the sheer feeling of terror as your Terminator-squad slowly walks down the derelict corridors? Yes, they nailed it. They really, really nailed it.

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      I really wish they’d stop letting Rab post random stuff.

      It does actually say his name at the top of the article so you’re perfectly at liberty to not click on the article & read it in that case.

      • Runic says:

        Pretty useless way of thinking. “There’s a lot of bad in the world, you can choose not to see it.” I hope you aren’t in charge anywhere.

        • Sheng-ji says:

          Wait, are you really saying that if someone dislikes a game that presumably you like, that their opinion is similar to “bad in the world”. Are you also inferring that someone who doesn’t like something that you like is incapable of responsibility? Seems like you may have some growing up to do son.

      • Cleave says:

        I was a bit surprised that Alec wasn’t reviewing it after all his preview coverage. Also, the review is very reactionary, written in the middle of the night after six hours of play. Honourable to try to get the word out to prevent people from making regretful purchases but it’s not exactly the makings of a balanced review.

        Regardless, I’d like to hear wot Alec thinks.

  15. UKAzzer says:

    Browsing the Steam forums where one of the Space Hulk developers has been posting, has been mildly entertaining.

    On one hand, I’ve seen complaints that this game only has 2 units, is shallow, has no unit progression/RPG elements/exp/skill trees, is all completely simple dice-rolls replied to by both the developer (and “fanbois”) scoffingly with statements that this is a board game! It’s a faithful reproduction! It’s not a modern action-strategy video-game, don’t be STUPID!

    On the other hand, I’ve seen complaints that this does not capture the essence of the board-game, that it’s a lifeless reproduction with all that was good about the board game stripped out – comments like those Rab makes about overwatch tension and the terrible slow-paced nature of it all replied to by the same people (and the same developer) with mocking comments that of COURSE it doesn’t… this is a VIDEO-GAME, not the actual BOARD-GAME, don’t be STUPID!

    You can’t have it both ways. Either this is a premium (£20+ price-tag) video game and should be treated as such… or this is a faithful Space Hulk board-game in computer form and should be treated as such. Being something shallow and inbetween is not a get out clause for any and all criticism…

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      Nail head has met hammer. Or “this” in the modern parlance.

    • Yosharian says:

      Yeah that’s actually a really succinct summary of the problems the game has.

      Not sure that £20+ price tag can be considered ‘premium’ though. I think premium is £30+. £20+ is sort of between premium and indie.

      • Bull0 says:

        Nah, I’m with him. If you want more than £20, you’re in AAA territory on PC.

    • Reapy says:

      I pictured this as 1. capturing the essence of the board game at release. It plays how you’d expect on a computer and leave in the tension of dice rolls while animating the results. Probably could cheat a bit, but that over watch corridor rush is such a fundamental part of what makes space hulk awesome, they should have stopped to think about it a bit more.

      Possibly they should add in slowmo as they rush down the hall at you, each shot can zoom or pan and you can see it miss or hit. Each pause and zoom with a miss was a dice roll. Just something like that.

      Then after they have the base game you would expect it to then BUILD on what is there by adding say RPG growth or a new persistent campaign in another space hulk, stuff like that. So much potential there, all basically wasted.

      Still I think it is patchable so maybe in a few months it’ll be worth revisiting while on sale.

    • Cleave says:

      I don’t understand the comment about overwatch. Rab thinks it’s too slow but wants it to pause between each shot on overwatch? The entire enemy turn is a nail biting affair, overwatch being the highlight of it. I would say that the action camera makes it a bit obvious when you’ve hit which hurts the tension a little but you get the action cam when you jam as well. Honestly, overwatch is as nail biting in this as rolling the dice yourself. You have no decisions to make as it plays out (the genestealer player will move toward you and you will shoot him) so why interrupt the action?

      Saying that I wouldn’t object to a setting that let you roll the dice yourself.

  16. pilouuuu says:

    SPACE FAIL! SPACE FAIL! SPACE FAIL! SPACE FAIL! SPACE FAIL! SPACE FAIL! SPACE FAIL! SPACE FAIL! SPACE FAIL! SPACE FAIL! SPACE FAIL! SPACE FAIL! SPACE FAIL! SPACE FAIL! SPACE FAIL! SPACE FAIL! SPACE FAIL! SPACE FAIL! SPACE FAIL! SPACE FAIL! SPACE FAIL! SPACE FAIL! SPACE FAIL! SPACE FAIL! SPACE FAIL! SPACE FAIL! SPACE FAIL! SPACE FAIL! SPACE FAIL! SPACE FAIL! SPACE FAIL! SPACE FAIL! SPACE FAIL! SPACE FAIL! SPACE FAIL! SPACE FAIL! SPACE FAIL! SPACE FAIL! SPACE FAIL! SPACE FAIL! SPACE FAIL! SPACE FAIL!

  17. notenome says:

    Well I am very disappointed at this review. So here`s a reader wot I think:

    Two days ago when I was trying to figure out what time the game would be released, I went to the steam community page and was surprised by a dev post. It was the CEO Full Control talking about everything the dev team were working on before release. As in, they were still working on the game, two days before release. Here’s the post:

    “Sliverleech [developer] 13 Aug 2013 @ 5:13pm
    Yeah – I’m the “do everything else to keep the production team producing” CEO guy :-D Just ran down to fetch more beers for the late nighters polishing the animations.

    Michael is adding secondary animations at the moment to characters so that their purity seals move with the movement, loin cloths move etc.

    Ben is testing all the achievements

    Lee is adding some polish vfx to the menu when you unlock a new image for the campaign banner

    I just did an interview with Starburst Magazine, implemented the vfx Lee made (yes – I also code) and before running off to bed here at 10 pm I just wanted to stick my head in here to answer the latest round of questions.

    Tomorrow we are doing the trading cards and finishing the release trailer! Its awesome.

    So have a great night everyone.”

    Bit of a red flag, no? As much as I respect his openness, it also shows how the game wasn’t really finished at release. But let’s get on with the review.

