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Space Hulk: Tactics Review

Terminators, Tyranids, Bolters and tight hallways. Welcome to Space Hulk: Tactics. Get ready to smash, blast, and slash through hordes of the Xeno threat or even play as the Tyranids and slaughter the invading Space Marine Chapter. Though be prepared to take your time and pray to the dice Gods that you get good simulated rolls in the Random-Number-Generator gameplay.

Welcome to the 41st Millenium

Space Hulk: Tactics brings the cult-classic board game to PC in an interesting way. While I am a long time fan of Warhammer 40k and turn-based strategy, I found myself more intrigued by the “sub-games” of this title than the actual gameplay. Before I get into that, I have to say, this installment in the Space Hulk remakes is one of the most visually beautiful versions to date. From the character models to the environments, it truly does represent 40K in a superb way.

Over and over again I found myself utilizing a feature that I have not seen featured in many turn-based games that is present here; First-person perspective. It brings the world to scale and to life, able to see what your Terminators are seeing: The cult-religious environments, the towering steel warriors across the hall, or even the menacing alien foes that await you down the corridor. Everything looks detailed and feels immersive, rather than the effects details such as gunfire, which is slightly sub-par.

Slowly But Surely

Boy oh boy, are your super-human warriors slow. Clunky and stomping down corridors, eyes on the objective. Like most turn-based games, your troops have “Action points”, which can be used to move, shoot, or interact with the environment. The gameplay loop here is pretty simple: Each turn you are able to issue orders to your troops as well as receive a Card that you can use to boost your warriors or convert said Card into additional AP. Each Terminator has 4 base AP (action points). Believe me, this is where the “Tactics” in the title come into play. It will cost you 1 AP to do anything, even turning a Terminator within one square to rotate to a new hallway or angle that needs to be covered.

This can be a negative or a positive, depending on the type of gamer behind the screen. For me, this felt fairly cumbersome, as I cannot see the realism in my warriors not being able to look left, right and center while providing cover for his buddies. Though I fully understand that this may have needed to be sacrificed for balance and to truly promote tactical thinking during each match, so no foul from me. While I did see that if a unit can “peek” around a corner by being two squares back, they do have a slight angle that they can fire around that corner. Even if they progress into an open room, as long as they are on one side of the room, they can cover the majority of it. Though there is no animation of angled fire, so be prepared to watch bullets curve into targets.

THE EMPEROR'S WILL

Without a doubt, I enjoyed my time in Space Hulk: Tactics, especially in the “sub-games” such as unit customization and map-making! Something I feel that most Warhammer games get right is allowing their player base to be creative and get personal with their armies. After all, these video games stem from the beloved table-top titles such as Space Hulk, BattleFleet: Gothic, Warhammer Fantasy, and Warhammer 40K, which all warrant and encourage roleplayers and enthusiasts alike to take control and get creative. So these additives truly did make me applaud the developers in allowing me and other players to customize and “paint” our warriors as well as create challenging or exciting maps to hurt each other in.

Though the title is fun and thought-provokingly challenging, it does have some annoying but not game breaking bugs. Occasionally, my Terminators’ weapon fire animation would never end, so there would be a permanent barrage of bolter fire screaming down a hallway for the duration of the match, or the cinematic camera would let me just view the floor in an uncomfortably close and unskippable way. While these aren’t necessarily a deal breaker, it is odd that these went unnoticed prior to the release. With that, we have already seen 2 major updates and the game launched less than a month ago at the time of writing this.

One of the main reasons I enjoyed this title so much is every match becomes an epic story. One such case was when my squad was ordered to plant an explosive device on a critical target. As we progressed down the treacherous and grim hallways, swarms of Tyranid Genestealers stalked our progress. Each step we took drew the Xeno threat closer for the kill. Surrounded and forced into a small room, the only way for the Sergeant and the other squad members to survive was to “voluntell” my heavy weapons specialist to hold the door as we locked it behind him. Spent shells clanked and banged on the steel floor as he felled monstrosity over beast until the last rounds flew from his assault cannon. That brother was never heard from again.

7

The Verdict: Great

Space Hulk: Tactics will force you to be technically and tactically proficient in every match.  An economy of motion and combat will prove to be the utmost challenge for new and seasoned players alike. Thought this title contains a few bugs, by no means is it a deal breaker. Fans of Space Hulk and Warhammer 40k alike should find themselves fully at home in the fresh take on the series. Be warned that you will need to invest a lot of time into each match, as the gameplay loop itself is fairly slow. Each win you can truly feel and each loss hits you right in the gut. “In the grim darkness of the 41st millennium, there is only war.

Bric Hudson
Written by
November 19, 2018
Published in Strategy

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Bric is a US Army veteran and a passionate gamer. While in military service, he found gaming to be a way to connect with his friends all over the world. This blossomed into a fascination with the gaming culture and the experiences had while launching up a whole new title. He is fond of a variety of genres, which is reflected on his Twitch streams and on his Youtube channel. Find Bric on YouTube. Find Bric on Twitch.

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