Prepare your Spells. String your Bow. Polish your Arrows. Style that amazing Mohawk. Prepare to journey into the dark, war-torn world of Warhammer Chaosbane.
A Journey into the Age of Sigmar
Developed by Eko Software and published by BigBen Interactive, Chaosbane is the latest foray into the vast and complex IP that is Warhammer. At its core, Chaosbane is a traditional hack and slash with heavy RPG elements. Each of the four playable character classes comes with a large selection of different skills and abilities that allow for customization of your chosen play style.
Making a game that is pleasing to Warhammer fans can be a challenge. Making a game that feels accessible to both Warhammer veterans and first time neophytes to the Warhammer Universe is daunting. Chaosbane has found a happy medium that caters to both.
Every aspect of the game screams Warhammer, from the dwarven architecture in the sewers to the various symbols of the Chaos powers littered throughout. It is obvious that the developers spent a profound amount of time and effort familiarizing themselves with the source materials.
The game plays well, I spent close to 40 hours playing solo as well as co-op and encounter very few bugs, none of which were game breaking or overtly intrusive to game play. The classes are well balanced, each being able to draw from a deep well of abilities.
Of the four classes available to play, the Dwarven Slayer, with his dual wielding dwaven axes, was by far my favorite. It is a highly mobile class that has devastating melee attacks. I found myself continuously hurling him into situations that seemed overwhelming and somehow still coming out on top. Did I mention he has a kick-ass Mohawk?
The Elven Sorcerer offers access to the arcane arts. While he is not nearly as durable as his more melee oriented compatriots, the ability to lay down withering amounts of magical attacks more than makes up with this. Spells available vary greatly, with options for supporting most types of game play.
The Empire Soldier is a classic tank. Heavy armor, melee DPS spikes, and buffs to HP and damage make this class a very straight forward and easy to play. The floppy hats and puffy pants also offer a unique aesthetic reminiscent of German Landsknect.
Have you ever dreamed of becoming and Elf archer, loosing an endless stream of arrows in to a horde of enemies like Legolas in the Battle of Helms Deep? Then the Wood Elf is the character you have been waiting for. The ability to summon pets mitigates the squishy-ness inherent to this character.
Each class also has access to a “Rage” ability that greatly increases damage output for a short amount of time. This ability is charged by picking up glowing red orbs that are occasionally dropped by defeated enemies.
Choose your Powers, Decimate your Enemy
As each character gains experience and levels, additional skills and skill points. Every skill has multiple levels, with the high levels costing more skill points to equip. There are a few different types of Skills availablke to players. Active skills are used by the player and either generate or use skill resources. Passive skills grant a bonus that is always active.
In addition to each characters regular abilities that are unlocked via level progression, there is a feature known as a God Skill tree. This is a sprawling skill map unique to each class that allows a player to purchase passive and active abilities using shards, dropped randomly when defeating enemies.
You want Grim? Dark? Steams of foes to Conquer? We’ve got you Fam.
The sheer number of enemies on screen can easily be overwhelming in the early levels. I came to relish the challenge later as I developed a character build that thrived on throwing my Dwarf into hordes of enemies. The seemingly constant stream of enemies wasn’t the best part of the game for me though, it was like the cherry on top.
Every aspect of the game pays fan service to Warhammer. A quality soundtrack and acceptable voice acting round out the package to make this a solid Action RPG. The Boss rush mode and Artifact hunts added a nice replayability that allowed my friends and I to gear up for going through the ten different difficulty levels.
With that being said, some of the content did begin to feel redundant after twenty hours of game play. With procedural generation becoming more of the norm in gaming today, recycling the same levels seems dated. While the developer boasted of 70+ enemy types, I didn’t like seeing the same enemy models in different colors and names time after time.
Final Thoughts: Potential and Anticipation
With the developers self professed commitment to expanding and improving on the existing content, I will wait with baited breath to see what comes next for Chaosbane. As a long time Warhammer Fan and tabletop gamer I know there is a huge amount of source material that can be pulled from. The surface of this world has barely been scratched, I can only hope that we get to dive deeper into this game. I would rate this title a three out of five, should additional content be provided in the future this would improve to a four out of five.
The playtime for this review was completed on PlayStation 4. Warhammer: Chaosbane is now available on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.