    In short: Space Hulk is an attempt to convert, as faithfully as is possible, a board game into a computer game. It was clearly made by die-hard fans of the warhammer 40k universe. And it sacrifices a lot for this. No character progression or squad selection, slow moving terminators etc.

    But here’s the thing: I’m one of those guys that hated Fallout 3. Why? Because I loved the original Fallouts. I hate it when devs don’t trust the original source material. And that’s why I love this adaptation. It suffers exactly the opposite problem. It trusts the source material too much. Pretty much every tough decision the devs faced, you can tell their answer was “ahh, let’s make it like the board game.” I respect that, I really do.

    As for the specifics:

    -Animations: Incredibly slow. Except everyone forgets to mention that the genestealer animations are quite fast. Its never taken more than a minute for the genestealer AI to process his turn, simply because those cracked-up velociraptors zoom across the map. A terminator, on the other hand, has to spend half his turn just to turn around (as per the board game rules), so the devs opted to make them huge clunking behemoths. And I think its great. Perhaps not great if you’re used to the super fast X-COM commandos dashing everywhere, but terminators are not supposed to be lithe. They look, and feel bulky. Now the devs did try to offset this by allowing you to order multiple units at the same time. So you can give orders to your other astartes whilst the first one moves.

    -Bugs: They’re out there. Looking through the community page on steam one will find all kinds of bug reports. Personally I have only encountered two: A specific animation bug where firing on a mission objective shows the terminator fighting into the air (it still registers though, but has caused a lot of confusion for some people) and a serious bug where completing mission six (exiting the librarian) leads to defeat instead of victory. This has stopped my progress cold in the game (which means no one can progress past mission six atm, including mr. Florence). To the devs credit:

    “Sliverleech [developer] 1 hour ago
    Version 1.0.1 on its way
    Hi all,

    We are right now working on a bugfix release that will come out in some hours from now.

    It will as minimum fix
    - OSX 10.6 input issues
    - Mission 6 win condition (brown bag is over our heads)
    - Mission 4 fixes to logic

    And some menu issues found.

    Just to let you know what we are working on!”

    -AI: As someone who plays a lot of wargames, this is tremendously important to me. New X-COM had horrible AI, and had to employ game mechanics to work its way around it (the free move the aliens get). Empire Total War was/is unplayable due to bad AI. And no one is talking about Space Hulk’s AI. Why? Because its quite good, that’s why. First off its not predictable, so replaying a mission will mean the AI will use different entry points for its blips. Second, it forces you to make hard choices. Let’s say you set a terminator on overwatch down a corridor (something you’ll be doing a lot of). If the AI can’t reach you that turn, it’ll stay hidden, outside the line of sight (maybe behind a door, maybe around a corner). Now its your turn and you suddenly have a very tough choice to make. Do you leave your terminator behind as the rest of the squad moves on? Because if you leave him on overwatch, the most you’ll be able to do is move him one step back. The AI is great at putting the player in catch-22s. And I’ve yet to see anyone mention it.

    -Multiplayer: In regular multiplayer, you can’t see how many genestealers are in a blip. In hotseat you can, however, because both players are on the same machine and the genestealer player can’t be expected to memorize the values of all his blips. Not an optimal solution, to be sure, and it would be better if the devs gave an option to hide blip values. Still, its an understandable problem.

    -Graphics. Everything looks like it should. Haven’t seen many criticisms of the game so far on this front. Its also worth noting the many little details the devs have hidden away in the game. Purity seals on machinery. Tomes and codexes, prayers scribbled on walls. Bones and scratch marks. Again, not the kind of stuff you notice, but its there, and contributes (along with the ponderous thunk of the terminators) to that Warhammer 40k feel. Also, the excellent first person cam. Whenever you select a unit, on the top right corner you’ll see a blurry video feed of what he can see. It’s great stuff.

    To sum it all up: Space Hulk is a game that was obviously released a bit too soon, and as such has some bug fixing to do. That’s the business and I understand, devs don’t control their own QA and all that. Unfortunately this includes a serious game breaking bug that will hopefully be fixed today. As for the actual game, it is clearly obvious that this was designed by fans, huge fans, of Warhammer 40k. It refuses to distance itself from the source material in any noticeable way, and I just can’t criticize a studio for making that choice (it even shows the dice rolls in the message window). I’ve enjoyed it tremendously so far. Just know what it is (a board game adaptation) and know what its not (fast-paced. It’s slow and ponderous, as I believe it should be.)

    • Vexing Vision says:

      The best point you raise is the bit about the AI. Having the AI hide around corners if it can’t reach you and take alternative parts if it knows you got one covered is absolutely bonkers BRILLIANT.

      • notenome says:

        Yeah, the first time I realized what the AI was doing, I was blown away. And it’s really colored my impression of the game. Its hard to overstate how great it is to play a strategy game where it doesn’t feel like you’re exploiting your way to victory.

    • Yosharian says:

      This seems reasonable, but you also have to consider that this is £23 for a game with 12 short-ish missions in. It just seems a lot to me. This, aside from all the peculiarities like sloooow animation, is a bit of a problem.

      Normally I would drop this kind of cash without hesitation for a game like Space Hulk, but my finances are a bit tight at the moment, so these kind of decisions must be weighed carefully. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has similar things in mind.

      • notenome says:

        True, I didn’t mention the pricing. But to be honest, I know nothing about pricing for computer games. Matrix Games, for example, will routinely get games from the 90s, make a few tweaks and compatibility fixes, and then release them for 40 dollars. Personally I’m willing to pay more just to support devs making games for genres that aren’t well stocked, if that makes sense. But I think the argument that there isn’t enough game there to justify the price tag is valid, too.

    • notenome says:

      Quick addendum:

      Patch 1.01 has come out and fixed the game-breaking mission six bug, allowing normal progression to continue.

    • BletchleyGeek says:

      Very good analysis notenome. For me, the fact that they’ve remained so true to the original is precisely the reason why I don’t like it much. This is a very faithful rendition of the boardgame on the PC, anybody saying otherwise are just warping the facts to fit into their fancy.

