A lot of modern games are incredibly fast paced – either in how the game is played or just how fast the experience is over. The Call of Duty series is a prime example for this. The single-player campaign is a thrill ride, which will be over pretty quickly – it is designed to wow you. Whereas the multiplayer puts all these progression-hooks in you to keep you playing, but only if your reflexes are fast enough and you are able to keep up with what’s going on.
Space Hulk Ascensions – Salamander is the exact opposite of these kinds of game. It’s neither fast paced nor will it be over quickly. It’s a DLC pack to the turn-based strategy game Space Hulk Ascension, set in the Warhammer 40K world, so you know what that means: lots of guts, and guys in giant mech suits.
• Developer: Full Control Studios
• Publisher: Full Control
• Reviewed on: PC
• Also Available On: Linux, Mac
• Release Date: Available Now
If you’ve played the Space Hulk Ascension then you know you play different kinds of Space Marines in the different campaigns of the game. In this DLC you’re put in charge of the Salamanders, a squad of fire aficionados. In addition to being able to put two heavy class Terminators on the missions, they are more resistant to fire damage.
Let’s backtrack a bit and explain how Space Hulk works. Your squad of Space Marines is sent on missions to do stuff. Why you do these things is always explained with a little text box, but be aware, there is no voices telling you what to do, just plain old, inaudible text. Once you’re on your mission, you finished the main task and your boys get to go home. Mostly the missions comprise of going somewhere, surviving a specific number of rounds, killing some Genstealers, or doing something. Genestealers, by the way, are your main enemies. These bug like aliens just want to hug you with their giant claws. During those missions your squad earns experience point, you use these to level up. Once you’ve levelled up you can choose new gear to use, unlock new abilities and get to spend some points on attributes.
What’s different in this game than in other similar titles, is that your squad never really changes. If one member of the squad dies, they just get replaced with someone that has their exact same abilities. The only real penalty for getting one Terminator killed is that they won’t get any experience for the mission they died on. Because you won’t get better when you get killed. This is especially heart-breaking when your Terminator killed dozens of aliens during the mission.
One mechanic that I really enjoyed is that the enemies and your squad members are down with one hit. Especially when you melee attack an enemy that’s in front of you, if your Terminator misses he’ll get torn to pieces. This enables the game to throw hordes of enemies in your path, as you don’t have to spend turns upon turns to destroy them.
Speaking of death, this game is hella gory. Especially during the melee combat. The use of iconic Warhammer 40K weaponry underlines this combat system. Punching a bug alien with a fist, the size of a normal person’s head, will wreak havoc. If that doesn’t do the trick, just add some chainsaws to said fist. Another features, which underlines this pretty well, is the first person camera. As per usual with turn based strategy games, you look on your squad from your godlike perspective. To keep up with all of Terminators the game enables a first person camera if they do something. Following the action with this camera can be a bit gut-wrenching when your Terminator gets hugged by an alien, but it’s rewarding when you just punch one of those Genestealer in the face.
The graphics in this title aren’t especially appealing. The environments are mostly just dark, which adds to the atmosphere of the game, but makes it a bit dull in the long run. The character models of both the aliens and your Terminators are quite nice. Especially the Terminators deliver their tank-like nature pretty well in the game. Seeing them walk through those tiny corridors just looks really cool.
I, personally, did have some problems with the game. The whole thing was just a bit too sluggish and dreary for my taste. The levels are tense to play, as your characters are move through the narrow environments and enemies get the jump on you. Also, the menus in the game are unintuitive and leave a lot to be explained. I personally can’t really recommend this game, but I see the appeal for some people. Its levels are tense, and can get really difficult. The Warhammer atmosphere is incredibly dense and this alone makes it worth a look for fans of the world.
Tags: Linux, Mac, PC, Space Hulk Ascenion - Salamanders, Space Hulkl, Space Marines, Warhammer 40k