Those who know me and/or read my reviews know I’m a HUGE Diablo 3 fan. I’ll admit to putting in hundreds of hours into the game across every platform that it’s on, and still continue to do so every now and then. So when I heard the legendary Warhammer franchise was going to have a Diablo-like game, I was all over it. Thanks to our friends at Games Workshop, I was able to play the beta for their upcoming Warhammer: Chaosbane. While it can use a small bit of polish here and there, I can honestly say this one has potential to give the Diablo games a run for their money.
Thankfully the story isn’t too complex and tied into a lot of the Warhammer lore, as I haven’t played many of the games nor am I familiar with said lore. The gist of the plot is that some evil force has cursed your king, leaving him frozen and slowly dying, and is also threatening to engulf the world in darkness. It’s up to you to find out who’s behind this plot, as well as all of these monsters popping up all over the kingdom.
I wish I was able to play as all four characters, but only the warrior and mage are playable on the beta. The warrior plays like you’d expect from a hack-and-slash RPG, with lots of cool melee attacks and heavy gear to stand toe-to-toe with any enemy. For those like myself that like fighting from a distance, the mage is the way to go, as he has some pretty sweet spells to keep enemies at bay and to annihilate them before they can get near you. I also want to mention that I love how you’re able to control some of your skills after you’ve used them, such as the mage summoning a giant fireball that you can move around with the mouse (or in my case, the right analog stick on my Xbox controller for PC).
Coming from Diablo 3, the first thing that grabbed my attention was the cool looking graphics. While most of it is simple looking, the level of detail on the background and some of the other scenery is really gorgeous, especially if you’re playing the PC version like I was. A perfect example are the gross, green pustule-like blobs that you come across in the sewer missions that glisten with a slime-ish look. The level of detail on them makes you feel as though you could touch them.
The graphic effects are also well done of your special skills and spells, from leaving a streak behind you from dashing into enemies with your shield, to your fireball leaving burning embers behind to fry those dumb enough to walk in its path, subtle touches such as these our welcome and draw you into to this magical world. I had a fun time tearing through mobs of monsters while earning XP to learn new and more powerful skills that kept the carnage going.
Much like the Diablo series, there’s random loot you’ll find in chests and from defeating enemies. This leads me to the only fault I had with the game, and that’s the slightly cumbersome inventory menu that tends to be overly sensitive when trying to move your cursor on a piece of gear you’re attempting to swap. This is just a nitpick, and hopefully this is something they can easily tweak before its June release.
I enjoyed my time with the Warhammer: Chaosbane Beta. So much so, it seemed to end all too soon when I finally completed the entire first chapter and I was left wanting more. But that’s exactly how a good beta should end, and I for one can’t wait to jump back in when the deluxe versions of the game hit May 31st, while the standard one rolls in on June 4th. It’s going to be a long wait.