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Found 8 results

  1. If you're reading this, that means you've decided to consider participating in the ancient and venerable art of tabletop roleplaying. Congratulations! Infinite worlds of adventure await you, full of adventures to tackle alongside trusty companions. However, that rather large prospect can be quite daunting to those unfamiliar with tabletop RPGs. I promise that with this guide you will be able to stand proudly alongside your nerdy brothers and sisters when the time comes to roll initiative. Now, before you pull a Magnus and rush in, take some time to consider what, exactly, you'd like to do in a roleplaying setting. Are you the kind of person who loses themselves in fictional worlds within your own mind? Do you stand in the shower until it runs cold while dreaming about an epic adventure? Maybe you don't want to play just one character and want to take on a wide array of different roles? If those describe you, you might want to consider becoming a Game Master or GM. GMs act as a kind of author and arbiter of the world within the game. A GM typically brings the game to life at the table. They are the ones who craft the world in which the game takes place and breathe life into its various denizens. They also weave an evolving story that changes over time in response to the actions of other players in the group. The GM enforces the rules and attempts to give fair judgments that help everyone at the table have a good time. The flipside of the GM is the PC, the Player Character. Everyone in the game who is not the GM controls an avatar in the game, their own player character. PCs typically bring their own characters to life and then respond to the world and inhabitants that the GM conjures into being. By inquiring about the world and interacting with different characters, the PC forces the GM to expand the setting in new and interesting ways that the GM might never have expected. It is best to think of the GM and PCs as collaborators working to build a fun and interesting world that becomes more alive and reactive with each choice the players make while advancing through what the GM has created. Once you have decided which role you think might be good for you, it’s a really good idea to talk about boundaries. In a world of infinite possibilities, what some might think dramatic or funny might be deeply traumatizing or offensive to others. If a player has a phobia and requests that it not come up in-game, respect their wishes. Other players might be uncomfortable with torture or sex scenes. Have an open conversation with your group about what everyone’s boundaries are and then respect those limits. Remember: The goal is for everyone to have fun. That brings us t- wait, have you read the rules of the game you’re playing? Whether you’re going to be a GM or a PC, you need to know the most basic rules. It will still be a bit bumpy your first time playing even if you do read the rules, but it helps to have some understanding of what’s going on before you’re thrown to the wolves (sometimes literally thrown to wolves). If you are acting as the GM, you should absolutely have a firm grasp on the fundamentals. PCs have a lot more leeway on rules, but know your character well enough to be able to look at your character sheet and understand about 80% of it. Knowing your PC’s abilities will help the GM quite a bit; it is unlikely they have memorized every rule for every class in the entire game. Now comes one of the best parts about tabletop roleplaying games: Creation. Once you know the rules, you can get to work making the building blocks of the world and the people who inhabit it. This is where the GM and the PC really diverge. A lot depends on what the GM wants to achieve with the game. Is it meant to be a sweeping tale of adventure with a party of heroes and/or villains? Or is it a smaller, more intimate tale meant for only a session or two? Both approaches necessitate different amounts of planning. For example, if it is intended to be a sprawling campaign that takes place over vast geographical areas with varied peoples and cultures, it is worth thinking about the histories, religions, and conflicts that have sprouted up between the various groups. Having broad ideas regarding those subjects will help you to think on your feet if you need to improvise and plan out potential courses your campaign could take. A shorter campaign or a one-shot don’t necessarily need the same level of planning since it is unlikely the players will deviate far from the smaller scope of the GM’s planned and prepared content. It doesn’t hurt, certainly, but less of a necessity. However, put some thought into the non-player characters. Your NPCs should all relate to different things in the world. What does each character care about? What are they willing to do to obtain or protect what they care about? Having those motivations in place will help make your NPCs feel more like real people when the PCs interact with them. Or perhaps you aren’t super interested in using the rules to create a new setting and world on your own. It’s certainly a daunting task, even for experienced tabletop aficionados. A great option to gain some experience or save time is to grab a pre-made adventure. Most game systems have years of stories and quests drawn up in either physical or digital forms. For five dollars (and often less than that) you can find yourself a whole new adventure to run made by another player. Or you could jump into a more expensive and polished journey created by the company behind the system. There’s a definite upside to having all the information readily available and organized. The only catch is that there can be a lot of reading and remembering to do that can get overwhelming for the inexperienced. These pre-fabricated settings and adventures usually come with pre-made characters for PCs, too, making them great introductions to the game system. For players, once the GM gives you the basic parameters of the world, ask questions with the goal of finding out how your character concept might fit best into their world. It might, for example, profoundly change the adventure if your character