Warhammer Chaosbane Review
Reviewed on PCAlso available on Sony PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Xbox One
The market isn’t starving for more dungeon crawler action RPGs inspired by the Diablo series and despite its age, Diablo 3 itself is still going strong. The issue, however, is that Blizzard’s classic looter is one of few that are considered easy and straightforward to get into and this is where Warhammer Chaosbane finds its opening that justifies its existence. With its Diablo 3 inspirations firmly planted on its sleeve, Warhammer Chaosbane combines the familiar with a Warhammer coat of paint and a few new tricks to deliver a solid dungeon crawling experience.
The story kicks off after the forces of Chaos were defeated by the faction unifying efforts of Magnus who later becomes emperor. His reign, however, goes south when a witch infiltrates his seat in the city Praag and curses him. Players take up arms as one of four heroes to fight the cults of Chaos and lift the witch’s curse. Although it’s a story rooted in Warhammer lore that likely mostly fans are familiar with, the game does a decent enough job bringing myself, a complete noob to the universe, up to speed on what’s going on and why I’m taking up arms. It’s telling comes from a mix of narration over still image sequences and voice acted character interactions. Line delivery during these interactions is of a high quality making it one of the game’s strongest aspects.
Warhammer Chaosbane at this point offers four heroes, each with their own unique class and playstyle. Elontir is a High Elf mage specialising in nuking enemies from afar. Elessa is a Wood Elf Waywatcher (think scout or ranger) whose strength lies in attacking from afar and summoning pets to her aid. Konrad is a human soldier who strikes a balance between damage mitigation and dishing out damage while keeping his squishier allies out of harm’s way. Finally, Bragi the Dwarf Slayer is a high damage in-fighter whose mobility allows him to jump in and out of the fray effortlessly. While not having as wide a variety of classes as other games in its weight class, Chaosbane’s heroes have plenty of tools that can be mixed and matched to create builds that vary up their playstyles. What truly defines each class, however, is their individual trait actions which can be executed via the Space bar on a keyboard or a right thumbstick on a controller. Elontir can use his to direct certain spells allowing him to keep persistent damage going on large groups of enemies while Elessa on the other hand can use hers to dodge out of the way allowing her to maintain favorable positioning. While the system serves as a great way to create further distinction between the heroes, it poses some controller issues. Elontir’s ability works better when using a keyboard while Elessa’s is better suited for the directional versatility of a controller.
Speaking of controllers, this is one of the stumbling points of Warhammer Chaosbane, particularly when it comes to moving around whilst fighting large hordes of enemies. Left clicking, as is standard in all action RPGs, is delegated to both attacking and movement. Whether due to a large selection area or simple misinterpretations, the game tends to favor attacking which leads to a lot of avoidable deaths, especially when puddles of bad stuff are involved and micromovements are the order of the day. This makes controllers a more ideal choice as moving around is achieved via the left thumbstick. Thankfully, the game makes using controllers painless, especially considering it offers local multiplayer of up to four players even on PC, a feature unavailable in most other aRPGs. Looting with buddies from the comfort of your couch is back and in a big way!
It wouldn’t be a good dungeon crawler experience without loot and Chaosbane has that covered in spades. Even before completing the 5-6 odd hour long campaign, the game isn’t stingy when it comes to coveted orange colored pieces of gear. Its where the endgame begins, though, that the real hunt is afoot as Warhammer Chaosbane offers several options for making your chosen hero the mightiest ever. Aside from multiple difficulties, every mission can be played in one of three different modes. Boss Rush mode allows you to farm specific pieces of gear from the game’s uniquely challenging bosses while expeditions will have you grinding for gear and build customising Fragments. The third option, Invasions, isn’t available in the game yet and not much is known about them at this time. Beyond these modes, Warhammer Chaosbane also offers its own version of Diablo 3’s Rifts. Called Relic Hunts, these randomised micro-dungeons are another way to obtain higher and higher quality loot to collect towards your dream build.
The action RPG space is filled with a variety of options that can serve a lot of different tastes. With Blizzard seemingly more focused on bringing its acclaimed dungeon crawler to phones these days, there is room for an experience that is both dark and offers plenty for both casual and hardcore fans of the genre alike. With a robust class system that will have you experimenting with multiple builds and a clear roadmap of upcoming features and content, Warhammer Chaosbane is a worthy title that can stand on its own merit and potentially eat some of Diablo’s lunch in the process.
- Playstation 4
- Xbox One