Warhammer: Chaosbane Slayer Edition (PlayStation 5) Review

By Josh Di Falco 20.01.2021

Review for Warhammer: Chaosbane Slayer Edition  on PlayStation 5

With the release of the new generation consoles, Eko Software has combined and packaged last gen's Warhammer: Chaosbane, with the Slayer Edition, which not only boasts a visual improvement, but also contains The Tomb Kings DLC, as well as another new campaign and a new character to play as. This is a loot-filled hack 'n' slash in the same vein as the old-school Diablo - except with a tonne more loot. Choose one of the six playable characters, and start hacking through countless enemies and bosses in this near endless dungeon-runner that bears many similarities to roguelikes. While this is based in the Warhammer Fantasy universe, having a knowledge of the lore isn't necessary to dive in and get invested with this title. For those pining for some new games to try out on the PlayStation 5, consider this ARPG, then.

Slayer Edition features six different characters to choose from: Konrad Vollen the Empire Soldier, Elontir the High-Elf Mage, Bragi Axebiter the Slayer, Elessa the Wood Elf Scout, Keela Gunnarsdottir the Dwarf Engineer, and a brand new character, Jurgen Haider, the Witch Hunter. Each of these characters play differently, varying with their base attacks, as well as having their own unique abilities, skill trees, and equipment drops. The characters have their own separate campaigns to play through, and each of their journeys have unique variances with the dialogue and cut-scenes - but for the most part, these consist of the same missions. However, each character brings their own flavour to the overall story based on their interactions with the other characters.

As for the campaigns themselves, there are three parts: 'Magnus' Curse' is the main story that focuses on fighting the Chaos Horde, and defending the Kingdom, which has begun to fall after King Magnus has become afflicted with a mysterious illness. This campaign is covered from Act I to IV. Beyond that, are the two DLC campaigns, with 'The Tomb Kings' and 'The Forges of Nuln' covering Act V and Act VI. The stories themselves are quite simple, with the voice acting delivering some moments that elevate the story based on their performances, but are otherwise just wallpapering over what is a weak story. Which is a shame, as this is a fun top-down dungeon-looter set in a rich world filled with plenty of lore to draw from, that deserved a much better and gripping story.

Screenshot for Warhammer: Chaosbane Slayer Edition  on PlayStation 5

Despite this, the story is secondary to the gameplay, and each mission involves doing the same thing: explore a dungeon, and destroy all the enemies on the path to the end, while collecting as much loot as possible. For the most part, the maps are quite linear, with various areas that branch off into their own paths that contain loot in the form of treasure chests. Sure, most of the enemies in these dungeons can be skipped, and the characters can race their way to the end of each dungeon to quickly advance the story, however the majority of loot is dropped by the enemies as opposed to the treasure chests, so taking the slower and more destructive approach to destroying the enemies is the more advantageous path.

The RPG mechanics come into focus before too long, with each character getting access to two skill trees, with points that are earned by levelling-up. These skill trees contain statistical upgrades, like increasing critical hit chances or block rates, to learning new abilities which can then be equipped onto the character. Each one has a bevy of unique abilities, and there is lot to explore and play around with here to find the optimal build for each. Not every ability can be equipped either, and there is a maximum limit based on overall 'points, to ensure that characters don't become overpowered. Though, these measures fail anyway, and by the halfway mark of the campaign, it's not uncommon for the characters to become extreme powerhouses. For the two campaign runs that were accomplished for this review, both Vollen and the Witch Hunter Haider had no problem levelling their way up, and finding loot that made the final boss of the campaign a complete pushover.

Screenshot for Warhammer: Chaosbane Slayer Edition  on PlayStation 5

While the campaign can be quite easy for those who enter with the approach of "kill and loot everything," Warhammer: Chaosbane really shines with the extended features that unlock at the conclusion of each Act - and bunch of difficulty options to make the dungeons even harder. However, as is the case with most games of this ilk, the higher difficulties boast the better rewards. This is where the gameplay loop comes into its own, for those who don't mind the repetitive nature of dungeon-running. Once a difficulty becomes too easy, raise the bar a little bit to create a bigger challenge. For example, after completing it with ease on the 'Very Hard' setting, the 'Chaos' difficulties unlock, with 10 higher settings to choose from, from 'Chaos 1' to the brutalising 'Chaos 10.' After Vollen wiped the floor with the final boss on 'Very Hard' due to his overpowered equipment, he was no match for the enemies that of 'Chaos 2' for example.

The end-game content is where the fun really begins, with a 'Boss Rush' mode that replays the boss fights, or 'Relic Hunt' that focuses on scoring the end-level loot box, or 'Tower of Chaos,' where each floor rewards a lootbox, with each floor scoring progressively greater loot. The best part is, these modes can also have modifiers be applied to it to further make the challenges even more difficult, and of course, each modifier also increases the chances of earning better loot. The entire gameplay loop is literally to raid a dungeon, equip better gear to take on stronger monsters, and repeat. Yes, this makes Warhammer: Chaosbane a repetitive game, however, if playing an endless dungeon-crawler that is similar to Diablo sounds like a great time, then this title should not be ignored.

Screenshot for Warhammer: Chaosbane Slayer Edition  on PlayStation 5

The main downside is learning everything contained within Warhammer: Chaosbane. Starting off can be difficult, as Eko Software didn't do a great job of implementing the tutorial that is meant to teach the various mechanics of the game, so for the most part, everything becomes a self-taught thing. However, the loots are so vast and plentiful that it's almost worth playing around with everything to see what works. There are different builds and loadouts, with each character having four different pre-sets that can be equipped. That way, Vollen can have one loadout that is designed for maximum output on his critical attacks, while he can switch on the fly to his defensive loadout that may prioritise his defence while reducing his attack.

There is so much to customise here, and each dungeon-run can easily offer up 15-20 pieces of equipment, while the higher difficulties can ramp up the loot drops in excess of 50 pieces. Arguably, the campaigns are simply the first-half of Warhammer: Chaosbane, with the end-game content boasting a heap more content and unlocks. Rather than the weak campaign story, and the lack of proper tutorials to teach the mechanics, this title has quite a lot going for it - however it's an experience that may only be appreciated and loved by those who are looking for a top-down dungeon-crawler to trawl through. Again, the enjoyment here is from repeatedly storming through dungeons, so the repetitive nature becomes quite prominent by the halfway mark of the story - and the rest of the experience rarely deviates from this… but that's the niche market Eko are aiming for, where the overall experience may only be enjoyed by those who like the grind.

Screenshot for Warhammer: Chaosbane Slayer Edition  on PlayStation 5

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Warhammer: Chaosbane Slayer Edition may not be for everyone. It is a grind-based dungeon crawler that relies on the ability to endlessly run through dungeons, earn better loot, and repeat against harder and stronger enemies. For those looking for an enriching story in the world of Warhammer Fantasy there isn't much to see, which is a shame, but the enjoyment here is based on buying into the gameplay loop. It may wear thin for some, while being a treasure for those who seek nothing but the menial grind of repetitive dungeon-crawling and looting for that never-ending quest of creating the optimal build. While this won't earn any accolades on the PlayStation 5, this is hardly a title to gloss over, and is worth checking out at the least.

Developer

EKO Software

Publisher

Bigben Interactive

Genre

Action Adventure

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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