is an elf if most people in the GM’s world haven’t seen an elf for a thousand years. You should also consider making a second character to keep in your back pocket in case the worst happens. The GM shouldn't be actively trying to kill your characters, but sometimes things happen; the die rolls poorly or goofs are goofed. And when your character dies, as painful as that might sometimes be, it helps to be able to slap down a new character sheet and introduce them. It's your opportunity to be someone completely different, so run with it and have fun. Once all of that has been settled, it's time to actually show up to the sessions and play! Some general points of courtesy if you have never been to a table before. First, if you disagree with the GM's ruling, bring it up for discussion after the session concludes so the two of you can share your respective points of view without stalling the game and making everyone uncomfortable. Second, be respectful of everyone's time. Most people came to play, so try to give all of your attention to what's going on. Chances are your GM or your players put a lot of effort into making the adventure you're participating in, so value them. Finally, Not everyone gels well with every group. Some tabletop players are more involved in the tactical and mechanical aspects of combat while others live for the story or puzzles. Different groups will have different dynamics, so don't feel bad if the group you initially join up with doesn't quite click with you. There are players out there for you! If you can't wrangle some friends to play and are still interested, keep an eye out for local comics or games stores. These will often have weekly or monthly tabletop events that welcome newcomers. If all else fails, you can always find games played in various forms online (forums, voice chat, voice and tools like Roll20, and more). You've got options! With that, you are ready to hop into the wild world of... well, any one of an infinite number of wild worlds, really. Have fun and happy questing, you crazy kids! Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  2. Jack Gardner

    How to Get Started Playing Tabletop RPGs

    If you're reading this, that means you've decided to consider participating in the ancient and venerable art of tabletop roleplaying. Congratulations! Infinite worlds of adventure await you, full of adventures to tackle alongside trusty companions. However, that rather large prospect can be quite daunting to those unfamiliar with tabletop RPGs. I promise that with this guide you will be able to stand proudly alongside your nerdy brothers and sisters when the time comes to roll initiative. Now, before you pull a Magnus and rush in, take some time to consider what, exactly, you'd like to do in a roleplaying setting. Are you the kind of person who loses themselves in fictional worlds within your own mind? Do you stand in the shower until it runs cold while dreaming about an epic adventure? Maybe you don't want to play just one character and want to take on a wide array of different roles? If those describe you, you might want to consider becoming a Game Master or GM. GMs act as a kind of author and arbiter of the world within the game. A GM typically brings the game to life at the table. They are the ones who craft the world in which the game takes place and breathe life into its various denizens. They also weave an evolving story that changes over time in response to the actions of other players in the group. The GM enforces the rules and attempts to give fair judgments that help everyone at the table have a good time. The flipside of the GM is the PC, the Player Character. Everyone in the game who is not the GM controls an avatar in the game, their own player character. PCs typically bring their own characters to life and then respond to the world and inhabitants that the GM conjures into being. By inquiring about the world and interacting with different characters, the PC forces the GM to expand the setting in new and interesting ways that the GM might never have expected. It is best to think of the GM and PCs as collaborators working to build a fun and interesting world that becomes more alive and reactive with each choice the players make while advancing through what the GM has created. Once you have decided which role you think might be good for you, it’s a really good idea to talk about boundaries. In a world of infinite possibilities, what some might think dramatic or funny might be deeply traumatizing or offensive to others. If a player has a phobia and requests that it not come up in-game, respect their wishes. Other players might be uncomfortable with torture or sex scenes. Have an open conversation with your group about what everyone’s boundaries are and then respect those limits. Remember: The goal is for everyone to have fun. That brings us t- wait, have you read the rules of the game you’re playing? Whether you’re going to be a GM or a PC, you need to know the most basic rules. It will still be a bit bumpy your first time playing even if you do read the rules, but it helps to have some understanding of what’s going on before you’re thrown to the wolves (sometimes literally thrown to wolves). If you are acting as the GM, you should absolutely have a firm grasp on the fundamentals. PCs have a lot more leeway on rules, but know your character well enough to be able to look at your character sheet and understand about 80% of it. Knowing your PC’s abilities will help the GM quite a bit; it is unlikely they have memorized every rule for every class in the entire game. Now comes one of the best parts about tabletop roleplaying games: Creation. Once you know the rules, you can get to work making the building blocks of the world and the people who inhabit it. This is where the GM and the PC really diverge. A lot depends on what the GM wants to achieve with the game. Is it meant to be a sweeping tale of adventure with a party of heroes and/or villains? Or is it a smaller, more intimate tale meant for only a session or two? Both approaches necessitate different amounts of planning. For example, if it is intended to be a sprawling campaign that takes place over vast geographical