Craftsmen from Games Workshop created a truly immersive universe: any game based on Warhammer always a reason for the delight of millions of players around the world. At least until its release, for sure. And now, for the third time in the last 5 years, an adventure awaits us in the sub-series Space hulkdedicated to the adventures of a special detachment of terminators along the remains of forgotten ships. Cyanide studios for several years we tried to surprise ordinary players and not upset loyal fans. Did it work, fun or not – read the review Space Hulk: tactics and you will understand everything yourself.
The action of the next game will unfold in the narrow corridors of a huge conglomerate of ancient spaceships that were sent to explore distant stars thousands and thousands of years ago. Naturally, over the long centuries of wandering through the galaxies, many of them disappeared, falling into the so-called subspace of the Warp. Years later, spaceships appear in various parts of the inhabited universe, generating immense interest in the Imperium. Everything is explained very simply: such skeletons are simply teeming with ancient artifacts and forgotten technologies. But not only by them. Genestealers can often be found on such vessels – evil spirits that look like the zerg from StarCraft and are clearly inspired by a series of Alien films. They will be the main antagonists in Space Hulk: tactics.
If we pay attention to the name of the game, namely the word tactics, many questions may arise. The fact is that the next part, dedicated to the adventures of the terminator squad, has practically nothing to do with tactics. Most players note that 2018 is the year of the revival of turn-based and isometric games, which, one by one, again capture the hearts of players who seem to have turned away from them for a long time. So it is with Space Hulk: tactics. It is a rendering of the original Games Workshop board game. Everything here follows the rules of classic wargames: the plot is presented in the form of stylish, pretentious dialogues (Warhammer fans will be pleased), there is, albeit a very nominal, system for pumping units and, of course, dice rolls! There is no way without this obligatory component of any board game. And, as it seems to me, such an accurate transfer of mechanics into the game, where the basis of the gameplay is the fight, not at all to the face. In RPG, randomness does not get on the nerves as much as in a tactical turn-based action movie, which Space Hulk: tactics calls itself. The cube is just the face of randomness in video games, what kind of tactics can we even talk about here? Or choose from the squad one of three modes – defense, cover and attack – full-fledged tactical gameplay? Here you can play bounce only in two cases: if you are sorely unlucky, or if you simply forgot to poke the necessary button in the fighter’s control panel. That’s all. Not quite like an interesting, thoughtful action. Especially after some Xcom… So it turns out that the prefix “tacticsThe game is completely optional. I think the developers should have paid attention to the previous part, which was performed in the genre of a cooperative, dynamic shooter – Space Hulk Deathwing. This format is much more suitable for a computer game than an exact, like a carbon copy, transfer of a board.
Brave new world
For those who are not familiar with the setting of the sub-series, I will tell you a little about the world of the game. As many have already understood from the lines above, we will be clearing such a huge dump of ancient spaceships from genestealers (based on the Warhammer universe, the most dangerous subspecies of tyranids). Usually on such abandoned hulks one can find not only local zerg, Warp demons and minions of Chaos, but also some orcs, dissecting ships through interstellar space. That is why the Imperium decided to establish a special squad, clad in kilometer-long armor and hand them the heaviest weapons. These paratroopers were called “terminators”.
The work of this unit is not sweet: the environment shows how dangerous the local population is. Your squad will have to spend more than one day in extremely gloomy scenery, shooting dozens and hundreds of genestealers. By the way, enemies do not differ in special techniques or unexpected moves (hello, tactics!), choosing the standard strategy for all beetle spiders – zergrash. But nevertheless, the developers from Cyanide Studios made an attempt to diversify the gameplay of the visual board game: in some missions you have to clear the entire field from enemies, in others – hold out until a certain time, thirdly – reach the desired point with at least one unit. And so on, you understand the nature of the tasks. Of course, this gives a breath of fresh air, but it is still played in a rather monotonous manner.
There is a plot in the game, but it is completely optional. Yes, it is stylish, but familiar for a board game, served. Yes, the story has pretty well written dialogues. But still, it serves more to maintain interest in the gameplay itself and is not a full-fledged, independent element. It will definitely appeal to fans of Warhammer and Space Hulk in particular.
Video sequence and sound design
Cyanide Studios also tried very hard in the design, making really magnificent scenery: the gloomy atmosphere of constant danger, emanating from dexterous and cunning genestealers, is easily conveyed. Traveling through the gigantic skeleton, you will find yourself more than once in a very skillfully designed labyrinth of dark corridors, constantly waiting for the next sortie of the minions of Chaos. By the way, the developers have provided a first-person view here. It is absolutely optional and serves only to further immerse the world of Space Hulk: tactics. If you move units using this version of the camera, constant rustling and sounds will no longer seem to you just decorative trifles.
The units look great, like animated plastic versions of the same figurines used in the original Games Workshop board games. Shooting, close combat, everything is fine. In order to make the world of the corridors of a forgotten spaceship not annoying in 2018, you really need to put your soul into your game.
As a result, we get another game in the Space Hulk sub-series, which will definitely appeal to all fans of the desktop big brother. You won’t find dynamic battles like in Space Hulk Deathwind or elaborate turn-based combat tactics like in Xcom. A painfully familiar mechanic with dice rolls awaits you. Painfully familiar and so beloved by fans of the series. The fans will definitely be happy with the game. But why the rest of the gamers once again wander through the well-rendered ruins of ancient ships, fighting at random with hordes of the same monsters, is not clear. Even the developers’ attempts to diversify the gameplay will not help those who played at least one part of Space Hulk to feel any new emotions.
LID2PRO reviewer verdict
Since I am far from a fan of the Warhammer universe, I could rate it lower. But, looking back at the horde of fans, I won’t. Still, many will like this gameplay, even taking into account all the flaws and outright boredom.
Definitely the strongest side of the game. Carefully recreated compartments of space hulks, a first-person view and love for every little thing do not give a lower grade for this component.
Not bad. Especially when you play on behalf of the squad. Music is also on the level
Nothing exciting or new. The ability to play in co-op or against a friend. That’s all you need to know about him.
Completely optional element. You won’t be too distracted by it if you want to. But the company helps to build a logical chain between certain battles.
Again, not for everybody. For the lover of board games and turn-based adventures. If so, you will like everything. If not, I don’t promise.