I was lucky enough to get into the private closed beta for Warhammer Chaosbane. Being a huge Warhammer and Games Workshop fan I was gagging to get into this. At first glance, it’s a very good looking game and a bloody well put together hack and slash.
Not unlike Diablo, Warhammer Chaosbane is story driven dungeon crawler. From what I got to play it seems to have nailed the formula well.
The left mouse button moves and uses your primary attack, the right mouse uses your first skill. You then assign more skills to the 1 through 4 buttons. Some of them are perfect to flow on from other skills.
Oftentimes it’s like pulling off an awesome combo, though others are just different skills following one another. The point and click style of Chaosbane with the use of keys around the WASD buttons feel natural not unlike using both hands in an FPS.
Warhammer Chaosbane Preview
I opted to play as the Empire soldier and jump right into slaying the horrendous forces of Chaos. Only having access to two of the four final characters in the beta left a little to be desired but that’s to be expected. I wanted to play the Slayer though.
One downside in Warhammer Chaosbane so far — unlike Diablo — you play a premade character. There are no cosmetic customisation options for your characters this. This removes the need to decide on various options and you can get into the game faster. It also makes it a lot easier to tell a narrative.
But it feels like you’d want to be able to customise your hero, especially as it so closely follows the Diablo formula. Hopefully, Eko Software adds in some cosmetics, because it’s always fun to make the character your own.
The way you equip weapons, armour is a lot like Diablo 3. You have a wheel with points representing the different loot. There are a multitude of items you can equip and these allow you to play in any number of styles.
Realm of Chaos
Character skills are broken into active and passive; much like that other looter…
Active skills are the ones you have to press a button to use and passive skills are constantly applying buffs or status changes. In addition to this, you have skills granted to you by your god or patron.
However, you can’t choose a god so these are really just additional character skills; both active and passive. Equipping skills had me stumped for a little while as the explanation was a little lacking. Each skill has an equip cost and you can not exceed your available points across all skills. So, if you equip an expensive passive, you’re going to have fewer points to spend on your active skills.
This is a neat system, as it forces you to think about how your skills synergise and how you’ll be able to make the most of your attacks. It only really comes into its own after you unlock some upgraded skills.
Konrad being a sword and shield character has skills that complement this. One is his Whirling Slash that gives you an additional block chance for each enemy hit.
Shield Charge helps you cover ground doing damage and slowing enemies and The Banner of the Empire gives a buff to all players in range. These all have visual effects that tie to Konrad be it colours or particle effects they all come across as powerful and effective
One of the few things I’ve noticed lacking from the beta are tooltips on certain things in your status screen. Such as where your fragments go or your attack, defence and utility. Yes, I get what they do as a whole but the numbers under your character don’t match anything in your overall status screen.
Trying to equip skills at times bug out and can be borderline impossible to equip. Another feature that I couldn’t find is a way to force loot to display its name instead of having to mouse over every piece. While none of these gripes is game breaking, the bugging out on the skills screen is the most problematic. Hopefully, it will be fixed very soon.
As far as gameplay goes, Warhammer Chaosbane flows quite well.
Possibly too well. At a few points, I found my self rounding up a multitude of demons only to right click a few times and kill them all. This does happen in other games, especially Diablo 3, but it’d be nice to have the game feel a bit more difficult.
Only during some of the boss fights did I get a sense of danger and worried that I may die. It’s all well and good to be godlike in your powers, but the best looters inject an element of strategy and skill into the chaos on screen.
For the Empire!
To heal your character, Chaosbane has gone the path of a potion on cooldown like Diablo 3 and not like Diablo 2 where you needed to collect an item. This saves room in your inventory which is broken into a weight limit. At this stage though, it looks like all items weigh ‘1 unit’.
This gives Konrad, the soldier, an inventory of 80 items. As the game progresses you gain access to additional features, however, at this point in the beta, they’re still locked.
The overall look of Warhammer Chaosbane is not meant to mirror playing a tabletop game. However, the angle at which the camera sits at times looks very much like looking down into a well-built terrain filled table.
The overall quality of visuals is stunning, both in terms of the game itself and special effects the go off when you use a skill. The in-game music didn’t grab me. It’s not that it wasn’t good, it’s just not memorable at this stage.
I’ll be jumping back into the closed beta to further my time in the Nuln sewers. After busting out another good session during the rest of the beta I can’t wait to see where Eko Software takes the world it has created.
Warhammer Chaosbane was previewed on PC using a code provided by the publisher.