Published on June 11th, 2018 | by James Coles
Space Hulk: Deathwing Enhanced Edition Review
Summary: If you're mad for Warhammer 40,000 and the lore surrounding the franchise then perhaps you'll get more out of Space Hulk than I did.
Space Hulk: Deathwing Enhanced Edition is a tactical first-person shooter set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. Initially released in 2016 for the PC, this is a new version of the game available on the PlayStation 4.
Upon its release, Space Hulk: Deathwing received a mixed response from critics some of whom were less than impressed with its general performance issues. So, with this latest version vowing to correct the original’s problems, how does the enhanced edition fair on the PS4?
Although I must admit that I didn’t play Space Hulk on the PC; I can report that I didn’t notice any significant bugs on the PS4 version. That said, grievances from the original game such as clunky menus, inferior AI behaviour and a mundane storyline still exist within this enhanced edition. Therefore, similar to the original release, only hardcore Warhammer 40,000 fans will get the most out of this latest attempt.
The premise of Space Hulk: Deathwing sees you assume the role of a Psyker. If you’re familiar with Warhammer then you’ll know exactly what that is but for the rest of us; you’re a heavily armoured space marine. Your job is to blast away aliens called Genestealers which have infested a derelict spacecraft called Space Hulk.
And that’s pretty much it. For the most part, you’ll be wandering down corridors to reach an objective only to hit a dead end, turn back around and then blast generic alien nasties to smithereens. Most of the environments are relatively large, and although they appear open when viewing them via the map, they are indeed all linear. Taking a left instead of a right tends to reward you with a relic opposed to anything that would make exploration worth the hassle.
What Space Hulk suffers from predominantly though is a lack of excitement. Its best moments occur early on, after which, it stays in second gear all the way until its end. Nothing put me on the edge of my seat, as I sleep-walked through the entire single-player campaign. On the other hand, co-op play does add a new dimension to the story but only if you’re able to sustain a reliable online connection. For the most part, though, I couldn’t get anything durable, so I was stuck slugging it out with my offline compadres.
Each mission sees you joined by two teammates and by pressing R1, you can command them to either attack, defend or heal you while in battle. On the whole, the Co-op AI performs well, and while these NPC’s are nowhere near Elizabeth’s standards in Bioshock Infinite, they perform satisfactorily and certainly helped me get out of a few tricky situations on more that one occasion.
Unfortunately, though, it’s the enemy AI that isn’t up to scratch. Where the original game suffered from idiotic behaviour courtesy of your teammates, here it’s your adversaries that function inadequately. There’s little variation to how the Genestealers behave meaning after the first few fights, you should have figured them out. This doesn’t bode well for a first-person shooter, especially one that mostly wants you to engage in battle with this variety of opponent throughout its duration.
As for the general controls; they’re not too dissimilar to other games of this ilk: R2 fires your primary weapon, and your secondary / melee weapon is usable via the L2 button. Melee weapons vary from swords to power fists, and primary weapons are akin to most standard first-person shooters. What is different, however, is that if you’re getting too bogged down with multiple attackers, you can crush your opponents by pushing down the L3 button and running straight at them. Charging is especially handy if you’re low on ammo as it allows you to save what resources you have and use them at a later date.
Additionally, Psyker’s have special ‘Psych Powers’ which can cause a vast amount of damage. Your first power is the ‘chain lighting’ which lets you blast a powerful electricity bolt that obliterates any enemies in your vicinity. Furthermore, pressing the touchpad summons a portal where you can fix your power armour as well as equip new primary and secondary weapons. It’s also here where you can alternate between the different psych powers you’ll unlock later in the game.
In regards to the shooting mechanics, at first, unloading your machine gun produces an unholy amount of recoil. Even when firing in short bursts, it sometimes feels that your supersoldier has noodles for arms. Nevertheless, as you progress through the story your marine’s stats gradually increase, so it doesn’t take long for him to become more efficient in combat.
Graphics / Audio
Graphically, Space Hulk: Deathwing Enhanced Edition is mediocre. It isn’t terrible by any means, but it certainly isn’t pushing the PS4 to its graphical limits. And while the atmospherics are relatively bland and generally nothing to write home about, the sound design is where Space Hulk excels and is pleasingly above average.
So is Space Hulk: Deathwing Enhanced Edition worth your time? Well, no. Not really. It isn’t awful, but it isn’t exactly great either. If you’re mad for Warhammer 40,000 and the lore surrounding the franchise then perhaps you’ll get more out of Space Hulk than I did. However, if you’re looking to freshen up your first-person shooter collection then feel free to skip this one.
Primary Format: PlayStation 4 (Reviewed)
Game Genre: First-Person Shooter
Game Developer: Streum on Studio
Game Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Reviewer: James Coles