Warhammer has a strong fanbase that is obsessed with fantasy tales and interesting protagonists. Consequently, whenever a game uses this popular franchise at its core, it risks the wrath of its followers. Disappointingly, Warhammer 40,000: Space Wolf does just that with its lacklustre gameplay and poorly explained story. Furthermore, its controls are sluggish and its USP doesn’t work particularly well. As such, it has received terrible user reviews since its console release.
Developed and published by HeroCraft, this is a turn-based title. What’s more, it delves into the Space Marine aspect of Warhammer, and that should have been amazing. Unfortunately, it is distinctly subpar and leaves a sour taste in your mouth. On top of this, a poorly explained and mediocre plot tarnishes the experience. Additionally, sluggish controls and badly explained mechanics are the cherry on top of a lame cake.
Warhammer 40,000: Space Wolf is a cryptic puzzle.
For reasons unknown, the developers failed to set out their story. Instead, you must piece together random sections and hope to make sense of it all. To make matters worse, new characters are introduced and their back story is a mystery. What’s more, there is no explanation for their arrival, and you simply must accept their presence. However, this to one side, you control a hero called Valgard. He is part of the Space Wolves who are allegedly a badass fighting unit. Yet, these hardasses have been betrayed by the Chaos Space Marines and the sinister Necrons.
On paper, it sounds like a cool plot. But in action, it is so badly told that you have zero idea of what is happening. Consequently, many of the key points are fragmented and it’s hard to decipher the meaning of each mission. This is made tougher, still, as there is no way to revisit already unlocked lore. As such, if you take a breather, you’re even more confused by the situation.
An Xcom and deck-builder hybrid.
Xcom happens to be one of my favourite franchises of all time. Therefore, when a game uses many of its core principles, it piques my interest. Moreover, when they introduce an unexpected twist, I’m intrigued. As such, when I discovered that Warhammer 40,000: Space Wolf is an Xcom deck-builder hybrid, it should have been amazing. Yet, its mountains of shortcomings create a flawed experience.
The action revolves around each Space Marine and their deck of cards. During each turn, the characters can complete 2 moves. On top of this, each of those tasks accumulates effort points. The more EP you’ve gained, the longer you must wait for your turn. Subsequently, you can use this simple concept to your advantage. Why? Well, if your team has less EP than the AI, then you get to go again. As such, you can manipulate each situation to your advantage and this was fantastic.
What was also extremely interesting was the random nature of the cards. At no point could you tell what would be drawn, and this created a bit of mystery to proceedings. However, this also caused frustration, as you couldn’t fully plan for every circumstance. Yet, I enjoyed the twist on the action and this was a massive plus point for this poor turn-based title.
It lacks immersion.
Unlike other Warhammer games, Warhammer 40,000: Space Wolf lacks immersion. Sadly, the developers focused on a dull menu instead of a central hub. Subsequently, you feel detached from the action and the gameplay rarely flows. With a four-chapter campaign to complete or some challenges to overcome, there is some content. Yet, it was so hard to enjoy the overall presentation that it was tough to keep playing.
Alongside this, you can forge new cards, alter your deck, and upgrade each hero. Furthermore, there are several suits of armour to choose from. Consequently, each of these elements enhances the tactical layers of the gameplay. But the process of completing each of these tasks, and the reward for doing so, is poorly explained. Therefore, too much trial and error is required to reap the benefits.
Warhammer 40,000: Space Wolf doesn’t look great.
To add to the misery, Warhammer 40,000: Space Wolf doesn’t look great. At first glance, you can tell this was ported from a mobile platform. Additionally, the animation is poor, the frame rate is awful, and the lighting is off. On top of this, the camera angle is woeful, and it is tough to look at. This is made worse by the terrible UI and the sluggish menus. In short, it is a poorly executed game that is dated.
Things don’t get better when you hear the audio. The annoying sound effects are familiar and lack originality. Moreover, there is no gruff acting, and the dialogue is strictly text-only. This was infuriating as it removed much of the character and enjoyment experienced in other titles. Consequently, the presentation was underwhelming and disappointing.
Rarely does a game have a mind of its own. Yet, Warhammer 40,000: Space Wolf does what it wants. As such, the controls are awful. Moving the characters is a challenge, and don’t get me started on the absurd line-of-sight mechanics. As you move, you must decide which way to face. Now, that isn’t unreasonable, as such, but the characters will ignore anything outside of their peripheral view. Accordingly, this was infuriating, as these highly trained killers don’t react to any danger. Alongside this, poor lighting impacts the pathways, and navigating the world is a constant and unreasonable battle.
Thanks to its interesting combination of genres, it has plenty of potential. What’s more, if you can deal with the shortcomings, there is both replay value and longevity. You’ll spend hours on the campaign mode as well as upgrading your cards and your team. Disappointingly, though, you have to wade through lots of rubbish to find minute moments of pleasure.
Warhammer 40,000: Space Wolf is more miss than hit.
I adored the potential that this hybrid created. However, the delivery was all wrong. Sadly, so much of the gameplay is horrendously bad that it pulls everything down with it. What’s more, the illogical story and the random characters cheapen things further. Accordingly, it is with a heavy heart that I say to give this a miss. Yet, more information can be found here if you wish! Can you get revenge against the Chaos Space Marines? Destroy your opponents, find collectables, and upgrade your killing machines.