There have been quite a few games released based on Warhammer properties. Some are great, while others are not as good. Warhammer: Chaosbane is the latest of these games, an action RPG that unashamedly takes its inspiration from games like Diablo 3. But does this bloody, action-packed fantasy RPG do enough to set itself apart from the games that inspired it?
Warhammer: Chaosbane’s story begins just after Magnus the Pious has stopped the armies of Chaos. Within the city of Nuln safe, all is well and the citizens can find solace in knowing that their great hero stands victorious. Unfortunately, as tends to happen in many games, this peace does not last as a sorceress called the Harbinger defeats Magnus’ personal guards and locks him in a static field which he is unable to break free of. All is not lost, however, as it’s up to you, the unlikely hero, and a little help from Teclis the High Loremaster of Hoeth, to venture forth and find a way to both free Magnus and stop Harbinger.
Players get to choose one of four different characters, each a unique class. I say characters because, unlike Diablo, players don’t just play as a nameless hero but a hero from Warhammer lore, complete with a backstory. These heroes are Konrad Vollen the Imperial soldier, your basic sword and board tank, Elontir the High Elf mage who wields strong magic, Elessa the Wood Elf Watcher, who as one can guess relies on her bow to deal damage, and, lastly, Bragi Axebiter a Dwarf Slayer, an axe-wielding machine of death.
Each of these heroes has their own expansive set of skills and abilities and each feels quite unique in how they play. While this is something that has been present in most action RPG games, Warhammer: Chaosbane also sees each hero sporting a unique archetype skill. For instance, the High Elf Mage can control his magic and move it around once it has been cast, The Wood Elf has a dodge roll ability, the Dwarf Slayer a hook shot to draw enemies closer, and the Imperial Soldier has a shield charge which feels a tad disappointing when compared to the other heroes’ abilities.
Along with these abilities players also have access to God Skills. These are unlocked by spending fragments collected from slain enemies. Of course, the heroes also have a bunch of standard abilities to unlock as they level up. The game continually forces you to choose wisely when equipping these skills by only making a certain amount of skill points available to the player, these increase as players level up. The thing is that equipping each ability or skill costs a certain amount of Skill Points with the more powerful ones costing more. This means that players can’t just equip all their most powerful abilities from the get-go but rather have to decide how to spend their points wisely. Luckily, the game lets you switch out these skills on the fly which helps when you find your current configuration not being up to the task.
As many know, the promise of better loot spewing forth out of your fallen enemies is at the heart of any good action RPG. Warhammer: Chaosbane throws a steady stream of loot at the players and, while most of this loot did increase my hero’s overall strength and performance in battle, it just didn’t feel like there was enough variety in what my foes were dropping. Sure, the armour and weapons I kept picking up did have mostly better stats than the stuff my hero had equipped but, for the most part, I never found any loot that drastically improved my hero. Now, you do get better loot drops if you play on the higher difficulties but, even then, I just never found myself getting excited at the prospect of encountering more piles off loot.
While the loot found in Warhammer: Chaosbane might be underwhelming to some as far as gameplay and combat go, the game is surprisingly fun. The fact that a friend can join you in taking on the forces of Chaos is a welcome addition, especially since the game has couch co-op, something that most recent games have been neglecting.
Slashing through waves of chaos spawn makes for an enjoyable time and, although it can get repetitive killing wave after wave of the same enemies, the game’s combat system along with interesting abilities does help alleviate this somewhat. Where the game ups the stakes are when players have to face off against the game’s bosses. Unlike other games in this genre, bosses in Warhammer: Chaosbane takes patience and skill to defeat (especially on higher difficulties). Seeing a boss burst into sweet loot takes more than just smashing the same button over and over. It’s quite refreshing having to rely more on planning and using your abilities at the right time than endless button smashing. It’s just a shame then that these boss battles are few and far between.
Visually, Warhammer: Chaosbane is a treat. Each environment is beautifully rendered with a lot of attention put into the details. You’ll still be exploring the usual action RPG environments, from sewers to snow-covered towns, but each of these has a certain Warhammer-ness to them which sets them apart from what we’ve seen before. Of course, each of the hero’s abilities has their own visual flair with all kinds of effects filling up the screen when combat is at its most chaotic. However, even then, it is surprisingly easy to see what is going on and where my hero is, even during co-op.
Warhammer: Chaosbane is a step in the right direction. It might not be perfect, which is mostly due to its bland loot and feeling repetitive at times, but, thanks to a slew of interesting abilities and fun combat, the game shows a glimmer of what the franchise could become.
If you are looking for some mindless hack-and-slash action, Warhammer: Chaosbane does deliver this in spades. Over time, if handled correctly, this could be a franchise to rival Diablo. But for now, it’s just mindless fun.
Warhammer: Chaosbane might falter in some areas but as a mindless action RPG it can be quite fun, especially with a friend at your side.
- Combat system
- Detailed environments
- Abilities and skills
- Repetitive at times
- Lackluster loot
- Shallow story
- Storyline 0%
- Gameplay 0%
- Graphics 0%
- Replay Value 0%
- Sound and Music 0%