Bing bong! Space Hulk: Deathwing now boarding

Space Hulk: Deathwing [official site], the new squad-based FPS adaptation of Games Workshop’s tabletop Warhammer 40,000 spin-off, is now out. Our Alec is currently busy polishing his crotchskull but, once he’s done with that and made himself decent, he’ll load Deathwing and play so he can tell us all Wot He Thinks. For now, he sends initial word that “the environments look like concept art and it has the requisite thumpy metal sound effects, but do brace yourself for a whole lot of stomping down long, twisty corridors.” Sounds like Space Hulk all right.

Deathwing sends a squad of Space Marines in their biggest, shiniest, most skull-emblazoned Terminator armour into space hulks, huge mish-mashes of ancient spaceships smooshed together by dark forces. These space hulks likely have handy ancient technology and artifacts aboard but, also, are crawling with monsters. So off you go with your spacepals, shooting through ships, completing missions, collecting new weapons, and levelling up to boost your powers and abilities.

It’s made by Streum On Studio, who were behind the wonky but charmingly ambitious E.Y.E: Divine Cybermancy. I’m expecting Space Hulk will also be a bit weird and wonky but hey, it will let me and my chums stomp around lovely big spacecathedrals. What I’ve seen of singleplayer looks a bit bland but I’m hopeful for co-op antics.

Space Hulk: Deathwing is out on Steam, down to £25.49/33,99€/$33.99 thanks to a 15% launch discount. If you were curious about how much Streum On changed after delaying the game a few days for polishing following beta feedback, check out this list.

As I said, Alec will tell you Wot He Thinks once he- oh for goodness sake, Alec, your helmet’s not going to get any shinier.

23 Comments

  1. gi_ty says:

    Hmmm I don’t think crotchskulls can ever be polished enough. The emperor demands perfection.

  2. Graylight says:

    I tried the beta, and at that time (2 weeks ago), it was a steaming pile of hot rubbish.

    If you’re interested in this game, keep Steam’s refund policy in mind.

  3. DarkFenix says:

    Played the beta, found it very disappointing personally. The environments look great, in fact the game in general looks great visually, but beyond that the game offers little.

    The AI is buggy and idiotic, there’s no AI director or randomisation to lend any replayability, the sound is mediocre at best, movement feels wrong for the setting, the UI is terrible and the silly session-only progression was never going to be a good idea. Oh and it was crashy and buggy as hell, but I’d guess they’ve fixed at least the worst of that by now. First game that’s had me reaching for the refund button on Steam.

    • LexW1 says:

      No AI director or randomisation seems like absolute bonkers madness given they managed to have both even in the blimmin’ board game (at least in some editions!). It shouldn’t be too much of an ask for a modern computer game version.

      • KDR_11k says:

        I could swear I heard them talk about an AI director but I guess I mixed that up with another game.

    • Sian says:

      Surprisingly, the game seems to feel a lot better since the beta. This might be one of those instances where a beta two weeks before release can change a lot.

      I can’t really comment on too many things as I didn’t have time to play it yet, I can comment on some:

      I’m not sure what you expected from the AI of opponents that are supposed to swarm you. They do just that.

      Movement is just the way I’d expect it to be. You’re wearing terminator armour, after all. One YouTuber mentioned that the stiff animation of the terminators might be intended for the same reason, but I don’t know about that.

      Session-only progress is neither a bad nor a novel idea. While you didn’t have XP in Left4Dead, you had the weak guns at the start and better guns later on – in every level. Same thing here: you get better equipment as the level progresses. BUT! They listened and introduced Codex mode where you can’t change class or weapons during a mission, but you have access to everything before you start. This makes the game more like Vermintide without having to hunt for loot.

      • Harmless Sponge says:

        Thinking more the friendly AI, my two squadmates were utter morons, Mr Assault Cannon walking away from a tide of nids at his back. I went the long way round to the first objective on the first mission and couldn’t pick up a weapon from a fallen brother, only to be directed to it moments later after I cleared a previous room. Almost killed myself once enabling a turret which immediately rocketed me in the face. The default controls annoy me but each to their own there, and the layering of stealers over one another at choke points looks really weird and totally unnatural.

        It looks lovely, but it’s getting a resounding meh from me right now. Feels very very clunky, even booting it and going through the menus feels weird.

        Hoping it pans out well, but will be giving it a cooloff period until I go mission 2.

      • DarkFenix says:

        If the AI didn’t so readily get stuck or spaz out on pathfinding obstructions, I’d say it was fine for swarm AI. And the friendly AI is pants-on-head retarded, but I expected that (as it’s a genre staple sadly) so don’t mark it down for it, enemy AI being screwed is unforgivable though.

        And um, what? What stiff animation? You move like a ballerina, not someone wearing a half-ton tank suit. You can sprint, turn as fast as your mouse does. The only thing they removed from standard FPS fare is the ability to jump, nothing else bears any resemblance to how a terminator should move. This isn’t helped by the ever so soft footsteps you make, these walking tanks make less noise moving than I do walking with hard shoes on a hard floor.

        That codex mode thing is near to hear at least. The primary reasons the session progress irked me is a) it pisses on the setting and b) the game was a crashy mess when I played it that could and would reset you repeatedly during your session.

      • Phil Culliton says:

        Everything about this game works for me, with two exceptions: the Genestealers and the combat. The two go hand in hand.

