Space Hulk Review

A long time gaming friend of mine recently gifted me a copy of the turn-based tactical video game Space Hulk, which was released in August 2013 by Full Control and is based on the Blood Angels Chapter of the Space Marines that are in battle against an alien foe known as the Genestealers. Having little experience in the Warhammer 40,000 universe (other than a total of 11 minutes of playing time in Warhammer 40,000 Space Marine), this game and its place in the overarching mythology are fresh material for me.

After logging about two hours of game time in Space Hulk and progressing through the first part of the campaign “Boarding the Sin of Damnation” (three scenarios), I have moved into the “Sin of Damnation” part and am working on the “Exterminate” scenario at the present time. There are two chapters featured in the game, the Blood Angels and the Space Wolves. From what I can tell they are basically Space Marine variants that can play through the campaign with different parameters that effect the Command Points dice rolls and the Squad Loadout type.

The graphics are serviceable for a game of this genre, and there are frequent action orientated cut scenes highlighting some of the Blood Angel bad-assery in action (there is currently a 365,000 day waiting period for a Storm Bolter in the State of Florida).

In terms of play it is different than any other turn based game that I have encountered in the past. Games like X-COM: Enemy Unknown featured dice rolls behind the scenes, whereas in Space Hulk they are front and center determining the amount of Command Points available to your squad of Terminators.

If there is a Sergeant alive on the map and no orders have been issued yet, the player has the ability to re-roll the dice to better the amount of points available. These are absolutely critical if you want to move a Space Marine, turn them to face an approach and place them into Guard or Overwatch.

Without Overwatch the unit will not fire on an approaching enemy, in which case you will get a “Brother Down” scream which is loosely interpreted as “Damn, you suck at this don’t you?”

There is a sufficient amount of gore present in the game as the Genestealers explode like sacks of ripe tomatoes when shot at. Not every engagement will kill them however, which creates unique situations where Overwatch and manual fire will not always keep a Brother up and about. This is important to know as some of the scenarios require a specific Space Marine Terminator to be alive to complete a defined task (such as using the Heavy Flamer to torch a control room).

I saw this game about a year ago in my Steam Discovery Queue and marked it as “Not Interested”. My friend Javelin is into table top gaming pretty heavy and he gifted this to me on the off chance that I might find it worthwhile. Turns out he didn’t waste the gift as I actually like the game for no other reason than it is different than anything else I am playing.

I picked up the “Space Hulk Complete Campaign” DLC pack during the Steam Exploration Sale for $1.59 (can’t beat that with a Storm Bolter) and I am slowing working my way through it. There is also some DLC for different skins; however they do not add scenario content or change the game in any manner so I passed on that.

I am not sure if this game has any place on my blog which is largely AAR driven other than for this review, however it is something that I intend to work on progressing through the campaign as it is a nice alternative to some of the strategy and tactical gaming that I have been playing.

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