A week or so ago, I was fortunate enough to be granted access to have a little look around the closed beta phase of the Games Workshop based action RPG Warhammer: Chaosbane, developed by Big Ben Games. For a few days, I had access to two of the four playable characters, and dropped into the eternal fight against the hordes of Chaos.
After logging in, I was given the choice between the Konrad Vollen an Empire fighter and Elontir the High Elf Mage. I chose Elontir the mage and started the story. A semi-animated cutscene story played out in front of me. Static parchment like images with voice-overs. Elontir is an arrogant young mage who grows in power and acclaim. You join the game shortly after the assassination of someone important, you are charged with clearing the tower and then the sewers of the various hordes and beasties of Chaos. I’ve kept the storyline deliberately sketchy for the sake of spoilers.
What continued after this point is a fairly solid and well done, Diablo-style action RPG. The controls are easy to master and the enemies are numerous. As the mage, the single click-attack is a staff-based fireball that kills most things in only a few hits. His right-click attack conjures up a glowing sphere, that damages enemies, and by holding the space bar (on PC version, obviously) you can control this damaging orb rather than simply letting it do its thing.
Time was short so I didn’t get chance to play as Konrad, who is a melee-based character, so next test phase I’ll take him for a spin, and let you know.
One thing I did notice is that there wasn’t always a great amount of difference in the gear that you can equip on your character. Though in fairness I was only starting out, so I’m hoping that as your level increases and you fight tougher and more dangerous foes, then the gear really starts to shine. If you remember Warhammer Online, I found the gear in that a little underwhelming so I may be painting Chaosbane with the same brush a little too prematurely.
It looks nice enough and everything has been well animated, so there are certainly no complaints in regards to how Chaosbane looks or feels. Apart from a few bugs in the sound / voice acting, like overlapping speech, it’s good stuff here as well.
My one worry, is that outside the general hack ’n’ slash (or in Elontir’s case, ‘cast ‘n’ burn’) of the main gameplay, there won’t be much else. I’m hoping that as you go through the game, and increase in level there starts to be a bit more variation in gameplay, and more things open up.
So yeah, ultimately a fairly solid attempt by Big Ben games to bring the Warhammer world into a Diablo style game. Sure, there are still a few bugs and more variation in location wouldn’t go a miss. I felt like I spent years trawling through the same sewers killing nurglings. Maybe, I am comparing Chaosbane to Diablo too much, which is a little unfair as it is its own game and should be treated as such. On the flip side, I think the game could be developed to have a little more personality of its own so there’s less need for comparison in the first place.
Having said all that, I’m still curiously excited to see how the final release of the game looks (and how the other characters play). Hopefully, there’s a bit more padding, and another coat of polish, but no major renovation work is needed here.
Come back to www.theZombieChimp.com for more Warhammer: ChaosBane news when we have it.