Review: Warhammer—Chaosbane

Developer: EKO Software

Publisher: Bigben Interactive

Genre: Action, RPG, Hack and Slash

Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PS4

Rating: M for Mature

Price : $49.99

 

 

In an age of war and chaos, four heroes must rise to face the hordes of Chaos in order to save the Empire of man from destruction. Warhammer: Chaosbane is an isometric action-RPG which takes place in the Warhammer fantasy universe created by Games Workshop. I previously thought that the beta game was a lot of fun, and I am excited to see how the full game plays out. I am especially interested in seeing the other worlds the game has teased.

Content Guide

I stand by the Content Guide that I wrote for the preview article, where I stated that Chaosbane has some gory and bloody action, but my main concern is the Warhammer universe itself which is a very bleak and savage universe. I would only recommend Chaosbane to adults.

Spiritual Content

Chaosbane contains a lot of references to the Chaos deities who are the main villains in the game. As the hero, the players fight against the cultists who worship the Chaos gods, and these cultists have a lot of dialogue calling out to their gods. The end boss of the first chapter is a greater daemon, the Great Unclean One, who possesses a worshiper in order to battle the heroes. He is a grotesque beast who’s gut is split open and his intestines are actively spilling out. The disgusting imagery of the Great Unclean One is quite disturbing.

Great Unclean One

Review

The action packed gameplay of Chaosbane holds my attention well, but it doesn’t bring anything new to the action-RPG genre. The players hack-and-slash their way through linear dungeons full of minion monsters most of which rely on mobbing the hero over any other strategy while some range minions stand at a distance shooting at the player. I love watching the waves of minions go down in hordes before my dwarf’s axe or my human’s sword. I enjoy the visceral pleasure of the fictional slaughter, but that’s about the only thing keeping me interested. The game increases the challenge only by throwing more minions or higher level enemies at me, which gets old.

Chaosbane Heroes

Chaosbane’s missions are summarized in hacking through waves of enemies to get to the boss or find a location, and, since the dungeons are linear, the object the player is looking for is at the end of the dungeon. The one mission that varied from this pattern was a rescue for some prisoners who were being sacrificed which needed to be done before they died, but the mission never gave me a clear idea how long I had before the prisoners would die. For Chaosbane to set itself apart, the missions need something more than linear dungeons.

Battling spawn of Nurgle

The character management of Chaosbane does away with stats in favor of skills which unlock as the character levels up. Each skill can be assigned to a controller button and there are an equal number of passive slots which can be assigned as well. Each character can also unlock powers granted to them by their deity represented by a constellation tree. The player unlocks the divine powers which can be put into active button slots. The constellation tree is impressively large and complex, so any player who likes to min-max will have fun.

Passive skills further expand the customization of heroes. There are passive skills unique to each hero that unlock as the hero levels up, and there are skills that can be gained from the Collectors Guild, which is the shop where heroes can “donate” the loot gathered from dungeons. The Collectors Guild is the only shop that I could access while playing the game which left me feeling a little cheated at times. Heroes can only carry a limited amount of items, and the only way to get rid of extra items is to “donate” them to the Collectors Guild in order to gain more reputation, which unlocks passive skills. The difference in influence gain between common, uncommon, or rare items feels very small in order to unlock rather useless skills. There is gold to be collected in the dungeons, but other than paying to revive a hero after death, there’s no apparent use for the gold.

Battling Daemons

One area that I wanted to experience more of in the full game was the co-op gameplay. Chaosbane beta had online co-op gameplay which I was able to try, but because the game had a closed beta, there weren’t very many players online. Both online co-op and local co-op are featured in the full version of Chaosbane.

I played local co-op with my son, but he quickly got frustrated, since he couldn’t use any of my leveled heroes. He created his own hero who was forced to start from level 1. The difference between my son’s level 1 hero and my level 12 hero became quickly apparent. His hero was frequently killed a few seconds into each battle. I could always revive him, but he didn’t really want to keep playing. I wasn’t able to figure out how to go back to a lower level. I wish that Chaosbane had allowed local co-op to use already created heroes, because it’s never any fun to try a level up while others carry you through a game. The online co-op worked just fine, but I found that higher level players were joining my games to rush through the level while I struggled to keep up.

Chaosbane has a lot of good gameplay, but it lacks lasting appeal. After five or more hours of gameplay, I finished the first chapter of the game and moved on to another city. I had only unlocked a handful of skills both active and passive at level 15, with many more skills only unlocking in much higher levels. There are also several areas of the first chapter which I had yet to unlock despite hours of gameplay and beating the boss. I was frustrated at the lack of progress, and the many more hours I would need to put into the game to get beyond the first chapter. I had wanted to experience more of the game world, but it was locked behind higher levels. Chaosbane appears to want the player to devote too many hours of gameplay before unlocking its secrets. Chaosbane fails to entice me to continue, as it’s rewards are too meager to keep my attention.

Review code generously provided by Homerun PR. 

The Bottom Line

 

 

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E.L. Wilson

I am a follower of Christ, a loving husband, and a Geek Dad. Colorado is my home where I live with my family and write for Geeks Under Grace. I also have my own writing projects at https://kingoncaleyblog.wordpress.com. Video games have been my passion and my hobby for many years, and I have followed the video game industry since my first issue of Nintendo Power in 1985. I steaming every Sunday afternoon with my kids at https://www.twitch.tv/tinraven.

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