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REVIEW / Space Hulk: Ascension Ed. (PC)

 

Fans of Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40K have a new PC game to compliment the amazing tabletop version.  Developers Full Control have been entrusted with the WH40K license to bring to the masses Space Hulk: Ascension Edition.  This new take involving the fabled Space Marines is a 3D, turn-based, strategy game that was built with the board game in mind and throws in new RPG styled mechanics, new enemy types, more awesome weapons and a brand new chapter.  As the leader of a small force of intrepid Space Marine Terminators, you are tasked with waging a ferocious fight for survival against the murderous Genestealers in isolated corridors and tomb-like chambers of lost ancient vessels in the deepest regions of space.

 

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The Campaign Map is where you choose your missions and make sure your marines are dressed to the nines.

 

Space Hulk originally released on Aug 15, 2013 to mixed reviews but the overall consensus was that while it was a grand attempt to capture the feel of how Space Marines operate in battle conditions, there was still something left to be desired.  Full Control then went back to the drawing board and made some huge changes that really helped to bring this game along.  With 103 missions spread across 3 battle-heavy campaigns, there is no lack of action to sink your teeth into.  New enemies have been added such as a new Genestealer variation as well as a complete revamping of the games rules and mechanics.  In addition, an RPG style skill progression was added as well as an upgrade to the squad management system so that you can tailor your team to your play-style.  And lets not forget the new weapons, maps, combi-weapons and flash missions.

 

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You can attack the chapters in any order you wish with more opening as you progress.

 

Space Hulk: Ascension Edition is a squad-based game about controlling space.  Period.  You are tasked with completing your missions by putting together the best teams and to equip them with the weapons and equipment that they will need to get the job done whether it be a sweep and clear of Genestealers or rescuing a stranded comrade.  There are rules to how your Space Marines can proceed as far as movement and attacking just as in the tabletop game and learning these rules quickly will give you the upper hand in battles.  As you complete missions, you will earn points that you can use to increase the attributes of your squad making them meaner and more badass than before.  You must operate your team in a way that keeps everyone safe and ensures a successful mission because one wrong move can allow the Genestealers an opportunity to take advantage and bring about the decimation of your squad.

 

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The Loadout screen is where you upgrade your squad-mates by increasing their attributes, equipping weapons and changing their armor.

 

The visuals in Space Hulk: Ascension Edition, while very authentic to the settings and the storyline, leave much to be desired.  Corridors and chambers are very dark and are often hard to determine what is coming around the next corner.  The maps are so dark that its sometimes difficult to see the details like vents that Genestealers could use to make a sneak attack or if the corridor you are traveling down is a dead end or not.  There is also no tactical map that you could use to plan your ascension into the various space hulks and which would have made all the difference.  Having such poor visibility boils the missions down to memorization as opposed to having the ability to strategically plan your method of meeting the missions objectives.

 

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Corridors are very dark with a lot of the map details being obscured.

 

Space Hulk: Ascension Edition offers 10 times the amount of content of the original game and boasts an astounding 50 to 100 hours of playing time.  There are three Space Marine chapters and a completely new set of missions, the Ultramarines chapter.  That is nothing to shake a stick at and with all of the additions to gameplay and rejiggering of the games mechanics, you can’t deny that Full Control really took the suggestions of their fans after its original release to heart.  Nevertheless, there are still a few things that could have been done to make this game even more of a tribute the WH40K game.  The lighting issues and lack of tactical map notwithstanding, for $29.99 on Steam, you could do a lot worse.  I will say that this game is not for the casual gamer but for those true WH40K fans that don’t mind a quirk or two and just want more of the game they love.

 

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