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Space Hulk (PC) Review

 
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At a Glance...
 

Formats: Steam
 
Genre:
 
Year:
 
Publisher:
 
Developer:
 
Final Score
7.0
7.0/ 10


User Rating
1 total rating

 

We liked?


  • Awesome Narrator!
  • Cool mix of turn-based strategy and first-person perspective

Not so much?


  • Space Hulks move slooooooow!
  • Not a lot of variety


Final Fiendish Findings?

Space Hulk plays like an XCOM game, but offers features, like a claustrophobic first-person point-of-view for units. It references the title from two decades ago, but also feels fresh and uniquely implemented. It”s not a perfect title, but it was fun!

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Posted September 18, 2013 by

 
Full Fiendish Findings...
 
 

For all of the computer and video games based on Games Workshop’s Warhammer and Warhammer 40k franchises, it’s interesting that that the title for the latest game from that universe is simply: Space Hulk.  The name is a bit ridiculous – conjuring cheesy comic book cover art of The Incredible Hulk, a look of confusion and anger behind a space helmet as he tries to understand why he’s floating in space — that is, if I hadn’t been a PC gamer back in the 90s, and remembered the original Space Hulk, of which it’s based.

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Space Hulk’s game play is best described by referencing the familiar turn-based tactics of a game like XCOM Enemy Unknown.  Each unit has a certain number of action points to use each turn.  These action points consist primarily of moving, looking for, and killing things.  Like other tactical games, you’re encouraged to tread carefully.  If you use up all of your points lumbering from Point A to B, you might find yourself face-to-face with a particularly nasty creature and no ability to fight or defend yourself.

As both a retro nod to the original 1993 game and an somewhat innovative feature for the genre, Space Hulk uses an interesting mix of the standard angled top-down view of the environment and first-person perspective.  Each selected unit’s point of view is displayed in a warbly, old CRT, shaky cam-like display.  I felt that not only was it a neat feature, it gave Space Hulk an immersive feeling, drawing me up close and personal to a series that typically has you watching your characters from a distance.  As my hulking units marched around the level, the narrow point-of-view made me feel uneasy, as if something would pop out at any moment.  Combined with the ambient drones of industrial environments, I felt the hairs standing up on the back of my neck several times, waiting for things to attack from all sides like a Dead Space game.  Thank God it’s a turn-based game with a chance for me to catch my breath!

For the most part, you have a god’s eye view of the environment, but when you kill an enemy, the camera angle changes to a more cinematic angle as you perform a “righteous kill.”

I typically skip right through most mission briefings, but Space Hulk’s narrator is hypnotic to listen to.  The guy’s voice is like the British version of James Earl Jones.  To my American ears, it was absolutely magical!

One of the downsides to the game, is that each unit moves… really… slow.  I mean really slow.

While you can select and move other units without waiting for orders to finish, assuming you won’t cross paths, I couldn’t figure out a way to speed things along.  I suppose this option to “fast travel” would take away from the game’s slower and deliberate feel, giving the game that sped-up Benny-Hill-chasing-the-girls feel.  Benny Hill Space Hulks.  Heh.  That’s ridiculous!  

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The game isn’t perfect, but I rather enjoyed my time with it.  I think Space Hulk will be enjoyable for those who enjoy turn-based strategy games like XCOM, but don’t care about a super, feature-rich game.  Space Hulk is available on Steam for $29.99, but think that it’d benefit from a release on the PlayStation Network as well as the Xbox Live Marketplace… er, the Xbox Game Store.

I’d also like to see some of these titles may their way to the Apple App Store, Google Play, and for the Windows 8 Store.  The world of tablet devices needs more titles like this and I think the turn-based style would make for a great transition to a touch-based game.

Update: Apparently, there IS a version of Space Hulk coming to iOS sometime in the near future… perhaps this fall?  

Give it a shot, and at the very least keep any eye out for upcoming Steam sales, and nab this one if it happens to be one of the feature items!


Troy Benedict