I’m probably one of the biggest Diablo 3 fans out there, so anything remotely close to it is something I’m going to be hyped about. Path of Exile scratched the itch some for sure, but I’m glad yet another game has come along to keep me and other fans busy in Warhammer: Chaosbane. Veterans and newcomers of action role-playing games and dungeon crawlers will find plenty of chaos to unleash in the Warhammer universe and enjoying the ride.
The plot follows the brave hero Magnus who has brought peace to the land after gathering some of the world’s best heroes and defeating the evil that plagued everyone. Of course this evil can never be truly defeated, as it slowly begins to rise again thanks to numerous cults performing their rituals and foul deeds to bring the chaos back to the land in the form of monsters and other creatures. Their power finally becomes strong enough to storm Magnus’ palace and place a dire curse on him that will kill him if not lifted soon. This is where you come in as you control one of four heroes to fight back against these hordes of monsters and save Magnus before it’s too late for him and the world.
As with any action RPG, each of the heroes has different play styles, such as the high elf Elontir who can blast enemies from afar with his mage spells, the wood elf Elessa who can also take out far away enemies with her bow and ranger skills. Then there’s the melee fighters starting with my favorite, the dwarf Bragi who can use his axes and slayer abilities to deal high damage while also becoming even more powerful depending on how many enemies he’s killed. Konrad is the generic average human soldier who plays a protector/tank role where he doesn’t do tons of damage, but is good at taking it and keeping said damage away from the other characters.
While the gameplay is very similar to Diablo and Path of Exile, where you (and some buddies via local and online co-op) run around using attacks you can map to a control layout of your liking, etc, one of the best parts of this game that separates itself from the pack is its extensive customization system. As you play, you earn XP and skill points to unlock newer and more powerful skills, but you can only have so many points in use at any given time which forces players to really think about their skill layout, which ones they want to focus on, and so on. For example, if you can only use 30 points at the time, and your main attack use 5, another skill uses 10, and another 15, and you just got a new skill that uses 10 or 15, you’ll have to drop one of your skills to make point room for the new one.
It takes a bit to get used to, but once you do, it’s nothing but fun as you get to use and keep only the skills that fit your play style. Speaking of fun stuff, each character also has a cool move you can do with the right analog stick (or spacebar for PC Keyboard users) such as a dodge roll of Elessa, a grappling hook jump for Bragi to help move him around quicker, and the best one of all is Elontir’s with the ability to move a spell once it has been cast. So say you shot out a massive fireball, you can then move it around the screen to chase enemies, make it circle back around on some attacking you, and so on. The possibilities are endless and really make you feel like a powerful mage wielding fearsome spells on your foes.
After you’ve finished the main campaign, there’s still plenty to do afterwards. You can replay missions with different difficulties to up the challenge, with even more coming in future updates, or you can play in different ways like in Boss Rush where you take on the bosses, or run expeditions that place you and your friends in randomly generated levels for you to slay enemies and collect better gear. Relic hunts are a lot like the rifts from Diablo 3 where you can take on hordes of tough enemies for top-notch loot, and finally invasions that are a complete mystery as they have yet to be activated, but is sure to provide even more content in the near future.
After playing Diablo 3 for so long, one of the first things I noticed about this game are the detailed graphics. They’re pretty polished and look amazing at times, especially the backgrounds. From gross, slimey, pustule-like structures of the enemies in the sewers, to the lush snow clinging onto trees in a winter-like stage, to your characters and their gear which changes when you upgrade them, everything looks great. The music fits nicely, and the voice acted parts range from good to so-so.
Sadly, I ran into a few issues while playing that aren’t game breaking, but just annoying and shows the game could use a bit more polish. Things such as characters not saying the dialogue that’s being shown on the screen, out of order dialogue text with or without voices, or another voice actor reading someone else’s lines. It can be a bit jarring when my female elf suddenly has a male voice and says something completely different that what’s shown in the text box. There are also times when parts of the backgrounds would disappear and reappear when moving, and enemies getting stuck behind breakable objects and treasure chests. These issues were present in the beta as well, so I hope they’ll fix these in an upcoming patch.
Warhammer: Chaosbane is one of the best action RPG’s I’ve played outside of Diablo 3. For Eko Software to make something this ambitious and awesome right out the gate is a feat in itself, and everything comes together nicely for the most part. There are some minor issues that can use some work, and hopefully they’ll be fixed along with more exciting content to come in future patches. In the meantime, gather some friends and cause some fun, co-op chaos here.