areas with varied peoples and cultures, it is worth thinking about the histories, religions, and conflicts that have sprouted up between the various groups. Having broad ideas regarding those subjects will help you to think on your feet if you need to improvise and plan out potential courses your campaign could take. A shorter campaign or a one-shot don’t necessarily need the same level of planning since it is unlikely the players will deviate far from the smaller scope of the GM’s planned and prepared content. It doesn’t hurt, certainly, but less of a necessity. However, put some thought into the non-player characters. Your NPCs should all relate to different things in the world. What does each character care about? What are they willing to do to obtain or protect what they care about? Having those motivations in place will help make your NPCs feel more like real people when the PCs interact with them. Or perhaps you aren’t super interested in using the rules to create a new setting and world on your own. It’s certainly a daunting task, even for experienced tabletop aficionados. A great option to gain some experience or save time is to grab a pre-made adventure. Most game systems have years of stories and quests drawn up in either physical or digital forms. For five dollars (and often less than that) you can find yourself a whole new adventure to run made by another player. Or you could jump into a more expensive and polished journey created by the company behind the system. There’s a definite upside to having all the information readily available and organized. The only catch is that there can be a lot of reading and remembering to do that can get overwhelming for the inexperienced. These pre-fabricated settings and adventures usually come with pre-made characters for PCs, too, making them great introductions to the game system. For players, once the GM gives you the basic parameters of the world, ask questions with the goal of finding out how your character concept might fit best into their world. It might, for example, profoundly change the adventure if your character is an elf if most people in the GM’s world haven’t seen an elf for a thousand years. You should also consider making a second character to keep in your back pocket in case the worst happens. The GM shouldn't be actively trying to kill your characters, but sometimes things happen; the die rolls poorly or goofs are goofed. And when your character dies, as painful as that might sometimes be, it helps to be able to slap down a new character sheet and introduce them. It's your opportunity to be someone completely different, so run with it and have fun. Once all of that has been settled, it's time to actually show up to the sessions and play! Some general points of courtesy if you have never been to a table before. First, if you disagree with the GM's ruling, bring it up for discussion after the session concludes so the two of you can share your respective points of view without stalling the game and making everyone uncomfortable. Second, be respectful of everyone's time. Most people came to play, so try to give all of your attention to what's going on. Chances are your GM or your players put a lot of effort into making the adventure you're participating in, so value them. Finally, Not everyone gels well with every group. Some tabletop players are more involved in the tactical and mechanical aspects of combat while others live for the story or puzzles. Different groups will have different dynamics, so don't feel bad if the group you initially join up with doesn't quite click with you. There are players out there for you! If you can't wrangle some friends to play and are still interested, keep an eye out for local comics or games stores. These will often have weekly or monthly tabletop events that welcome newcomers. If all else fails, you can always find games played in various forms online (forums, voice chat, voice and tools like Roll20, and more). You've got options! With that, you are ready to hop into the wild world of... well, any one of an infinite number of wild worlds, really. Have fun and happy questing, you crazy kids! Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  3. The Space Hulk tabletop game has entertained Warhammer 40,000 fans for decades. The Space Marine vs Genestealer conflict spilled into the world of video games in the early 90’s, spawning numerous titles ranging from real-time strategy to first-person shooters. Space Hulk: Tactics isn’t the first turn-based strategy entry, but its new card system and two narrative-focused campaigns seperate it from the pack. The two distinct story campaigns center on the Blood Angels chapter of the Terminator Space Marines and the alien Genestealers. This marks the first time the ferocious monsters have been playable in a Space Hulk campaign. Like the board game, players guide a squad through the narrow corridors of the Space Hulk vessels. Marines must fulfil objectives such as escaping or eliminating a target. Genestealers need to slaughter their armored foes before they complete their mission. Outside of these narratives, players can battle in skirmishes against the AI or face other players in competitive multiplayer. I played match against a developer using the Blood Angels while he chose the Genestealers. My objective was to reach a room in order to scorch it with a flamethrower. Only one of my units could perform this task so I had to escort him to the point safely. Players position units or attack adversaries by spending Action Points. Characters have a limited amount of these points, so it’s important to plan ahead for obstacles such as locked doors or surprise enemy spawns. Units fill a specific roles such as Medics, Librarians (psychic-powered mystics), or Assaults, and can use staple genre abilities such as overwatch in addition to their class abilities. Genestealers, whose ranks include powerful Broodlords and nimble Reaperfexes, are placed at spawn points and swarm their prey in waves. Since the opponent can’t see where Genestealers get positioned, savvy players can set up surprise ambushes. Genestealers can even place decoys to throw off the other player. A new card system offers