      The review itself is… well, somewhat confusing. You actually analyze how the board game rules have been ported – regarding the Space Marines movement, for instance – and the review doesn’t. And the reviewer claims to be the most loyal subject of the Emperor… and maybe the least aware of the Laws ruling the Empire :-)

      If it’s about the bugs… man, go get one of those AAA 79.95$ titles and look close beyond the fancy textures, lighting and animations. You’ll find enough stuff coming out of the woodwork as to hate the game (this actually happened to me with X-COM Enemy Unknown). On the other hand, I appreciate that the reviewer shows peeps the things that can go wrong with a fresh release. And no, it’s not unfair to point out these.

      If RPS wants advice I’d say: guys, hire notenome :-)

      It’s funny to see in one of the comments the reviewer comparing this Space Hulk to the 1990′s EA rendition, and saying that the latter was way better. I distinctly remember it as being one of the most crashy, bug-ridden experiences I have ever had in my old 486. And that was back in a time and day that if you wanted patches either you had to ninja download stuff from the University computers with gopher or buy the monthly local games magazine with a shrink-wrapped CD, which would hopefully contain a copy of a patch for that game.

  18. bleeters says:

    Well, shit.

    I can put the money towards Saints Row, at least.

  19. Mungrul says:

    Ouch.
    When a Glaswegian compares your product to grated celery, that’s when you know you’ve fucked up.

    I was this close to hitting the buy button last night, but stayed my hand and thought “Nope, wait for the WIT”.
    Really glad I did now.

    • RProxyOnly says:

      Rab’s a weegie?

      N, S, E or W?

    • Rikard Peterson says:

      I was about to post that grated celery is great, but then I stopped to consider that maybe the English word doesn’t mean what I thought it did, and Wikipedia informs me that I was thinking about celeriac. I don’t know why you’d grate celery.

  20. bstard says:

    I must say, I rarely saw so much contradiction in reviews/comments of a new game. This tickled my curiosity. I really would love to see a demo now.

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      There is a way to decode all of this.
      No early press copies. No demo.
      Can’t really be very good, can it?

      • Runic says:

        Can, actually. Has happened before with many titles. Do some googling.

        • Sparkasaurusmex says:

          Can’t be bothered. As a blanket rule it will save you some money. If you overlook something you will find out later. Much better safe than sorry. It’s better to consider a good game bad than to buy a bad game. One can be resolved by purchasing later, when you are more informed, the other was just a mistake because you didn’t follow my blanket rule.

  21. Komutanb says:

    This review is too harsh. In my opinion, the game does capture the essence of the boardgame. There are some bugs, but they are no more than the amount that can be expected in a newly released game.

    But being nothing more than a faithful adaptation of the boardgame, it does not have enough content to justify the 30 $ price.

  22. Boardwalker says:

    I disagree with the reviewer. I’m enjoying this game *quite a bit*. I also think the terminator movement is spot on.

    Yes, there are some bugs (a patch is coming out today for the worst of them), but overall I think FC did a wonderful job in recreating the boardgame.

    To me, the reviewer sounds butthurt that the PC game doesn’t capture the same feelings he had when playing the board game against his buddy. Well, duh. It’s a PC game. You’re sitting in a room. By yourself. Staring at a screen. Of course it isn’t going to be the same as if your buddy was there downing beers and glaring at you from across the board.

    • nbringer says:

      I agree with this. Too much emphasis on some dubious minuses. The reviewer is almost whining. The game is actually quite good and should definitely be played by any WH40K fan. There’s also an unacceptable contrast between RPS preview articles and this review.

  23. SuicideKing says:

    Alec Meer would’ve probably written CRIED CRIED CRIED or something. Keep him away from this, Hivemind!

  24. n0f8r says:

    Regarding slow Animations : actually you don’t have to wait ….

    You realise you can start another marine moving while others are still moving? I’ve had 6 marines all clunking down the corridors simultaneously – so I don’t think slow animations are a valid criticism.

    I’m quite enjoying it so far – in the same way I’m enjoying Skulls of the shogun – although that was a lot cheaper – and also in the same way I enjoyed the recent XCOM. I’m playing on hard – three missions into main event after finishing the tutorial ones so far.

    I do expect though that I will be disappointed with the campaign length for the price – apparently they only took 6 months to develop it – so £23 does seem a bit steep.

    I never played the board game – so I think nostalgia is probably biasing Rab’s impression.

    I would agree that it’s probably going to turn out one of my pricier gaming experiences – but against that – I’m happy to pay £8 or more for a DVD that only lasts 2 hours – so any game that I enjoy for 5 or more hours is worth full price to me.

  25. Malys says:

    This is disappointing :(

    I guess nothing left for me except to continue to wait for a perfect Necromunda PC adaptation with online gang matches and progression

  26. Synesthesia says:

    Ha, i somehow got reminded of then ending from this.

    http://vimeo.com/6537636

  27. Severian says:

    To be honest, my enthusiasm for PC Space Hulk dissipated significantly once I played (and replayed… and replayed) XCOM: Enemy Unknown. If you want turn-based tactical aliens vs. (earth) marines, play XCOM. It’s even got Overwatch! I also feel fortunate that when I want a Space Hulk fix, I can actually pull out my cardboard copy, which as Rab mentions is so much more fun when playing across the table from a good friend.

    • Moronik says:

      I actually prefer Space Hulk to Xcom.

      Yes Xcom looks better and there is tons more variety…. but Space Hulk is…. well Space Hulk.
      Its core mechanics are far superior. Although I loved Xcom’s look, the in-between missions menu, the ability to customise the soldiers, the research… i found the combat boring. You simply did the same tactics every mission to win.

      Space Hulk is a lot more nail-biting!!!

      There is no way Space Hulk is a bad game……but it could be BETTER…sure!!! And it looks like the devs are taking a very hands-on approach to making it better. They have asked for suggestions, and they have come flooding in. So I would guess that the slow movement animations will be sped up.

      Which is cool.

  28. jonahcutter says:

    I never played the boardgame, so I cannot compare it to that.

    It is almost exactly what I expected. And I’m finding it pretty damn fun and worth the money.

