I should start this review by confessing two things. First things first, I have never played this genre of the game before, ever. Secondly, I am not familiar with the Warhammer brand; I didn’t know characters or locations etc. I went into this game blind; allowing me to write this unbiased review based on those two confessions.
Warhammer is a well-established franchise in the tabletop game department. They have been a lot of video game released set within Warhammer and Chaosbane is the most recent addition to that roster, with the developers, take on the Warhammer Old World.
The story is your typical fantasy narrative, the big bad Chaos is wreaking havoc across the lands, and your emperor has been cursed and will very likely die if you don’t help out. It goes deeper into the lore as you would expect, with the inclusion of Dark Gods and the sort. The story as you progress is told via animated cutscenes, setting up the story beats, which are well narrated. Shame some of the in game dialogue can be a bit naff. Those that are fans of Warhammer will lap up all the lore this game presents, with familiar locations and characters you’ll be impressed at the transition from miniatures to in-game models. Don’t let that dissuade you if you are new like me, you’re not expected to know the lore to enjoy the game at all it just adds depth. You’ll be able to follow what is going on.
Very similar to the likes of Diablo, this game is an action RPG, hack n slash, dungeon crawler mashup with all the loot trimmings you’d expect. The environments are varied and with the isometric view, you get to see a lot of it, while you do visit some of the same locations it doesn’t seem to get repetitive. A lot of action is going on taking your focus away from the scenery, with over 70 types of beasts wanting to tear you apart. The isometric view is perfect to embrace all of that action which happens on screen, because at times you will be mobbed by enemies, and it’s always handy to see what exactly is going on.
Before you start your quest you’ll choose one of four different classes, Dwarf Slayer, High Elf Mage, Empire Solider and Wood Elf Scout. Each with their own skills, style of gameplay and equipment they can use. In my review playthrough, I chose to play as the Dwarf slayer, Bragi Axebiter. Who is a very DPS type of character. Bragi is his name, and swinging his axe is his game. He is a very capable killer. All characters have a special feature called the archetype ability, which gives each playable character a unique 360 Degree ability. For my Dwarf Slayer this allowed me to grapple long distances across the map to get into fights quicker, and also allowing me to get up close and personal to an enemy. Other characters archetype skills are different, which could be stunning enemies or even moving the Mages projectile ability around the map.
With these sorts of games post game support is a must, and having looked at the end game and post game content, you’ll have plenty to come back to. Boss rush is among some of the modes which unlock after the main story, facing the campaign bosses in quick succession testing your character builds. The others will include; Expedition mode and Relic Hunt. Some time in autumn the developers will be including a new story based on the Tomb Kings. It all looks promising, but I suppose the proof is in the pudding so we won’t know until it begins. Given this is my first game of this sort, I am surprised just how much goes into the content released after the base game. It doesn’t seem like a cash grab, more just giving fans more of what they enjoy.
With a gameplay loop which sunk its teeth into me, I really enjoyed my time with Chaosbane. Whilst I didn’t get a chance to play co-op, I imagine that hacking and slashing with a friend and strategising together adds a whole new layer of fun to proceedings.
Overall, Warhammer fans should be happy with how Chaosbane has turned out. This isn’t just a Diablo knock-off, EKO software may have shown their love for that franchise but this is their own take on the formula that should entertain the masses.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*