Space Hulk: Deathwing is a first-person shooter video game developed by Streum On Studio with assistance from Cyanide and published by Focus Home Interactive. The game is set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe and based upon the strategy board game Space Hulk. The game was released on December 14, 2016 for Microsoft Windows PCs and was released in early 2017 for game consoles.
In Space Hulk: Deathwing the single player campaign puts the player in the shoes of a Librarian of the Dark Angels Chapter's elite 1st Company of Space Marines, known as the Deathwing, as they carry out a series of missions for the Chapter while wearing Tactical Dreadnought Armour. Librarians, unlike other Space Marines, can use the psychic power of the Warp, also known as the Immaterium. A Librarian can use the traditional weaponry of the Space Marines, such as the Bolter and a Power Sword, but also their own psychic might against their foes. An example of one such psychic ability that Librarians in the game can unleash is Hellfire, which sends psychic fire coursing towards the enemy. The primary antagonist of the game are the species of Tyranids known as Genestealers, who infest large, ancient conglomerate starships called Space Hulks. The Deathwing Astartes must clear out these ancient vessels of their xenos infestation to succeed at various objectives assigned to them by the Dark Angels' secretive leadership, called the Inner Circle. The multiplayer campaign allows a group of players to take on the roles of an entire squad of Deathwing Terminators on the same maps used in the single player campaign.
Critical reception for the PC version has been mixed. Reviewers have criticised the game for numerous bugs, a lack of polish and optimisation, clunky menus, poor AI, and a lackluster story. TJ Hafer, reviewing the game for IGN, said that "The glorious moments of fervent xeno-purging are too fleeting, and often left me standing in dark corridors, surrounded by my slain foes, looking for any kind of context or sense of lasting accomplishment . . . [Despite] a lot of potential for simple, squad-based fun in multiplayer, it never moves beyond being a stripped-down and poorly running prototype for the kind of game I wish it had been."
Gamespot's Brett Todd especially criticised the game's AI and menus, noting that "For every impressive set piece and “wow” moment in combat, there are a dozen befuddling rules or mechanics that make you scratch your head in disbelief. . . AI Space Marines are prone to shuffling in place, turning their backs on attacking enemies right in their faces, and standing in the middle of doorways when you’re trying to seal off a room full of aliens . . . [They] don’t do anything on their own, either. You have to tell your apothecary marine to patch himself up when his health is low--otherwise he just lets himself die. A radial order menu allows you to give rudimentary commands like Follow, Defend, and Heal, but it’s impossibly clunky to use during combat unless your Deathwing trooper has a deathwish."
Tom Mendelsohn of Ars Technica took the game to task for its dense, lore-heavy storyline, writing that "Sometimes you stomp through duct systems and cramped reactor cores, and sometimes you let rip in massive stone cathedrals erected to the decrepit god-emperor of humanity . . . But all this atmosphere is nothing without context. The game dumps you in the thick of it, with a minimum of exposition. This isn't always a bad thing, but in Deathwing players are bombarded with references that must be absolutely baffling for anyone without a childhood spent poring through Games Workshop codices."
In contrast, the game's level design, atmosphere, and graphics have been positively received. Brett Todd noted that "Deathwing thankfully nails the look and atmosphere of the Warhammer 40,000 universe. It's loaded with visual fan service like massive cathedrals, dissected bodies in laboratories, and humans wired into power systems. Everything is just as baroque and bloody as it ought to be, making for one of the most authentic video game interpretations of Warhammer 40,000's striking aesthetic." Tom Mendelsohn similarly praised the atmosphere of the game, as well as its non-linear level design. The game's combat has also been mostly well received, with many reviews comparing it favorably to games such as Left 4 Dead and Killing Floor.
- Space Hulk: Deathwing (Video Game)