In my time playing Deathwing, I enjoyed playing with the Codex Rules turned on more frequently than off. In part, this was due to the strategic challenge that being locked into a certain setup added to the game. With your equipment fixed, you have to make do with what you’ve got. Melee classes may find themselves hiding behind teammates when you enter big open rooms with a lot of enemies shooting at you, but then quickly move up front once the melee-focused Genestealers come barreling towards you. If you've never played a particular mission before, you may be surprised by what you face and reconsidering your gear the next time you play it.
The biggest downside to all of this is that those nine chapters is all you get. Once you’ve completed them, roughly about four hours with friends or seven hours going solo and hunting for relics, there’s not much left to do. You could play through them again with a different combination of classes, or on a harder difficulty, but that has only so much replay value. It’s a little amazing that with everything Streum On has done to capture the Warhammer 40k feel, the one thing that’s missing from it all is the randomly generated level and objectives that were a part of the original board game. I want to play more of Deathwing and get lost in the foreboding hallways wondering whether that skittering sound I heard is a lurker sneaking up on me or just some sounds; but there’s little reason to do so as I’ve seen and done everything there is to do at this point.
There is a lot about Deathwing that I really like. The environmental design and sound, the way you work with your squad to push through an unrelenting tide of horrors, sealing up doors behind you to try and direct the flow of enemies to a more advantageous spot, even the fact that some of the guns will occasionally jam on you and stop working for a few seconds; there’s an overall feeling to the whole affair of it being something different within the FPS space these days. Rather than opting for the fast-paced, twitch-based approach you find in Call of Duty or Doom, it seems to look to older titles like Half-Life and System Shock.
While all of that makes Deathwing a stand-out title for today, it also stands-out because of things like the lack of content (and therefore replayability) beyond the story missions, the weak progression system, and the co-op ruining bugs. In some ways, it feels more like a proof of concept for what could be done with a Space Hulk license rather than a full-fledged game. My hope is that all of this serves as a foundation upon which Streum On can build better iterations of the same idea in the future before another 10 years go by.
[Ed. Note: During our review time with the game, we did encounter the game crashing bug that occurred during a co-op session if you opened your inventory. This was addressed by a hotfix yesterday, 12/21, so it is no longer mentioned in our Co-Op Review.]
The Co-Optimus co-op review of Space Hulk: Deathwing is based on the PC version of the game. A code was provided for review purposes.
The Co-Op Experience: Space Hulk: Deathwing features class-based cooperative team-play and will demand not only savvy hand-eye coordination, but also clever use of squad tactics coordinated by the Librarian; the leader of your Terminator squad. Each player will make use of their role and specialization to wade through swarms of approaching Genestealers, and reach objectives as you advance through the story
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.