They have an army, we have a Spacehulk: Deathwing

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There aren’t too many Warhammer 40K games out there that are actually firmly set in the action genre, a surprising notion when you consider just how brutal and violent the franchise is. Warhammer 40K: Space Marine still stands as the prime example of how to make a proper game that goes in guns blazing.

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And now, Spacehulk: Deathwing is on the way, ready to fight for the Emperor and take out the Genestealer swarms. In the bloodiest manner possible.

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Unfamiliar with the franchise? What Spacehulk: Deathwing does, is place players inside the power armour of the Emperor’s most elite and powerful soldiers. Massive soldiers who make Iron Man’s Hulkbuster armour look like a cardboard cosplay in comparison. It’s a first-person shooter, with a few novel ideas.

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For starters, the demonstration that we were shown at E3, had a satisfying chunky feel to it. Our space marine wasn’t some lithe and nimble soldier as he navigated the tight halls of a derelict spaceship. He was a massive, unrelenting weapon, walking heavy and hitting hard in Terminator armour. And he wasn’t alone either.

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Joined by four of your battle-brothers, players have to face off against Genestealers, wielding trademark Warhammer weapons such as the Mace of Absolution, Thunder Hammer and Lightning Claws. In fact, the game spent time alternating between melee combat and traditional shooting.

At another point in the demo, our Librarian picked up a shield and dove straight into a horde of Genestealers, enforcing permenant silence through the sticky remains of their skulls. In another instance, the screen was covered in blood when we saw the effect of a mini-gun used at close range on a dozen advancing Genestealers.

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The catch here however, is that all this action does require some thinking. Your power armour is divided up into five health bars that governs how much damage you’re able to dish out in turn. Take too much wear and tear on your right arm for instance, and your Thunder Hammer attacks won’t deal that much damage.

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There’s also an RPG-lite system in place, allowing players to gain new abilities through five skill trees. Your battle-brothers can also take a few commands to help out, while the entire game can be played in four-player co-operative mode. All that, and it looks actually pretty damn good on the visual front.

But it’s the little details that’ll grab Warhammer 40K fans. The small artistic touches and nods to the franchise. The space-devil is in the details here.

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Spacehulk: Deathwing feels like a nod to the golden age of first-person shooters, dressed up in some new-generation paint and with a few modern ideas added to the mix. From what I saw, it looked brutally satisfying and visceral, the kind of game that Warhammer fans can be proud of.

Last Updated: June 23, 2015

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