        Genestealers are supposed to be crafty, supremely deadly foes. Older Space Hulk PC games (I’m thinking specifically of the original, and Vengeance of the Blood Angels) gave them their due by turning their reaching you into an epic, blot-out-the-world one on one struggle. You reacted quickly or you died, and one was more than enough.

        Deathwing turns this on its head. Yes, they attack in groups. Yes, they’re easy to kill. But if one reaches you, you shouldn’t simply be stabbing “Q” and watching everything around you explode – special shout out to the physics, here, as it was sad to watch GS bodies float away after killing them.

        I don’t want QTEs, but some type of tactical melee options would have been well-deserved and (possibly) allowed the devs to make hordes a little smaller and (possibly) spend a bit more time making them seem like worthy adversaries.

        This leads into my issue with the combat in general. It’s clunky and overcrowded. Enemies are everywhere but aiming and melee are floaty at best, making “enemies everywhere” a chore instead of the glorious Terminator-armored fun it could be. Enemies that should take cover (Genestealers!) don’t and instead rush at you as if the AI programmer didn’t think they were worth putting any effort into.

        Basically, very pretty, and the core of a game I’ve been dreaming of since the early 90s, but still needs massive amounts of AI and balancing work, and could probably use some nuance beyond “mash Q!!!1!!” in the melee department. I’ll be trying it every now and then, but I’m hoping for some updates so I can really enjoy it.

  4. fenriz says:

    The World needs a complete sandbox simulation of Wh40k. End of story. No FPS, no turn-based, no real time will ever exploit this brand’s potential.

    Just a real simulation where we can be technicians in a battleship and cut and plug down to the smallest wire and panel in it, or scribes or politicians in a 10 miles tall building of Terra and see it all in 10 real hours.

    • SaintAn says:

      Sounds like you want a Star Wars Galaxies version of Warhammer 40K.

      • fenriz says:

        i never played it so i don’t know how much depth was in the professions, but yeah.

        I just believe that the best brands scream to become alive in everyway. I don’t want an online gamey with typical mmo clichès, i want full persistancy and virtuality, that’s the future of interaction. Compared to a fiction world that breathes (a world like Dune, for example) everything else in videogaming appears pointless and childish, even century old pre-written storytelling, ever since the Bible: it’s time we take control and write our own stories whilst in those worlds.

        can’t you see?

  5. QuantumAsh says:

    I’ve spent the evening (4 hours) in a 3-way multiplayer game with a couple of chums, sorry, Brother Marines. I don’t see where some of criticisms stem from. The UI is fine, no issues. The sound is excellent, nice atmospherics. Some of the animations are rough, but when the Assault Cannon is blazing and the screen is full of flying limbs, I’m not really looking at the animations.

    The only criticisms were that we couldn’t complete L1, the server crashed on us 3 times. That could get boring. Yes, the spawn points didn’t vary; but that helped us get through the levels on replays as it was quite tough to begin with. Although we were probably not the Emperor’s finest…

    In summary, we had a blast, lots of fun. Not reaching for the refund button and looking forward to the next session.

    • keefybabe says:

      “I’ve spent the evening (4 hours) in a 3-way”. You had a good night, then!

    • dirtrobot says:

      Campaign is a good time as well. People trolled this game pretty hard but it’s really pretty good. Great atmosphere, everything is as I thought being spacehulk as an fps would be. It’s a good time wading through 15 corpses to heal your battle brother.

  6. slerbal says:

    Well despite the negativity above, I’m enjoying the game so far. The environments, the sense of weight in the Terminators and the general weapon stuff is cool. I’ve yet to try MP but so far it’s good and *what I expected* from a game based on Space Hulk!

  7. NetharSpinos says:

    Another satisfied customer here. We spent the evening trying out the single & multiplayer, and barring a couple of crashes had a very enjoyable time with it all. No idea why people hate the game so much…

  8. satan says:

    Looking at reviews, sounds like another ‘wait until optimised/patched’ game.

  9. dirtrobot says:

    Having fps issues with good hardware? From the forums:
    If you have the hardware to run it and are not affected by some of the reported hardware bugs, the game feels very fluid with an unlocked framerate (and looks great on max detail).

    Go to Gameusersettings.ini in users/yourname/appdata/local/spacehulkgame/saved/config

    and add:

    bSmoothFrameRate=False

    and change FrameRateLimit=0.00
    to FrameRateLimit=144

    i.e. :

    FrameRateLimit=144
    bSmoothFrameRate=False

    • Faults says:

      It does beg the question why developers push FPS smoothing so hard. I can’t think of one game where it’s actually been beneficial. It choked Borderlands 2 down to 30 FPS on my GTX 1070. To be fair, in most other games it hasn’t been quite so bad, but did in some cases introduce noticeable input latency. Nevertheless IMHO one should never have to delve into ini files to disable such a thing.

      • dirtrobot says:

        Not always sure they’re aware of it, I believe it’s a default setting in the unreal engine config.

      • Phil Culliton says:

        Also, it helps us on occasion (spent 5 years as a dev on an in-house game engine answering this very question, so). Having a smooth framerate is useful for any number of things.

        If they were forcing the frame rate down to 30 FPS, they might have had a lot of calculations that couldn’t be applied consistently across frames. They were very likely trying to help you (and also people who didn’t have a 1070) have a consistent gaming experience. Game engine usage is a balancing act.