    Bugs have not been a big problem for me, and will (hopefully) be patched out.

    I haven’t missed a door yet, so apparantly the perspective has not been a problem for me.

    The lack of a remappable keyboard is aggravating for some. The layout has not been a problem for me, but I understand where they are coming from. I always struggled to get into DoW because of the lack of remappable keys. It’s basic functionality for a modern game, and should never be a corner cut. It smacks of laziness/cluelessness.

    The whiff on the number of blips being visual to the Term player sounds pretty major for hotseat play. Also seems easily fixable and the devs should prioritize it.

    It is sloooooooow. Getting into the flow of moving your next unit without waiting for the previous to finish its animation helps a lot, but the camera movement gets wonky and misclicks happen. Two solutions needs to happen: Better controls while keeping the animations, and a “remove animations for movement” option for those who want it. I personally like the animations and I don’t want to lose them. And I like the slow-paced, stompy feel of the Terms. I just want to be able to click easier while using them.

    It actually ends up looking pretty goddamn cool when you get several Terms moving at once, as they all ponderously turns corners and methodically stomp down various corridors. But I fully understand and support those who would just want them removed completely to speed up the gameplay itself.

    It is a simple game. There are not a lot of wrinkles and deep complexity. The joy comes from the positional movement dance of units, the balance between risk vs security, and the teethgrinding nature of dice rolls. But that is the nature of this particular game. Add in new features and more complexity, and guaranteed there would be a large segment of fans complaining about how the video game version of Space Hulk “didn’t get it” and destroyed the very idea of the boardgame itself.

    As far as lacking the input from another player being in the same room as you… well, yeah. What were you expecting? It is a computer game after all. You are typically going to be playing a) alone vs AI b) on the internet. And hotseat is, there if you desire the corporeality of another player in close and sweaty proximity.

    And if you want more tension, there is an option for a timer on turns. So you have to make decisions under the gun, potentially not being able to consider every last factor.

    Overall, I’m digging it.

  29. nickylee says:

    In my opinion the game isn’t bad, but it is clunky. There should be an option to skip or speed up the walk animation, there’s some fairly terrible sound issues that Rab didn’t mention/didn’t get where your marines fire and pretty much all sound cuts out. There’s also an occasional problem where main menu screens wind up overlaying each other in some circumstances. Finally the animations are sometimes a bit ropey looking.

    If the pricing were just a bit lower (and I hear some saying that it’s price varies widely across regions) and there’d been a wee bit more QA prior to release I don’t think Rab would have gone quite so spare.

    • n0f8r says:

      see my comment above – you don’t have to wait for animation to complete before issuing more orders – marines can walk simultaneously

      • nickylee says:

        I’m actually well aware of that but it doesn’t change the fact that the animation could be faster or configurable. I can move every single marine at the same time which is nice, but I can’t set overwatch or commit them to any other action until their animations complete.

        • Boardwalker says:

          Doh! I hope they don’t speed up the animation. I think it is spot on the way it is.

  30. Moraven says:

    First 87 minutes of playing
    http://www.twitch.tv/suftv/b/446386054

    Never played the board game. (but do play board games).

    It took some adjusting to the basic 1 hit 1 kill and D6 dice rolls but once I did it was more enjoyable.

    There were some sound glitches. Zoom in while achieving a hit is just like what was in XCom EU. Indifferent on that feature. Shoulder perspective battle cams are nice. I wish the zoom in used this perspective more.

    I wish instead of in some tiny window, there was more visual cues for dice rolls. Show me some virtual dice on the screen. Works great for say any digital monopoly and risk game. Having no visual cue other than the zoom in effect the rolls are rather anti climatic.

  31. Runic says:

    They are fixing the bugs asfast as they can, clearly. There have been bigger game-preventing bugs in the past in other titles, that is nothing new.

    Glad to see I’m not alone with my opinion on the review ( or non-review that is essentially a review, like some of you like to think of it ) because currently it seems there is NO ONE agreeing with it!

    There’s only “Too bad, won’t buy it after reading this” and posts with similiar opinions as mine. I don’t see a single comment bashing the game like the article does the moment I’m writing this comment. 0. Nada. Zip. So that’s a good thing.

    • Boardwalker says:

      I definitely don’t agree with the review. I can barely tear myself away from the game to post here, it’s that fun.

    • killias2 says:

      Yeah, this review really seemed.. unprofessional. I didn’t buy the game, and I haven’t played it. However, I’ve watched some LPs of it and read others’ opinions. I’ve never played the original, and I didn’t back the JA kickstarter simply because I didn’t have enough faith in a new developer. I carry no water here.

      However, the issues pointed are are minor compared to the language used. Oh, so the models move a bit slowly (something I noticed in the LPs, btw)? Oh, so maybe there’s a bit less tension in the way overwatch works? And there are a couple of bugs and clunky UI elements (virtually par for the course on PC)? Okay.. that means a game is mediocre. Not “It’s about as bad as it could possibly be.” Or an “expensive disaster.” Or any of the other hyperbolic statements made here. Simply put, the review came off as unprofessional.

      Say the game has issues with bugs and UI elements, and that maybe a direct point-to-point adaptation from the boardgame was maybe less of an amazing ideas for a video game than previously realized (or don’t.. it’s hard to tell where the reviewer stands on that front). Also, mention the fact that the game is overpriced for what is, let’s face it, a small-ish budget game. Mention the game-killing bug on Mission 6, but, let’s be clear, I’ll be astonished if that’s not fixed almost immediately. Let people make their own minds up from that point.

  32. fdisk says:

    After reading throught the comments I’ve reached the conclusion that this game was very rushed, but it might not be as terrible as this review makes it sound. It sounds that Rab is a super zealous Space Hulk fan, which is great, but it also makes me feel that it’s hard to please him and maybe this game won’t be as bad for someone who is not familiar with Warhammer or Space Hulk like me.

    Ultimately though, it sounds like the game was rushed to market, probably due to publisher pressure; I will keep an open mind on it, watch some “Let’s Play” videos and maybe pick it up once it’s heavily discounted on Steam because it doesn’t sound like a game I want to drop $30 on regardless.

