Warhammer: Chaosbane (PC) Review

By Athanasios 31.05.2019

Review for Warhammer: Chaosbane on PC

Ahhh, Warhammer... or, for fans, WAAAGH! WARHAMMER!!! Along with its space brother, Warhammer 40,000, the popular tabletop miniature game has always been ripe with potential for some great digital fun time. Unfortunately, while there aren't any titles that could be considered awful, there aren't any classic gems either, despite the existence of some pretty enjoyable games. Will Warhammer: Chaosbane, the franchise's first ever Diablo-like hack 'n' slasher, manage to be "the one?" Take a look at Eko's Software's frenetic, co-op-friendly, action-RPG, to learn all about it.

People who have spent half their life with the likes of Diablo II (like this critic), might initially get annoyed from the many, but otherwise insignificant things that Warhammer: Chaosbane does differently. They shouldn't. So, the four classes have a predetermined name, appearance, and past - does it matter? No, because Chaosbane's purpose isn't to immerse you into its complex story and deep lore, but to provide some cool action - and it's this part that Eko Software has definitely nailed. Before venturing any deeper, though, it should be made clear what this is, and what this isn't.

This is isn't an adventure. It's barely structured like one. Sure, there's a main quest available, and your character will complete a series of missions, but in reality, this leans heavily towards the more… game-y, and 'action' side of action-RPGs, as the plot is beyond forgettable, and missions are just a blatant excuse to enter a dungeon, and start hacking and slashing your way from A to B. Probably a side effect of that lack of a decent world-building, are the somewhat disappointing visuals. Ugly? Far from it. This looks good… but good isn't enough when it comes to Warhammer.

Screenshot for Warhammer: Chaosbane on PC

From its dirty caverns, demon-infested villages, and bleak landscapes, to the spells that will light those up, this grim-dark fantasy land turns out to be quite pleasing to the eye - just forget all about the grandiose, larger-than-life, and over-the-top art style that goes hand to hand with Warhammer, because this doesn't take advantage of its excellent source material. Even worse? It shamelessly keeps repeating the same couple of level layouts and the enemies that reside in those over, and over again, something that's utterly unjustifiable for a product that is carrying such a price tag.

The good news? It's fun. Firstly, regardless of the class chosen, there's only one speed here: fast! Besides the never-a-dull-moment pace, players will usually go up against large hordes, with almost all skills, even your standard attacks, revolving around slashing, shooting, or scorching more than 10 or 20 foes at a time. The controls won't give you any trouble either, even if one chooses the gamepad over the keyboard & mouse combo - just note that, as expected, the latter has an advantage over the first, as it's easier to aim specific mobs, or meddle with the inventory.

As for the classes, the Imperial Soldier, Wood Elf Scout, High-Elf Mage, and Dwarf Slayer, are just the typical ones found on pretty much all action-RPGs, but at the same time are handled in a new, refreshing way. For example, each one has an 'Archetype' skill, which compliments their way of fighting. The Scout has a dodge-roll, the Soldier can stun enemies with his shield, the Slayer can use a grappling hook to move around, and the Mage can make his spells move where he wants to. The real fun, of course, begins with the use of their skillset, which is surprisingly varied.

Screenshot for Warhammer: Chaosbane on PC

Skills also have an equip cost, which means that players will have to create their preferred loadouts, and choose between power, diversity, or a balanced mix between those two. It's also nice how replenishing energy for all your might & magic needs requires using certain moves that fill up that "Mana" orb, forcing you to push the action forward, instead of relying on potions or skill cooldowns. In conclusion: the battles offer some great entertainment - but is Chaosbane perfect? Sadly, it's not, with the first problem being how unbalanced it currently is.

Some classes and skills tend to overpower others, and this becomes obvious when choosing one of the many difficulty settings, and not really finding the experience to be all that harder, only to realise that a different character won't be able to cope up with the same level of challenge. Speaking of difficulty, this mainly relies in larger health pools than truly tough opponents. In other words, most of the elite units will bore you to death due to their… bullet-spongyness, which is a shame for a title that's built around speed - then again, you can always ask some help from friends.

Chaosbane was literally built around four-player, local or online, co-op play. Many of the skills the characters possess work in a great synergy, providing the means to deal with a demanding battlefield, while also increasing the fan factor by tenfold. Do not buy this if you plan to focus on the single player mode, as it can soon put you to sleep. Having said that, the multiplayer certainly has some issues of its own. Specifically, besides the fact that playing online is quite buggy for the time being, you don't have much control in choosing with who you want to play with.

Screenshot for Warhammer: Chaosbane on PC

Now, a few hours in, and one would probably thing that Warhammer: Chaosbane's biggest flaw is its repetitiveness. It isn't. Every single hack 'n' slashing action-RPG is guilty of the same sin. What separates the classics from the rest, however, is that they have managed to "hide" their tedious nature by offering the incentive to go on - and it's this exact element that this lacks. Simply put, there's no feeling of actual progression, which ruins that "one more round" magic of the genre, as nothing ever really changes in here, even after 10 or so hours in.

More specifically, you can't really create your own, unique custom builds, as there aren't any other options besides choosing a particular skill loadout. The loot system is even worse, as it feels kind of... diluted, with most of the items just being stronger or weaker than the rest, instead of offering some extra perks that would make you chose one over the other. In the end, though, the biggest problem here is that, aside from the many difficulty settings, there's an absence of decent end game content, as all "extra" modes are basically the same missions all over again.

True, the battles are very enjoyable, to the point that is easy to forgive Chaosbane for its many flaws, but is that really enough to do so? Surprisingly… yes! Sure, this won't ever replace your Diablo III, Path of Exiles, Grim Dawn, etc. On the other hand, this provides a completely different experience, with a much stronger… arcade feel, if you will, that prioritizes accessibility over complex mechanics, without sacrificing much of its depth. It's definitely not polished enough, but it's hard to deny that it's tons of fun.

Screenshot for Warhammer: Chaosbane on PC

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Warhammer: Chaosbane takes place in a forgettable world, which is annoyingly repetitive, and has more than a handful of rough edges. Despite that, the arcade-like, fast-paced action it offers, as well as its fresh take on the genre's standard classes, makes it easy to forget its flaws, especially when trying it out along with a bunch of friends - or total strangers. Definitely not a recommendation for everyone, but those who'll like it will surely stick around for more than a few hours.

Developer

EKO Software

Publisher

Big Ben

Genre

Real Time RPG

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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