This remake of Space Hulk is a return to a video game implementation of the classic tabletop board game. Gone are the controllable first-person elements from Space Hulk: Vengeance Of The Blood Angels, which in themselves were an attempt at providing further immersion than the original Space Hulk video game (a blast from the past from 1993!) .
Of course, the graphics quality has been gently ushered into the modern age. Copenhagen developmers Full Control Apps have done a quite decent job modelling environments and characters, and an excellent job of remaining completely faithful to the tabletop edition in terms of gameplay. The music and sound-effects are very atmospheric, and immersing yourself into the feel of Space Hulk (especially the first time in the dead of night with the lights off) is really fun. Franchise fans, will find the horrific aspects of this sort of video game is very appealing in experiential terms, and the immersion in a no-way-out survival horror is probably high on the list of reasons to play.
Players can roam the hulk "Sin Of Damnation" (an expansion set for the board game) as either fearsome Genestealer Tyranids, or heroic Blood Angel Space Marines. The single-player campaign clads your squad of four in classic Warhammer: 40,000 Terminator Armor with all associated weaponry. They carry out your orders with appropriate battle cries of "For the Emperor!" and such-like. When squad members inevitably fall in close-combat with Genestealer, their death throes are accompanied with sentiments to the effect of "Avenge me, my brothers!". You will need to do a lot of avenging in the course of the campaign if you set the difficulty up high.
Unfortunately, the game is also punishing in terms of performance. Though many actions of the AI are based on six-sided dice rolls of only a few dice, the psuedorandom number generator used might well be using floating point variables of many significant figures, for the eternity it takes to decide upon death without recourse. However, if you roll bad dice in your turn resulting in any mistake including death, there's always the Undo button. If you're terribly frustrated with a particular mission (stupid chapter artifact, why can't these pansy marines pick up a dumb chalice?) you may find yourself in a situation where spamming Undo on your turn will be the only thing which seems to get you through a difficult spot other than reducing the difficulty setting. Considering the requirements of the game, framerates go low and slow (especially with higher numbers of pixels on larger displays). This can be remedied acceptable by reducing graphics quality to medium and changing other settings. There's no pressing need for high framerates, because this a clear turn-based strategy. But smooth-scrolling around the map is necessary to keep track of what's going on. Especially when dropship teleporters malfunction during deployment! A stranded, lone Terminator faced with corridors on several sides makes an easy target for voracious Genestealers. They run in packs, don't let them get close, or even ol'lightning claws can have regrets.
The animations of Terminators heroically firing weapons gets repetitive before the end of the second map in single-player. This is quickly and easily solved by turning it off entirely in the options. The animations still play, but the camera doesn't zoom into each Terminator while firing. However, the animations still go on too long. When placing a Terminator with a Storm Bolter into Overwatch mode over a long corridor filled with Genestealers, it's time to go make coffee as literally hundreds of rounds are fired with no way to skip over the animation. It's worth marveling at this once or twice, but quickly becomes boring. The same can be said of the movement, although this can be sped up. However, at maximum speed, Genestealers are more frightening than necessary, and Terminators clump around with like humourously inarticulated style of LEGO-figurines, so fast is as fast as fast goes with that.
Of course you can always play online, and the matchmaking server will set you up against any number of eager opponents ready to kick you around the board until you just can't take it any more. I'm sure it's a long-forgotten personal motto of Blood Angels chapter librarians that in order to know the sweet ambrosia of victory one must drink of defeat until the very last bitter dregs, or something to similar effect. Whatever the cost, the Blood Angels shall redeem themselves, as their hands are mere extensions of the Emperor's will, etc. etc. So to keep things interesting, new maps and characters and campaigns must be provided for these extensions of the Emperors will, or the warp will make devils of idle hands. Or something. In typically mercenary Games Workshop style, these sorts of expansions are sold at a premium as DLC for Space Hulk. Just like the board game, so while it's a depressing monetary vacuum for fans, that Games Workshop have licensed an all-consuming Eye Of Terror for bank accounts isn't surprising. Fellow chosen of the Imperium, we must turn back this tide of Chaos! We must invoke... the Emperor's discount! In all seriousness, AU$20 is expensive for what Space Hulk offers. AU$10 would have satisfied the Emperor's chosen far more. The current asking price of AU$5/each for DLC packs is far too much. The best advice here is to wait for the bundle sale before deployment. Like the migration of Tyranid hives, a percentage off will inevitably intersect our space.