    I was also on the verge of buying it last night when I decided to wait for some reviews instead, I’m glad I did. The lack of press copies and reviews prior to release is always a red flag for me when it comes to any game.

    I appreciate the developer being so open and even coming in here to call Rab out, but I also find them quite shady in using quotes from RPS’ preview to advertise their game on Steam. If you want to use press quotes for your game you should provide them with review copies a week or two before release.

    The fact that this wasn’t done speaks volumes about how little confident the developer had on the game and/or how unfinished it is. It seems to be a lot more of the latter than the former, but it’s still inexcusable and a very obvious drawback of the traditional publishing model.

    Unfortunately, even through Full Control Kickstarted Jagged Alliance, they did so once again using someone else’s license, which is the worst of both worlds. Even though the game is funded by fans, they are still going to have that publisher pressure to release the game ASAP rather than when it’s fully cooked.

    • Boardwalker says:

      It’s not nearly terrible as the reviewer says. In fact, from my 10+ hours playing the game, I’d say that it pretty much rocks. **I’m loving it. **

      Is it perfect? No, there are bugs for sure. But they are working on them. With a level editor and co-op play on the way, this game is only going to get better. FOR THE EMPEROR!

  33. Xantonze says:

    Alien Assault+Space Hulk mod with campaigns, sounds and whatnot. THIS is the real deal. ;)
    http://www.mediafire.com/?rc2t1c1t757bdyo

    • andytt66 says:

      My goodness, but this is seven different types of awesome.

  34. Runic says:

    As a sidenote to anyone not familiar with Games Workshop, take this into account:

    Knowing the policies of said company regarding their miniaturegames and all licensed products, its VERY POSSIBLE that GW is to blame for no preview copies being sent. Games Workshop has actually prohibited retailers to display images of their products on their own store websites, for example.

    Among hobbyists, Games Workshop is known as a greedy company with steep policies regarding somewhat everything. The rushing of the game and the issue of not sending preview copies ( could’ve lowered sales ) could very well be because of GW. I’m not saying this is the case, but with over 17 years of hobby gaming experience and having witnessed the vaurious lawsuits, censorships and acts of greed GW has done, I find it possible.

    And believe me, GW has the final say against an indie game studio. The company is huge. Not a likeable company, but their miniaturegames are good.

  35. Ganrao says:

    Your write up is unfair. The scorn you’re heaping on Space Hulk is completely disproportionate to the flaws with the game. Yes, it has bugs, and that is disappointing. Hopefully those will be patched soon. This is nothing new or different in the world of PC and indie games, but from your description these are minor bugs. They didn’t crash the game, and from the sound of it multiplayer WORKED out of the box, which is actually a step above some multiplayer game releases these days. These bugs and doors being slightly difficult to see (if you’re not paying attention to the camera view that was provided…) are the most justified complaints in your entire article. Let me elaborate:

    Why did you even think you could play with random strangers and get any other result than what you did? I learned this lesson with Heroes of Might and Magic III over a decade ago, yet it did not stop HoMM from being one of the best games I’ve ever played. Involved turn based games like this DO require opponents with a real interest in finishing the game. You wouldn’t try to play Civ 5 with strangers either, would you? Granted with just a few bad rolls a game of Space Hulk can end MUCH faster, but the real reason the 3 games mentioned here are bad with strangers is because of their turn based nature, not the length of a complete session. That and, you’re playing with the same internet full of people who send game developers and reviewers death threats.

    You complained about how slow the animations are, and while yes it would be nice to have an option to turn them off, they are an attempt to bring the Hulk and its combatants to life. There is a LOT of detail put into all the models and environments; for example, none of your terminators are clones. Even the 3 standard Terminators in Suicide Mission do not look exactly alike, with different adornments and awards on their armours. They had the same amount of care put into them as the best miniature painters put into their board game figures. I like seeing these meticulously detailed figures in motion, though I have to admit I am disappointed by their death animations. I was hoping to see actual damage to their suits (sort of like how Genestealers explode to bolter fire) and the current death animations really break the immersion for me. I guess if I was in a big hurry to play lots of rounds as fast as possible the animations would bother me more. I never approached this game from that perspective, though. Maybe it is my inexperience with Space Hulk and how that slows down my decision making. What I did notice was that when I knew what I wanted everyone of my Terminators to do, I could flip through them and issue further orders as previous orders were still being carried out flawlessly. This sped up things considerably, so it makes me wonder if you tried issuing multiple commands like that.

    As far as the 1 or 3 Genestealers tokens, I have a very simple solution for you: look away until your friend says they’re done placing blips. Yes this is a horrible inconvenience for you, probably sitting in a swivel chair and everything already anyway. While their solution is lacking elegance, the entire point seems to be clarity for the Genestealer player. In a board game they can look at the token and KNOW what they’re placing as they place it. On the PC pressing a hotkey to get a generic token for placement would possibly lead to a lot of new people mixing up hotkeys as they are learning the game, and getting frustrated. Then they’d just quit. I get the feeling a lot of the decisions made for the PC game were made for new players. I think they were right to shape things that way. Maybe a “don’t show Genestealers number on cursor” option would have been nice, and could still make its way into the game with a patch, but it hardly breaks the game implemented as it is. Go get another beer or something ;)

    Having actually played a round of hot seat just now, I realize the problem is more than the cursor. During the Genestealer turn the blip numbers are ALWAYS visible, so if your buddy wants to see his Marines cutting down your bugs, or dying to them, he will get to see your blips on the map and the numbers on them. This is unfortunate and I do wish they had come up with a better way to deal with it in hotseat play. Maybe showing the blips like they appear on Space Marine turn and a tooltip pop up when you mouse over them, so that they don’t show up during combats. That is hardly ideal, but this is a really tricky issue and I’m sure the devs struggled with it before settling on the current implementation.

