It’s a glorious time to be alive if you’re a fan of isometric ARPGs as the full spectrum of the genre more than spoils for choice. On the one end, there’s the hardcore Path of Exile which was recently released on PS4 aimed squarely at those who take their dungeon crawling seriously. Diablo 3 had its flag firmly and deeply planted in the exact opposite end for those who just wanted to hack and slash their way through hordes of enemies without too much fuss. In between, there are games like Grim Dawn and Victor Vran which have varying degrees of balance between hardcore and accessible elements. With Blizzard seemingly focused on making Diablo big on phones, which we all have, instead of PCs and consoles, a void is slowly opening and there are a few players vying to fill it.
Warhammer Chaosbane is one of them.
Chaosbane wears its Diablo 3 inspirations unapologetically on its sleeve. After spending countless hours dispatching endless hordes of Sanctuary’s demons and undead on PS4, jumping into this Warhammer take on the genre made me feel right at home. Everything from the radial inventory UI to the way the controls handle screams Diablo 3 and that is not a bad thing at all. When Blizzard ported the latest iteration of their dungeon crawler franchise to consoles, they had to re-tailor the experience for people using controllers and they were right on the mark. Chaosbane follows suit and it works just as well. My only issue so far has been with mapping abilities and their different versions as the game uses a skill points pool to keep builds under control.
One other difference is how the right thumbstick works in Warhammer Chaosbane. I spent my time in the beta playing as Elessa, the Wood Elf scout, and moving the right thumbstick in any direction makes her dodge similarly to D3, albeit with a short cooldown. For the other three characters, though, there are different abilities that complement their respective playstyles, such as the Dwarven Slayer who throws a chained axe that pulls him along. These are known as defining abilities and its interesting how each of them has both defensive and offensive applications.
The differences to Diablo 3 don’t end there. I picked Elessa not only because she was the new and shiny character but also because I expected her to play similarly to the Demon Hunter. Far from it, while the Wood Elf is a ranged damage dealer that prefers to stay outside of the fray, she relies more on leaving traps and spinning blades in strategic positions rather than straight barrages of arrows. I was constantly dodging in and out leaving my damage dealing abilities to do the heavy work while I finished off enemies from afar with my basic ability which felt both exhilarating and involved.
There are a few more interesting aspects to Warhammer Chaosbane which the closed beta had locked players out of access, with the most intriguing one being the option to play missions in Boss Rush mode. Nothing, that I’m aware of, has been revealed so far about this mode but it does seem to hark back to a time when players would try to rush as quickly as possible to the bosses of Diablo 2 which were the main sources of good loot.
Overall, Warhammer Chaosbane’s closed beta was a good time for me, one that I had missed since I haven’t ventured into Sanctuary in a long time. The combat is fun and engaging, the loot flows like water, and there are plenty of demons, goblins, and other uglies to devastate in droves. It’s exactly what one would expect from the genre and I’m excited to play the game when it launches on June 4th. Stay tuned to The Digital Fix for more.
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