Dazed, you crash down onto the blood-soaked soil. Your vision still swimming from the blow that had struck the side of your helmet. In the distance screams and clangs of metal hitting metal can be heard. The roar of rifles can still be distinguished in between the clangs, which means that parts of the Riflemen were still alive. Good… That is good… With your eyes still closed you try to gather your thoughts and strength. But that is cut short as a soft tremor is carried across the moist ground, the same ground you are still laying on. Moist by the soft drizzle of rain that hasn’t let up for days on end now… Damn this rain… Why couldn’t it have been a calm and sunny day, while you were tending to your fields? A nice dwarven ale waiting for you when you got back. Oh how you were looking forward to returning to your home, your wife,… Suddenly a pressure can be felt on your chest, making it near impossible for you to breathe. As your senses snapped back to reality, you pry the mangled helmet off of your head. As you adjust to the light and the pressure never let up, your eyes lock with the eyes of whatever kind of monstrosity is towering over you. Puss oozed out of hundreds of sores and things could be seen crawling under sickened skin. Blood caked his larger than life broadsword. A stench so sickening filled your nostrils. The feeling of phlegm quickly building up in your lungs began to hurt your already troubled lungs, the skin on your hands began to crack as a thousand sicknesses overcame your being. The disease-thing cackled loudly as it grinned widely, rotten teeth could be seen in the wide gaping mouth. A maggot ridden tongue licked the caked blood off of the sword. Your vision became cloudy, but the last thing you would ever see was this monstrous head splitting wide open by a huge ax, followed by the huge mohawk of a Dwarven Slayer as he came down with the momentum of his swing… Oh hohoho, this is the kind of Fantasy world we will be exploring today ladies and gentlemen! This is the world of Warhammer! A dark and dreary place for anything living in it, be it human, elf, ratfolk, lizards… Heck, even chaos beings! If I wasn’t clear enough yet, I am a huge Warhammer fan. So when I had the chance to do the preview review of Chaosbane I punched a hole in the air. That came and went, and my enthusiasm for it became stronger and stronger. And now, it’s finally here. Grab your popcorn, and get ready to order some new pants, because this is my long-ass review of… Warhammer Chaosbane!
- Warhammer feel: Ho-Ly crap. I’ve played my fair share of Warhammer games, really! I’ve read so many books that I can easily imagine what the writers wanted to depict in their stories. And sure a lot of games tend to hit some points correctly. But I’ve rarely seen a game that’s so dedicated to the source material than Warhammer Chaosbane. And they don’t shy away from the gore at all. Because let me tell you, the Warhammer universe, be it Fantasy or 40K? Is not for the weakhearted! The places that you’ll be seeing, like the emperor’s palace in Nuln? Where Magnus is being held in stasis? Looks absolutely amazing! Seen on the 2nd screenshot. The enemy types that you’ll be slaughtering? The Nurgle Plaguebearers or the imps, the Khorne Champions? All look like their counterparts! And these bosses… Do they look menacing! If there’s one thing that you’ve got to give Eko Software and BigBen Interactive? Then it HAS to be their dedication to the source material and delivering us the truest version of it! Bravo!! Truly!
- Looks amazing!: Sniff… Let me blink away a tear. Anyone out there that’s sad about that Diablo Immortal reveal? Then worry not and dry those tears on the broad shoulders of Bragi because he just told Blizzard to hold his tankard of beer! Warhammer Chaosbane looks and feels amazing. The visual effects are just, wow! Especially that chapter 4 chaos realm. Okay sure the frames might not like that chapter (more on this later), but by god, it looks delicious! A lot, and I mean A LOT of effort went into making this game look as good as it does now. A tad bit of cringe on how some guys look. But for the rest, it does an amazing job at being an eye pleaser! The colors match the style and environment that you’re running through. The bosses look superb! The lighting effects do their job into creating shadows at the right places. I am so happy that the game turned out as beautiful as it is. I mean… Look at the screenshots… And these are downscaled versions. When you’re playing the game itself? It looks way better!
- Sounds Great!: I’m not going to lie guys. The soundtrack to Chaosbane totally befits the style and direction that the game has gone. It’s dark, broody with a bit of mystery filling it. Though it’s not all to shouty. The soundtrack keeps itself in the shadows. Not overpowering the gameplay, but rather gently accompanying it by the hand. And that’s just the soundtrack. The sound effects are on par as well. Sure it might sound a bit generic, but does it have to redefine the sounds of swords clashing or arrows flying? I don’t really think so. So, in this part? Nice job! You did a good job. Because I feared a bit that an over the top and dramatic soundtrack would’ve been used to exaggerate the setting of the Warhammer world. But nope! Suits it perfectly!