    You mentioned a lack of tension when a Genestealer approaches a Terminator in Overwatch and survives the perilous journey into melee range, and that was not my experience. Even just fighting the CPU I felt the exhilaration when a bolter unjammed and splattered a Genestealer at the last possible moment, and the crushing knowledge that the rest of my squad was likely doomed when the bugs won in the final melee exchange. I did not have another human being to share the moment with, but if I was in multiplayer via hotseat or say, on Skype, I would have. We would have been reacting the way you described and I don’t really understand how the game developers could have done things like change the music without pre-determining a bug would survive x number of steps before either player got to see the die rolls. Otherwise the action plays out too quickly to justify it.

    I assume Space Hulk lets you undo actions that involved rolling dice, and if so I agree that is not a feature I want in the game. In my first 4 hours of play I actually didn’t notice that button and didn’t use it. I suspect though that it really exists to help people who misclick or didn’t see a door, etc.. I think a better compromise would be an optional UI rule to make players click twice to confirm any context sensitive action such as moving or firing without selecting an explicit command first. As you’re aware, a single misclick can spell ruin in a game like this, so I feel like something had to be done, but as other things you mentioned it could have been better implemented.

    I’ll stop here because I’ve already spent an hour at work writing this, but I feel like you’re really kicking this new and small team of developers in the balls for their fledgling effort because it didn’t live up to your unrealistic expectations, despite it being a fun and mostly functional game on release day. I hope in a month after they iron out the bugs some other RPS writer gives it another piece, one who is less fundamentally biased against the game.

    ps: I do think $30 / whatever that translates into in the UK is a bit steep, but not compared to price of the actual board game ($100+ depending on the edition on eBay). I’m sure Games Workshop is taking their pound of flesh out of the developer’s profits for this and that is largely what determined the final price.

    • Boardwalker says:

      Well said.

    • GrinningD says:

      Got to agree, played for 6 missions now and am loving it. Yes the slow walking is irritating but that is the only thing I can honestly say I find poor about this game.

      Mind you, I haven’t found any bugs yet, so one thing this review will have me doing is saving often, just in case.

  36. Angryinternetman says:

    Taken from Steam forum:
    ————————–
    Hi all,

    We are right now working on a bugfix release that will come out in some hours from now.

    It will as minimum fix
    - OSX 10.6 input issues
    - Mission 6 win condition (brown bag is over our heads)
    - Mission 4 fixes to logic

    And some menu issues found.

    Just to let you know what we are working on!
    ———————

  37. demicanadian says:

    If I wanted to be spiteful, I would sait that why bitcomposer wanted to make a turn-based Jagged Alliance with these people.

  38. Phendron says:

    Dammit Rab! All this article made me want to do was go to eBay and pick up Space Hulk.

    I absolutely can’t read anything you’ve ever written without immediately wanting to empty my wallet. You have this uncanny ability to distill everything wonderful about board games with friends into text.

  39. Steed says:

    Damn and bugger, bought this in the final hours of pre-purchase on a whim with memories of my brother and I playing back in the day… thinking about to the high praise I’d read in RPS Previews swayed me. Haven’t had a chance to play yet, but worried I should have waited now :(

  40. aircool says:

    Bugs… Yes, there are bugs, they’re called genestealers.

    Ok, crap joke. Yes, there are bugs. Apart from the bugs and the fact that the animation could be speeded up by a factor of three to five, the game seems very much like the board game I remember (and I first played it when it was released, at Games Day. There were hundreds of nerds playing the game on the floor at the Assembly Rooms in Derby. We listened to Appetite For Destruction on the wayt their and back).

    Undo Button? That’s a negative point? It’s easier to make mistakes when you don’t have the mini’s in your hand. Also, if you’re playing on a teeny, tiny screen (it’s mainly for mobile phones and that sort of thing isn’t it?), it’s even easier to make mistakes. Anyway, I can’t see it being a big issue. It’s probably quite useful if you’ve missed those doors.

    As for online.. best played with friends over teamspeak or skype etc… I mean, if it was really, really, really like the boardgame, the last thing you’d do would be to set it up in a public place and ask random strangers to play.

    So no. Apart from a few bugs (which I believe are there, I’ve not encountered any, but I’ve only played a short time) and the slow animations, it seems to be the Space Hulk I remember.

    Oh, and the termy cam is quite good.

  41. Epicedion says:

    I have to contradict the WIT. This game is not bad. It may be slightly overpriced, but it’s not bad.

    Actually, it’s pretty good — and I say that with my copy of the Space Hulk board game looking over my shoulder as I type.

    I played through the introductory “how to play” missions, then dove into the Suicide Mission, which I found a brilliant way to get into the spirit of the game. There I was, pushing a Terminator up to the first intersection and mowing down Genestealers while I tried to slip my Sergeant and Heavy Flamer unit around the side passage and back my rear defense guy up far enough to keep from getting him killed outright as he fended off waves of enemies. The rear guard bought it pretty quickly, which left me with the awful choice of which group of enemies to turn my front guard’s back on. Meanwhile the side passage with my critical flamer unit started to fill up with bad guys. The flamer took them out, and I pushed out into the final hallway toward the command center, leaving my Sergeant as a sacrificial offering. Six command points that round let me push my flamer up out of harm’s way. My sergeant and final guard went down in a hail of claws and gunfire, but the Genestealers were just out of range of the flamer. He ran up and bathed the command center in flame, winning the mission and presumably dying horribly from the 15 xenos in a conga line two squares behind him.

    That was fun. Lots of fun. The game is lots of fun.

    The negatives are these:

    1) The Terminator animations are clunky. Not just slow, but clunky. You send a guy to a square, and he hobbles to do a left-face, clunks forward a few squares, then stops, pauses, and hobbles into a right-face. I think these animations could string together a little better and work a little smoother. Maybe if it didn’t take a dozen individual foot clomps to do a single movement action. Maybe some percent increase in speed would help (10% to 20%)?

    2) There are some bugs. I didn’t get to mission 6 before it was patched, so I didn’t experience the game-breaker. The worst bug I’ve actually seen is a sound issue, where the weapons fire noises either don’t happen or happen sort of choppy. It’s annoying, but only somewhat.

