Space-Hulk--Tactics-Review Space Hulk: Tactics Review

   12/10/2018 at 13:34       Chris OToole       0 COMMENTS. - Score 4/5
 - PS4, Xbox One, Action, Strategy

Review by Dean Davis.


Space Hulk: Tactics by Cyanide studio is a turn based strategy game adaption of the Space Hulk board game.

First and foremost I feel the need to clarify that I came into this without any real knowledge of Warhammer 40k, I played a bad action game based in the 40k universe once but that’s about it. I therefore had no real expectations or presumptions going in as to what to expect, I also can’t give any comparisons good or bad in regards to the board game or how they differ. I just took this for what it is and spoiler, it’s pretty great (it’s actually got me interested in 40k lore)

My first major mistake was to treat these hulking masses of bio mechanical machines as standard humans, they are not simply humans, they are tanks with feet!

As a complete beginner to 40K and specifically the rule set of the board game that this is based on, I was completely ignorant to the fact that orientation was such a massive deal, these walking tanks take a whole action point to turn in any direction. This is a huge thing to take into consideration for someone that’s had it easy with the likes of X-Com where every action point is used to put you on the front foot. Here you really have to plan your moves and even the next two or three turns after that, having your marines facing the enemy or at least the direction that you think they will be coming from at the end of your turn is perhaps more important than actually taking the initiative and hunting them down. If you get flanked, ambushed or attacked from behind then it’s ‘Game over, man’

I was schooled on this ruthlessly and decisively pretty early on in my campaign. Needless to say, some space marines were harmed during this adjustment period. Lessons learned, pride battered and vigour renewed I started a new campaign, of course I did I couldn’t remain in that reality it was embarrassing. In my new campaign I developed a brilliant strategy, I call it the ‘Mourinho manoeuvre’ you park the tanks in the corridors on the perimeter of the objective blocking every possible route to my one marine that was actually achieving the objective and just whack em all on Overwatch... The. End! 

Everything dies, Space marines win.

Unfortunately, this didn’t last too long (Just like Mourinho in a job). My tactic was rendered completely redundant once portals were introduced... no one told me that portals were a thing in 40k, the Genestealers suddenly and ruthlessly became the Pep Guardiola to my space marines Mourinho, playing pretty triangles around me and attacking at speed from everywhere. For this reason I accept no responsibility for the many, many dead space marines that died performing the ‘Mourinho manoeuvre’ to their last until I finally ditched it for a new tactic called ‘winging it’. 

This game is brutal and that’s a great thing, unlike other games in the turn based strategy genre this doesn’t have an over world where you build a base or do any kind of research, you can upgrade your marines into more proficient killers but ultimately this is a straightforward case of navigating nodes like an old school Mario game to get from battle to battle destroying everything in your path, even sometimes backtracking to destroy stuff away from the critical path because reasons.

Speaking of upgrades, the biggest mechanic in this game is the pretty cool card system, cards can be used in one of two ways, they can be used for the actual abilities and buffs that they offer or they can be discarded in exchange for action points. Attaining extra action points can genuinely be the difference between life or death, being able to set your heavy to Overwatch with a clear line of sight covering the rest of your marines can and has prevented an entire squad wipe.

Space Hulk: Tactics is a beautiful looking game, it’s very claustrophobic hallways are dripping with atmosphere you really get to feel the weight and destruction of a space marine up close, the lighting and shadows are great in first person mode (yea, that’s a thing) you really get the feeling that shit went down in these hallways, the walls are covered in blood and nasty sticky secretions, rooms and corridors are littered with space marine corpses from previous expeditions that clearly didn’t pan out well for those chapters < that’s a thing that I learnt, the space marines don’t have different colour armour to showcase their personal flair. It represents which chapter they belong to, the blue ones are Ultramarines and not very good at killing things if all these dead bodies are anything to go by... maybe beautiful is the wrong word.

If there was one thing that I could change about the game it would be the camera, for the first few hours I really struggled to adapt to how close it is to the ground which isn’t helped by the fact that at maximum zoom out it becomes a top down view which I found a bit jarring especially being used to other turn based strategy games that give you an isometric view with a lot of depth. It’s not a major issue and I did get used to it eventually but given the chance I’d much prefer an X-Com style camera view. First person mode is very, very cool although I found it uncomfortable to play in that mode permanently, it’s also not great to make tactical decisions in that mode. First person mode is best used when you know something cool is about to happen like that time I set up an absolutely flawless overwatch kill zone and got to watch the Genestealers do the death dance on their turn!

The game also features a separate Genestealer campaign which is set long before the space marine campaign and pits you against a squad of Ultramarines, yep, those same Ultramarines lying dead in the hallways…

The Genestealers have their own card mechanic which is based around spawn points and debuffs, you can also trick the enemy into placing blips on the map feigning an attack from a different direction. Your strategies will change drastically between the two factions, space marines are slow but have the fire power and ability to lock down corridors, Genestealers are quick, numerous and lethal up close. I found playing as the Genestealers quite liberating after hours with the space marines, their sheer numbers gives you a bit of room to be a bit cavalier and really hunt down the space marines sacrificing as many Genestealers as it takes to achieve the inevitable victory!

Space Marine: Tactics also features an online multiplayer mode and I can see myself still losing hours to the game through that mode in the coming months.

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Better late than never, eh Ror?
Khanivor - In response to: Battle Chasers: Nightwar Review - 281day(s) ago.
Enjoyed this, cheers!
evilashchris - In response to: Reflecting on the Life of a Tomb Raider - 366day(s) ago.
Looks who's back. Shady's back.
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Micro Machines was my favourite!
ClaytonNotClive - In response to: Mantis Burn Racing Review - 738day(s) ago.
i agree chris, the Aliens table makes the others look bad.. because its so goood!! but they arent that bad.. haha! ...
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