- Impactful Skills: Chaosbane holds no bars down when it comes to the awesomeness and sheer magnitude of some of the skills. Even those of your enemies. Well, the final bosses then that is. For instance, Elessa has got some God Skills. When you employ these on the battlefield, she screams with a mighty voice… And… Poisonous mushrooms appear… Which heal you… Yeah, I know, but bear with me. It’s not because it’s silly looking. It’s the fact that whenever you put them out there? You know that the tides of the battle suddenly flipped totally into your favor. And that’s what so magnificent about these. Other games have these like GRAND names and descriptions, but when used? It’s like farting in a bottle. It happened. You aren’t proud of it, but sometimes it has to be done. Here? You feel the power. You see the power! Oh and while I am on the subject of Power? Let’s talk about boss skills. First off you’ll know what hit you when they connect a blow. These aren’t measly pushovers. But their power is shown through these skills as well. These dudes are the pinnacle of their Chaos Deity, these are their champions. They don’t look like the tiny little shrimps that you’ve been mowing through to get to them. These are massive structures of filth and destruction. So when they do their moves and skill-sets? They’ll do so in a manner that will grasp you by the horns and call you sally! This is how a boss battle should be!
- Diverse characters: Sweet lord… This game offers you quite a bit of possible ways to play. Each character has 3 armor sets (as of writing this review). Has a ton of different skills for you to choose from and can be played as a support, tank, healer or DPS. Even, like for instance, the ranger. Which is a natural DPS character? Has skills that can heal or boost others. Chaosbane is your oyster, and you can do with it whatever you want. That’s what I like about Dungeon Crawler ARPGs. You aren’t bound to a said profession that you are meant to fill. You can play it, whichever and whatever way you want.
- Free DLC!!!: Rejoice my brethren because our wallets have been HEARD! Bow down to your overlords for they praise us with trinkets and gifts! Ah yes, let me tell you the gospels of free DLC and fun stuff. You heard that right ladies and gentlemen. Eko Software and BigBen Interactive have heard our pleas and, aside from their paid DLC’s, have blessed us with free stuff as well. Anyone who doesn’t have the season pass will still be able to get on their upcoming Invasion mode. Which sounds a bit like the greater rifts from Diablo 3. More chaos levels will be added as well. And not only that, even an entirely new character and god skill tree. And does loot interest you at all? Then wait no more, because even an entirely new tier of armor and weaponry will be unleashed upon us! For free! A lot of companies would ask you to fork over money for all of this. But Eko and BigBen? Nope! And no no, this won’t be added like in a year or so. This will be coming to us soon! I mean… If that’s not dedication to their fans (and let’s get real here our wallets!) then I don’t know what it is. I can only say, KUDOS! We love this kind of fan service, and I hope to god that this will continue on into the upcoming months and years!
- Difficulty Spikes: So the game has multiple difficulty settings for you to choose from. Ranging from casual all the way up to Chaos 5 (6 and 7 will be added in soon). These are like the Torment levels from Diablo. And, if you are just running through your first playthrough on, for instance, hard? The game is a bit of a breeze. But oh boy, when you hit your chapter ‘s final boss? Get ready for some hurt! These dudes are massive, have their own mechanics and take no shame into slapping your ass silly. They’ve got 3 stages for you to struggle through. It’s on that third stage, that their difficulty tends to spike waaaaaaaaay up. All the way into being nearly undefeatable. I actually had to farm levels, making me overleveled when I finally had beaten the boss and went onto the next chapter. I mean… Come on, right? Now, in all fairness. I checked the patch notes, and this is going to be treated in the first patch. But come on. Didn’t you playtest this? When you have all the needed gear and a full set? Sure these bosses melt just like butter does to a hot knife. But when you are that of a low level? This. Isn’t. The. Case!
- Voice acting: This is one of my points that I hammered on in my preview. Please do something about the stiff voice acting! Well, sadly to say it’s still kind of the case here. Sure, a bit of the lines are cleaned up here and there. But I still can’t get that voice of, for instance? Teclis. He still sounds like he wasn’t really living himself into the character. Bragi did an amazing job. But it doesn’t end here sadly enough… What was a bit more off-putting was the fact that the voices didn’t really match what was written at certain points. I came across a few lines where I was reading the text and sentences just stopped when a few words were still needed to be said. These are little details that did get under my skin and made me itch all over. Clean that up! It’s not that hard! Just go over the text and spoken words and voila… Though it did tend to give me a chuckle from time to time? It still left me feeling like I was playing a beta game instead of a full version. Shame…
- Frame-dippey: Oh wow! Such a good and smo…oth game! Wait what the heck wa…s th…at? WHY! Most times everything works out fabulously. There’s no stuttering, no frames being dropped… And then all of the sudden, as if struck by an imaginary hammer? Your frames will dip low.. As low as they can go! This isn’t Limbo! I’ve identified a few sections though where this was more noticeable. In chapter 4 when you’re in the chaos realm. A lot of details are being rendered here. Even map sections in the distance or that are below you. Creating that illusion of depth and massiveness. Where you can see enemies roaming, animations being played out,… The whole shebang! And that’s the reason why the frames go down. There’s too much happening. Also, when there are a lot of animations on the screen at the same time? It tended to dip low as well. Pretty sure that when a few patches come out that this will be running as smooth as butter as well. But at the moment, take this in mind and consideration!
