Space Hulk: Deathwing Enhanced Edition for PC Review

Check out our video review:

I remember when Deathwing originally came out. I thought it looked so cool. I eventually bought it, and played it. It’s fun but repetitive. I was thinking about it recently and remembered an Enhanced Edition was released in 2018. It was a free update for owners of the original PC game and it was also released for PlayStation 4. The Enhanced Edition includes new content like more weapons, enemies, and a new character class. I didn’t remember much about the game other than the gameplay, a lot of shooting, and getting frustrated at the end of the campaign. I decided to revisit it by checking out the Enhanced Edition. I’ve heard mixed things about it but not everybody raved about the original either.
The story seems to cater to Warhammer 40K fans and I think they would get a lot more out of it. There’s a lot of Warhammer terminology thrown around and considering I have very little knowledge on the universe, I could barely follow what’s going on other than what my direct objectives were. The story revolves around a Terminator squad of Space Marines, known as the Deathwing. The basic premise involves them investigating a Space Hulk which is infested with Genestealers. They kind of remind me of Xenomorphs from the Alien series. In fact, the game gives off a lot of Alien vibes. I would describe it as having the atmosphere of Alien and the action of Aliens. I didn’t find the plot to be spectacular and lost interest pretty early on. The gameplay in every chapter is always the same. Explore the environment, kill a bunch of enemies, complete objectives, and try to stay alive. The voice acting is okay but none of the characters really stand out.

In the Campaign, you play as a Librarian who can not only use weapons but also psychic powers. Deathwing is a slow-paced game. You can walk and run which drains stamina, and break down doors. You can hack turrets to use them remotely, destroy them, disable them, or enable them. Accompanying you are two other Marines and they will aid you during combat. Before each mission, you can equip your team with weapons. You can equip primary and secondary weapons and the arsenal is decent. There’s plenty of ranged weapons, all with infinite ammo, and sometimes you can carry a secondary weapon which is usually of the melee variety like a sword or axe. If you can’t carry a melee weapon you can always use your fist. One of your powers allows you to open the Psygate and enter a secure zone where your entire squad is healed, you can change equipment, and any fallen squad members are revived. But you can only open the Psygate a certain amount of times per chapter.
Your performance in a chapter determines how many fervour points you earn and you can pump points into skills. Skills can make your life a lot easier and are broken up into three categories. You can unlock new psychic powers, reduce hacking time, and basically improve your teammates. One of the skills or abilities allows your teammates to equip melee weapons like the Thunder Hammer and storm shield. Until you improve your teammates, they require a lot of babysitting. One of them can be equipped with Narthecium which is basically a medkit and he can heal any member in the squad but he only has a certain amount. You can visit the secure zone to replenish his medkits. Unfortunately, there’s no way to enable this guy to heal members on his own so you have to pay attention to everyone’s health. You’re always outnumbered, and it’s very easy to take damage and your teammates will kill enemies but they’re not very bright. You can command them to do things like heal, move, follow, attack, defend areas, and open or destroy doors but they don’t really think and trying to get through a chapter without using any Narthecium or opening a Psygate would be quite the task. This is a co-op focused game and while the single player is fun, constantly having to babysit your teammates is not. However, if you put points into the Command ability tree, you’ll have to babysit them less. Mainly because they’ll be able to withstand more damage. If I didn’t rely so much on Narthecium during a chapter, I would have equipped both of my teammates with Thunder Hammers and Storm Shields since they tend to stay alive longer with that equipment.
Sadly, the new content in the Enhanced Edition doesn’t do enough to really refresh the experience if you will. It’s still the same repetitive game. There are some new weapons and enemies but without looking up what the new content was, I couldn’t tell you what it was just by playing. The memories started coming back to me the further I progressed but it all felt very familiar. Evidently the Stormbolter Mk. II weapon is new and there’s some new melee weapons which I didn’t get to check out in the campaign mode. I actually do like the arsenal because there is a decent variety of weapons that should cater to different play styles. And both ranged and melee combat feel pretty satisfying. With ranged weapons having infinite ammo, you never have to worry about running out and I really enjoyed messing around with each one. But the further you progress, the more it becomes evident that some weapons are just better for certain threats, especially when you’re playing with the AI teammates.