    3) The AI is a little spotty. Sometimes it does something interesting or brilliant, but too often it will run up a long corridor straight at a guy on overwatch. The first dozen dead bugs in the corridor didn’t discourage the computer from sending another dozen on the same path, even though there was an alternate route and a risky-but-worthwhile path to my singular Terminator’s unguarded rear.

    4) The combat results window is very bland and doesn’t really do anything in the way of adding a boardgame feel to the game. I’d either go the way of adding some actual dice (a la Blood Bowl) or adding in a variety of flavor text (a la Fallout) to liven things up over there.

    All in all, the game is worth playing, and quite enjoyable, but perhaps $5-$10 too expensive. I’d hope that the developers release some extra (free) content to bring the value of the base game up, but I know that’ll probably never happen, what with the DLC store and all.

    First on the list of upgrades should be the ability to play as the Genestealers in single-player campaign mode. My guess is that the AI for the Terminator team ended up being too complicated for them to pull off for release.

    Also, FACEHULK.

    • Thathanka says:

      “while I tried to slip my Sergeant and Heavy Flamer unit around the side passage and back my rear defense guy up” – you sir have a filthy filthy mouth!

  42. ThomasLund says:

    Thanks to everyone coming in and posting their experience based on actually playing the game.

    Are there bugs? Besides the Genestealers? I’m sure there is – its software and PC market is complicated to QA fully. Should we have found the mission 6 bug? Hell yeah. We apologize, it is fixed, and if there are any other things that are broken – we will fix it.

    But does that warrant this review and the tone used? And the points raised? I personally think not. But Rob is totally and utterly in his right to write what he wants – as long as RPS think his points are valid, then thats what they officially think.

    Do I think it very very very weird having sat down with Alec 1 month ago at Rezzed and have him play the game – coming out with “I think they nailed it” etc.etc. on this exact same site? Hell yeah. I’d love to have a “Wot Alec Thinks” post here.

    End of the day – we can see there is a lot of people loving the game. There are some not loving the game. And we did not want to make a game that tries to please all – but one that Space Hulk and Warhammer 40k players like.

    I’ll leave it at that here, and hope that people will give the game a try anyways. Not based of what I write – or Rob. But the other fans here, on Facebook and on Steam forums.

    Thanks for listening, and thanks for RPS to even cover this game in the first place.

    • Epicedion says:

      Word of advice — and I say this as a paying customer who likes your game — getting involved in a review discussion on the internet, especially for a negative review, is very dangerous ground for a game designer/developer/employee/person. Especially for the CEO. It’s great that you care what people think and say, and it’s wonderful that you’re passionate about your work, but the odds are not in your favor when it comes to being able to walk out of a forum debate with a bright and shiny public image. Most times when someone is overly critical it’s best to sit on your hands and let the internet sort it out — a negative review of a decent game won’t be the death’s knell.

      One other thing, assuming you read this: can you fix the use of the word “dices” in the English translation? The computer is constantly rolling “dices” and it drives me batty. Thanks.

      • ThomasLund says:

        Fixed “dices” – and as said. I’ll leave it at that post.

      • mkwilton says:

        I hope you won’t pay a single second’s attention to this weird and wacky guy ^ (Epicedion), Thomas lol… As EVERYONE knows it’s actually a million times better to get directly involved in any conversation around your product these days. It’s great to hear what the creators think – if they’re really upset by a negative review that reinforces our belief in their passion for their creation; not hearing from them always makes me think they don’t care.

    • 7Seas says:

      Thanks for coming by and speaking out. For what its worth it improved my view of the game. Frankly, I was watching a twitch livestream of someone playing the game and I’m starting to think that is a superior way to get a ‘review’ of a game in this era. The subjectivity of the experience paired with the fact that PC game reviewers continue to treat pc games as static products that receive a single defeinitive review on day 0, and ignore patches going forward leave me to frequently disagree with them.

      RPS has often had a very strong reaction to games released with bugs, to the extent that it seems to override all other considerations. I was very unhappy with the review of Alpha Protocol, a game that while it featured some bugs, was also one of the more interesting games I’d played in decades of heavy gaming.

      I think a demo, and a linking to Lets Play type reviews will allow those who are interested (40k fans) make up their own minds. Make an active effort to engage and be responsive on bug fixing and publicize the fact that you are doing so, and ignore guys like Rob who write as if you just kicked them in the gut.

    • TimEatsApples says:

      Honestly, I might have given this game a go even with the bugs and this WIT. But for a creator to come on here and criticise someone’s review like this – twice – and to refer to it as a ‘rant’ – seems both very unprofessional and highly disrespectful. And I think it’s normal to have a different person write the preview and the review, precisely in order to offer different perspectives. I certainly won’t be buying this now.

    • Trolkien says:

      >> I’ll leave it at that here, and hope that people will give the game a try anyways

      I would love to give that game a try, but Full Control haven’t released a trial version yet. And that makes me skeptical, especially because Steam explicitely tells every Indie Devs to create a demo.

      No press versions before release is another negative point in my book. Looks like Full Control wanted to milk the franchise until an unfavorable Metascore pops up.

  43. Thathanka says:

    288 comments on this story and 20 comments on the stories above and below it. Trashing a game is certainly good for generating a degree of reader interest.

    I’ve been playing the game for a couple of hours now and am really enjoying it. It’s different and very tactical in a surprising way (no I did not play the original board game). One justified criticism however is that there is just not enough content to justify £23. However, with the free level editor on its way, there will be an infinite number of maps to try soon.

    The review seems ridiculously harsh. Maybe developers have set themselves up for this with the price tag and the complete blackout in terms of pre-release information and previews. But all in all it’s a good game that could get better.

  44. Sandepande says:

    I bought this on day 1, and it’s good enough. Bugs I can live with, there usually are patches. I like the little camera view on top right corner of my screen. The slowness of the Terminators bothers me not.

    I cannot find nothing inherently wrong in the game, as such, so I must conjecture that this reviewer was expecting something… else.

  45. Moronik says:

    This review is nonsense.

