Weekend Flashback Review – Space Hulk

Originally Posted September 8th, 20 13

Space Hulk is a Warhammer 40,000 based board game that had been adapted into Video Game form back in 2013. While the game did lack in some ways, it was a faithful recreation of the formula. In 2014, a sequel of sorts Space Hulk Ascension was released, and according to the reviews on Steam, was received slightly more positively. Looking back, this game was a good XCOM-esque distraction and is definitely extremely difficult. It may be worth checking out if you’re a fan of the universe! It’s currently available for £18.99 on Steam (or your regional equivalent.) 

Games Workshop have a great relationship with the Video Games Industry with a lot of popular games coming out in the past.

More recently, their limited edition board game Space Hulk has been adapted into the digital realm. A faithful recreation of the actual board game, Space Hulk plays similarly to a Warhammer 40,000 version of XCOM, and it’s actually very fun.

The look of the game is definitely something that fans of the universe will appreciate. The Blood Angel Terminators in particular look extremely well detailed and are very varied. You also get to customize a banner in the main menus, though this isn’t that prevalent in the game itself. There are some weird issues that occur on the Genestealers side of things, however. The units themselves move very stiffly (Terminators do as well, but this makes more sense as they are hulking units) and their death animations don’t particularly look the best. Bodies on the ground also explode into piles of blood when any unit steps on them, which does seem like a good idea but isn’t exactly pulled off very well.

At the start of each map, you decide where to spawn your Terminators. This can be in a specific row, or in entirely different rooms in the map. This all entirely depends on which mission is selected, and there’s a lot of different objectives and units to use here. While you don’t necessarily get to select what Terminators you are allowed to take on a mission, each new unit is usually specifically selected for the type of mission you’re going on. Each of these missions are actual missions from the board game as well, so if you’re familiar with how they work, you might have a little bit of an advantage over someone who’s never played the tabletop Space Hulk.

When in mission, your units have a set of 4 Action Points. Each movement (even turning) takes up one action point, other actions can either take one or two of these. This means that each soldier has a limited number of actions and can make games extremely tense. This forces the player to think carefully about moving, firing and generally covering their squad-mates so that flanks and general attacks aren’t going to catch you off-guard. There is also Command Points distributed at the start of each turn. These are Action Points that can be used by every member of the squad, and can be re-rolled if there is a Sergeant present. It’s extremely useful and can sometimes mean the deaths of many of your enemies compared to movements purely using the squads Action Point pool.

With each attack relying on dice rolls, the game itself is heavily based upon luck, though Strategy can certainly help out some encounters. This makes the game extremely difficult, with missions taking multiple playthroughs to learn enemy spawn points, tactics and generally learning what tactics are effecting and which are prime for getting your Terminators eaten.

Multiplayer is present and is simply the missions throughout the campaign but played with two players. This can be done either online or via a very welcome Hotseat option. One player plays the Genestealers and the other the Terminators. It’s a great option to have and can make each mission a little more interesting than playing against the AI.

For fans of Turn-based Strategy, this might be worth looking into, especially fans of the XCOM franchise. However, with graphical issues and some slow down experience, it may be hard to justify it for people who have a fleeting interest in this type of game. It is simple to recommend to anyone who is a fan of Games Workshop and their Warhammer 40k franchise, especially if those people are fans of the Blood Angels. It’s a fun, difficult, and often stressful romp through a large, dead spacecraft.

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