Time was I’d jump for joy at any Warhammer-related game announcement, but these days a fast-track to madness would be trying to name every 40K title that was released over the last couple of years. F’rinstance, this is my first time hearing of Eisenhorn: XENOS, a “fully 3D adventure game” based on the novel series of the same name by fondly-regarded ubiqui-scribe Dan Abnett. You play As Gregor Eisenhorn, one of the Empire of Man’s feared Inquisitors (Secret Judge Dredd but more so, basically) who has “agility, psychic powers and a selection of the Imperium’s most iconic weaponry” on hand and is voiced by Kermodian chum Mark Strong.
All of which, you may note, reveals very little about what kind of game this actually is, so I gunned it up to try and find out.
The answer is a super-linear third-person action game with a bit of quicktime-eventing and a whole lot of story. Mark Strong, highly practiced in the art of playing glowering hard-nuts on the silver-screen, does a fine job of playing the grim, privately remorseful Eisenhorn despite clearly reading a script aloud, but sadly it’s amateur hour for the rest of the cast, which makes for a sadly disjointed atmosphere.
Eisenhorn’s also made for iPad, and frankly it shows – we get early-last-gen graphics, a mostly railroaded structure (press A to jump here and only here, that sort of thing) and puppety animations.
It’s not awful though, thanks both to Mr Strong and some pleasantly huge’n’gothic 40K environments, but it does feel a touch low-rent. If I stuck with it, it would be primarily to hear Mark Strong narrate the majority of a Dan Abnett novel, with a side order of upgrading beloved entries from the 40K arsenal. I don’t suppose I shall ever tire of the sound of a chainsword.
So, somewhere between the Space Marine game and a more rudimentary Telltale adventure – though I haven’t encountered any choice’n’consequence in the first hour. Reportedly some is in there, however. Not sure I’ll stick with it unless I have a long run of rainy days – frankly the all-over-the-place production values are just that bit too distracting – but had there been more a budget attached I suspect people would have been rather fond of this one.