I don’t know if I just played better this time around or the difficulty was re-balanced but I had a much easier time getting through the campaign.¬†Deathwing is basically Horde Mode: The Game. In every chapter, you have to defeat waves upon waves of enemies. There’s Genestealers, Genestealer Hybrids, different strains of Genestealers, Broodlords which are the deadliest enemies in the game, and new to the roster are Hybrid Aberrants and the Bioblast-strain which can be pretty annoying. They just explode when you attack them and you don’t want to be near them when they do. The Aberrants wield some kind of laser weapon and are one of the more dangerous long-range threats. The enemies aren’t very bright and they come from every direction. You can block or lock doors (if you don’t destroy them that is) and I tried doing that to see if I could prevent enemies from coming but I don’t think it works. Enemy arrival points can be seen all over the map so it almost feels futile anyway. If it does work, I didn’t notice because there’s basically no way to avoid enemies in this game.
Scythe-strain enemies and Broodlords are easily the most dangerous. And they’re even more dangerous if your teammates get wiped out. Enemies can move much faster than you can and your teammates will often draw enemies away from you as well as attack them. Just keep your eye on their health. If you’re the only one left, all of the enemies will target you and you’ll just get frustrated. Enemies normally come in waves and you can see where they’re coming from on your radar. They don’t do anything intelligent. They just rush you. Some of the Hybrids are equipped with missile launchers but most enemies utilize melee attacks. The Stalker-strain is cloaked and will sneak up on you and inflict a good amount of damage if you’re not paying attention. The enemies can be dangerous but I was always more worried about my teammates since some of the tougher types could take them down quickly. You can always hear enemies coming but sometimes my teammates wouldn’t turn to face the proper direction and take a direct hit in the back, losing a significant amount of health. That can be aggravating. Most enemies go down easily with the exception of the Scythe-strain and Broodlords and the challenge is more about dealing with hordes than individual threats. The end of the campaign will throw numerous tough types at you often but as long as your teammate has Narthecium and you don’t waste your Psygate power, you should be fine.
One of the biggest problems with the game is the environments. They’re extremely repetitive in look and layout. You’ll be navigating through numerous locations that consist of a lot of tunnels, massive cathedrals, and similar looking rooms. Your AI teammates will get in your way often because they’re not very bright but also because of how narrow most of the corridors are. Each chapter takes place in a different map and the maps are huge with plenty of areas to explore. You want to be on the lookout for relics which act as a form of collectibles but unfortunately, that’s the only real reason to explore. Navigation can also be tedious. Not only do you move slow but many objectives that appear to be close by may require you to go some roundabout way to get there. And by the end of the campaign, I found myself trying to rush from one objective to the next. There’s a lot of dead ends and rooms with nothing to do. Chapters can consist of multiple missions and you’ll be rewarded with new weapons and equipment for completing them. Most objectives have you going from point A to B. Sometimes you have to destroy things, activate things, and in one chapter, you’ll have to escort a C.A.T. You will have to watch out for explosive barrels or canisters and turrets which can be hacked. Other than those things, there’s not many environmental hazards to watch out for.
In addition to the campaign and multiplayer is the Special Missions mode and in all honesty, I think it’s the best part of the game. You start in a hub area where you can play through any of the chapters or maps unlocked from the campaign mode. This means you have to play through the campaign to unlock all of the maps which in hindsight is disappointing because if you had access to each chapter or map from the start in this mode, you could ignore the campaign and might have the same or a better experience. Unless you really care about the story which I didn’t find to be spectacular anyway, the Special Missions mode is basically the same as the campaign mode but you can choose to play as different characters and customize them. It’s essentially the gameplay without the story. The objectives appear to be randomized and whether you complete a chapter or not, you’ll earn experience and eventually level up just like in the multiplayer mode which I didn’t get the chance to try. When you do level up, you earn rewards like gifts of valor which provide you with renown. Renown acts as currency that can be spent on perks, skins, and weapon upgrades, among other things. There’s a good amount of replay value here. That is if you enjoy the core gameplay. Furthermore, the Enhanced Edition adds a new character class called the Chaplain. The Special Missions mode makes me wish the customization aspect was carried over to the campaign because it really outshines the skills and abilities stuff.
In terms of visuals, I don’t think this looks that much better than the original game. In fact, I think it looks the same. With that said, it looks pretty good. And the presentation makes you feel like you’re actually navigating around in a big bulky suit of armor. The weapon models and environments are well detailed, the texture work is solid, and I absolutely love the lighting. The presentation nails the “grimdark” feel the Warhammer universe is known for. Servo Skulls can be seen flying around, bodies are littered about, the architecture is excellent, and the visual and gore effects really help to enhance the action. Muzzle flashes look great, the fire effects look awesome, and explosions look and sound satisfying. You can chop up enemies into pieces, blow their limbs off, and they can explode into a shower of body parts. The sound effects are pretty good overall. Most of the weapons fire sounds okay, you can hear the characters stomping around, and enemies will hiss, roar, and screech as they swarm you. Unfortunately, the technical issues from the original game are still present here. The game crashed on me once, the load times can¬† sometimes be a bit on the long side, and the frame rate dips were frequent with all of the settings maxed out.
I enjoyed my time with the Enhanced Edition but it still has the same issues as the original. It’s a repetitive but enjoyable shooter. And I have a feeling it’s more fun if you have other people to play with. The game is clearly designed with co-op in mind. The Enhanced Edition isn’t leaps and bounds better than the original but the the new content is certainly welcome. The Special Missions mode is easily the best thing about it. It’s just a shame you can’t experience everything it has to offer unless you play through the campaign. I’m not going to lie and say this is an incredible shooter but I think, for me, it’s more of a guilty pleasure. It’s slow-paced, repetitive, and clearly caters to Warhammer fans. But the presentation is fantastic and helps to make the action feel more intense. The game coneys an excellent sense of weight to the characters and weapons and I thought it was cool feeling like a big bulky Space Marine lumbering through dark environments, beating enemies to death, setting them on fire, shooting them, and blowing them up. There’s not really much to it, it’s just fun to play. I was always eager to keep going because I just enjoyed the core gameplay despite the repetition and knowing exactly what to expect.

If the Enhanced Edition wasn’t free for those who own the original on PC, I would say it isn’t worth it unless you really enjoyed the original. If you’ve never played Deathwing before and are interested, I would say play this version. It doesn’t offer a vastly different experience but it does have more content which isn’t a bad thing. Unfortunately, it retains many of the technical issues from the original but none of them really ruined the experience for me. I would recommend this to fans of action games and shooters but you might want to wait for a sale unless you have some buddies to play with. The whole game is basically just horde mode but if you like to shoot shit then Deathwing can be a lot of fun.

Similar posts

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.