- Lore HEAVY: For you lore fanatics out there, this game will make a lot more sense than to those who aren’t all to savvy on the Warhammer lore. The reason for this being that the names that are coming up in here, like Asavar Kul, Teclis or Magnus the Pious are very big in the universe. But to those who aren’t up-to-date on their info? These will just be like your next random joe. I knew all of these, which made it that more exciting! Knowing you’re actually fighting and interacting next to legends. But how would you know this if you hadn’t read up on your books? Or the places that you are visiting, like Kislev or Nuln? Warhammer Chaosbane is truly a game that was created by fans of the lore, for fans of the lore! And that might be something that would actually put potential fans off from the game. But, really. If you want to get into it? Read up on Wikipedia, this isn’t just a bland world or game, this is a huge universe. Just… Bear with it, because there’s a lot of info out there!
- Matchmaking: Matchmaking? More like finding water in the wasteland! It takes so long to finally get into a game. And if you do find one, you’ll likely be greeted by 3 possible messages. Firstly: “you are unable to connect to the selected host as he is further into the story mode then you are. Though he can still join you!” … How would he even be able to know how to join me? You don’t get to see the name of who tried to join! The second is: “unable to connect to host. connection timed out.” I mean.. What? And the third is that you are connecting and are about to join the game (HURRAY). But that doesn’t mean that you’re out of the woods just yet lads. Here you start a dice-rolling game. Since this works on a peer-to-peer connection, the game then chooses a host. Yup, it doesn’t matter if the one you are connecting to chose to open their lobby. The game still can choose YOU to be the host, what is this? Pokemon? And if either of you has a bad connection? Lag galore! Now in all fairness, I connected to a lot, and I really mean A LOT of American people. And RARELY did I have a laggy game. So when the connection is stable? It really IS stable. This is planned to be smoothed out as well in the upcoming patch. Still, this feels kind of lazy, I mean… They had 2 beta weekends… They should’ve seen this in their beta period!
- Glitches: Yeah, there are some major glitches in the game. Varying from funny all the way too infuriating. One of these glitches is skills not properly scaling. I played Elessa for my review, a bad-ass Elven Ranger that has some huge DPS leaps. But one skill upgrade that would level up from level 2 to level 3 actually caused my damage to drop. Even in the base stat of the skill? It showed lower damage points. Though one of the more infuriating ones, and one that will be patched out when the first patch hits? Is your story progress actually rolling back if you’d luck out on matchmaking and got a disconnect during the loading. I had this happen to me one time and trust me, it felt bad! Though I kept my rank making it possible for me to power through the previous chapters? I still had to redo quite a bit of my story. Though these are all considered nuisances and things that will soon fade away into history. Yet if anyone encountered this in their playthrough and thought “oh f*ck this”? They’re less likely to return. I was on a breaking point as well. Should I just stop here and write the review, or delve in further? … I’m glad I chose the latter option!
- Maps…: As it currently stands there isn’t much variation into the levels that you’ll be running through. Rarely will you be running through an open map? And don’t think that those are numerous as well. Sadly enough there are only a few maps that make up this game. Okay, the developers have promised a procedural generation system in the upcoming updates… But that still doesn’t excuse itself from delivering us, well, only a few maps that exist out of a short dungeon every time. And sure they’ll add this into their next updates, but come on… This should have already been here in the base game, without any updates! And as vast as the Old World is, you barely see anything at all. Where are the vast forests, the deep underground dwarven cities, and ruins? Why didn’t you incorporate anything of the huge roads that connect every major city? Because what we get to see in Chaosbane is most likely only 0.0001% of what this beautiful realm has to offer!
I have got to say, Eko Software? You did this franchise RIGHT! There are some games out there that pretty much butcher the lore or the universe, albeit Fantasy or 40K. But you did it right! As an avid A-RPG Dungeon Crawler enthusiast, I got to say that the quality and attention details that you have put into Warhammer Chaosbane rivals, if not (dare I say) are done better than Diablo 3. Though there still are some bumps and kinks for you to sort out. But truly, this game ranks at the top of the A-RPG food chain and challenges the best of them to a duel. Please continue this passion and make this game a shining example for any future offspring as to how to do it right!
Developer: Eko Software Publisher: BigBen Interactive
Played on: Xbox One X Also available on: PS4 and PC
Alexis has spent 25+ hours vanquishing the spawns of Chaos
Achievement difficulty for 1000 Gamerscore: 30 – 40 hours depending on how fast you level up and if you have a power leveler.
Perfect for: A-RPG fans, anyone looking for the next high after that Diablo Immortals announcement,…
Xbox Game Store link: Click here