    Practically every issue raised here is a non-issue, if you actually play the game. And there is a patch to address the others. This review seems designed to specifically put people off buying the game.

    So much for objectivity.

  46. GhostBoy says:

    If there is a lot wrong with a game, and calling it “as bad as it could be” even, it seems an odd choice to devote an entire paragraph to a lack of excitement generated not by the game, but by the people playing it.

    How, exactly, is it a failing of the game that you picked people to play against that ragequit or idled for too long? Surely, if it is a glitchy and uninspiring as you write, there would be better subjects for those column inches.

    I am not disputing the critisms. I have not played it. Yet the fact that you chose to highlight this suggests a desire to find flaw where there is none, which cast the rest of the review in a troublesome light, whether or not your points are valid.

  47. Advanced Assault Hippo says:

    Sorry, but after playing through quite a bit of this I’m rather shocked at this article – and tbh I feel a little bit sorry for the devs that a PC gaming website as big as RPS are knocking seven shades of shit out of what seems a pretty good game.

    All I can do is recommend that everyone who was thinking of buying the game actually ignores RPS on this occasion. It just seems a bizarre hatchet job, however you try and justify it.

    It’s worth buying and I’m personally enjoying it. It’s got the GW Space Hulk feel pretty much spot on.

    • Machinations says:

      I agree fully. A cynical man might suggest that RPS needs to regain credibility after posting a positively gushing review of Shadowrun Returns, without even mentoning the save game snafu.

      • RProxyOnly says:

        Or even the fact that instead of being an RPG, it was simply a series of story connected combat missions with a stat system?

        • Machinations says:

          Yes..the Shadowrun returns review was a whitewash, but this was a hatchet job. I expected better. As many here note, read the comments before accepting a WiT as gospel. Frankly, the readership is more discerning..and thats a fact, jack.

  48. JohnH says:

    Oookay so let them patch it a few times to hopefully fix these stupid issues and then buy it when it’s at least 75% off in an upcoming Steam sale.

  49. Commissar Choy says:

    Well, I’m enjoying it.

    [E]: What the fuck is with everyone questioning Rab’s integrity? RPS commenters, I am disappoint.

    • Machinations says:

      I’ll bite.

      The review reminds me of Quinn’s take on Fallout NV – “God, the dialogue in this game. I think there were several points where I was so bored my brain began rotating in my head like food in a microwave“; or the more recent Shadowrun Returns review (which was positively glowing and glossed over the numerous design flaws, no mention of saves – I think it was a universal disappointment) or the EUIV review which felt phoned in, or the bizarre Splunky rant (notwithstanding the kissy face article from earlier today)

      I guess I find RPS increasingly inconsistent. Though often I think they are dead right, Red Orchestra 2 I bought based on RPS review to find (on release) it was trash (love the tank gunner autoaim in MP). Similar with Shadowrun Returns – a linear RPG is not really a RPG, and the combat is simplified pablum.

      As long as one takes these as irreverent and fairly inconsequential impressions, great. I am surprised that if RPS felt the game warrants such a strongly worded takedown, that they would not have mentioned in their previews for the game. I really think that the wording here is over the top.

      • datom says:

        Three times in two posts you have complained about Shadowrun Returns, which was half the price with double the content and the best turn-based RPG since Arcanum, and the best editor since NWN, and compared a pre-announced feature (admittedly a shite one) with a game breaking bug. I now must ignore your other salient points. That in itself is a testament to how opinions on different games can be different.

      • Archonsod says:

        Wow. It’s almost as if the site has multiple writers who may have different opinions to each other!

        • Machinations says:

          Or maybe, just maybe, I expected more from RPS, and I am not alone.

          Sahdowrun returns was equivalnet to Arcanum..the game whosebox. I am looking at rightnow? Onesecond..

          Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.
          Gasps
          Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

          Thatis an ABSURD statement. ShadowrunReturns is TRASH

    • mattamd says:

      I haven’t read many of his reviews (or much of anything on this site for that matter), but if this is how he normally “reviews” games, I’d probably be questioning his integrity as well. The major things he faults the game for is that it doesn’t FEEL like Space Hulk and so he basically calls the game a piece of trash. The thing is, they took the exact rules, figures, tiles, art, missions and game play from board game, made them 3D and playable against AI and online with friends. What else could you possibly be looking for in a board game to PC conversion!?

      There’s nothing wrong with criticizing the game for bugs and lack of features (that’s what reviews are for). But to say this game is nothing like the Space Hulk board game is just bizarre. No matter what your impression of the game’s level of quality is, there’s no denying the fact that this game is an extremely close replication of the 3rd edition board game.

      • Archonsod says:

        If a board game was simply the sum of it’s components, you’d have a bad boardgame in the first place.

  50. Decado says:

    Did the payouts stop coming in or something?

    RPS has been hyping the hell out of this game and giving glowing previews, even though anyone who has played a tactical game before and watched gameplay videos would have noticed it looked shallow.

    What’s worse is RPS used this game in part to hype the Jagged Alliance Flashback kickstarter (lets be honest, it’s doubtful that’ll turn out any better).

    Not cool, guys. Note to self: RPS can be bought, just don’t miss a payment.

    • RProxyOnly says:

      RPS can only report on what they know… For a Space Hulk fan, news of a release on the PC would be huge news.. it’s just unfortunate that the unforseen reality doesn’t live up to the hype. I wouldn’t consider it RPS fault for not knowing in advance what a clunky play experience it would be.

    • Sandepande says:

      Except that it isn’t all that clunky. Simultaneous commands can be issued, which makes things progress quickly enough, and the plodding pace of the Terminatrixes seems appropriate for guys dressed up in what looks like a rather hefty piece of kit.

      And the board game lacks the always-lovely Vader-talk.

    • WrenBoy says:

      anyone who has played a tactical game before and watched gameplay videos would have noticed it looked shallow.

      I guess you can provide links to all the RPS commenters who pointed out this obvious shallowness?

    • Sarkhan Lol says:

      It’s almost as if everyone was super excited for the modern release of a classic franchise which turned out to be complete shit.