another strategic twist. Equipping units with cards bestows powerful abilities and bonuses. For example, a card may award more points for killing certain enemy types or deal extra melee damage. Tactics features over 80 cards to collect, each one playing a substantial role in combat and tactical decision-making. Cards can also be destroyed in exchange for extra action points for Marines or to summon new units for Genestealers. I like the strategy and flexibility of gaining more actions by sacrificing an ability I may not need in the moment. A first-person option is one of the game’s coolest features. Hitting a button causes the view to shift from a standard top-down angle to witnessing the action from the character’s perspective. Not only does this look neat, but it helps with lining up attacks more accurately or to better identify environmental elements. When playing competitively players can control four chapters (basically factions) of Space Marines: Blood Angels, Space Wolves, Ultramarines, and Dark Angels. Squad customization allows for units to be modified by body part with various armor types and color schemes. With plenty of options at their disposal, players can create squads that suit their visual fancy. I also got a brief look at the mission editor. Players can craft their own levels to share with others online. The intuitive controls make it a cinch to construct corridors and place elements such as auto-turrets and other traps. Visual variations of each tile means stages can take on the gothic look of imperial ships or the metallic hodgepodge of orc vessels, among others. Players can assign multiple objectives to their missions, with Terminators and Genestealers having their own dedicated tasks. Admittedly, I’m not much of a Warhammer 40K fan. However, strategy games make my soul smile, and Space Hulk: Tactics strikes many of the right notes for the genre. I had a good time playing and could see myself getting into the experience despite having no affinity for the intricate lore. Look for the game on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One when it launches on October 9. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  4. The Space Hulk tabletop game has entertained Warhammer 40,000 fans for decades. The Space Marine vs Genestealer conflict spilled into the world of video games in the early 90’s, spawning numerous titles ranging from real-time strategy to first-person shooters. Space Hulk: Tactics isn’t the first turn-based strategy entry, but its new card system and two narrative-focused campaigns seperate it from the pack. The two distinct story campaigns center on the Blood Angels chapter of the Terminator Space Marines and the alien Genestealers. This marks the first time the ferocious monsters have been playable in a Space Hulk campaign. Like the board game, players guide a squad through the narrow corridors of the Space Hulk vessels. Marines must fulfil objectives such as escaping or eliminating a target. Genestealers need to slaughter their armored foes before they complete their mission. Outside of these narratives, players can battle in skirmishes against the AI or face other players in competitive multiplayer. I played match against a developer using the Blood Angels while he chose the Genestealers. My objective was to reach a room in order to scorch it with a flamethrower. Only one of my units could perform this task so I had to escort him to the point safely. Players position units or attack adversaries by spending Action Points. Characters have a limited amount of these points, so it’s important to plan ahead for obstacles such as locked doors or surprise enemy spawns. Units fill a specific roles such as Medics, Librarians (psychic-powered mystics), or Assaults, and can use staple genre abilities such as overwatch in addition to their class abilities. Genestealers, whose ranks include powerful Broodlords and nimble Reaperfexes, are placed at spawn points and swarm their prey in waves. Since the opponent can’t see where Genestealers get positioned, savvy players can set up surprise ambushes. Genestealers can even place decoys to throw off the other player. A new card system offers another strategic twist. Equipping units with cards bestows powerful abilities and bonuses. For example, a card may award more points for killing certain enemy types or deal extra melee damage. Tactics features over 80 cards to collect, each one playing a substantial role in combat and tactical decision-making. Cards can also be destroyed in exchange for extra action points for Marines or to summon new units for Genestealers. I like the strategy and flexibility of gaining more actions by sacrificing an ability I may not need in the moment. A first-person option is one of the game’s coolest features. Hitting a button causes the view to shift from a standard top-down angle to witnessing the action from the character’s perspective. Not only does this look neat, but it helps with lining up attacks more accurately or to better identify environmental elements. When playing competitively players can control four chapters (basically factions) of Space Marines: Blood Angels, Space Wolves, Ultramarines, and Dark Angels. Squad customization allows for units to be modified by body part with various armor types and color schemes. With plenty of options at their disposal, players can create squads that suit their visual fancy. I also got a brief look at the mission editor. Players can craft their own levels to share with others online. The intuitive controls make it a cinch to construct corridors and place elements such as auto-turrets and other traps. Visual variations of each tile means stages can take on the gothic look of imperial ships or the metallic hodgepodge of orc vessels, among others. Players can assign multiple objectives to their missions, with Terminators and Genestealers having their own dedicated tasks. Admittedly, I’m not much of a Warhammer 40K fan. However, strategy games make my soul smile, and Space Hulk: Tactics strikes many of the right notes for the genre. I had a good time playing and could see myself getting into the experience despite having no affinity for the intricate lore. Look for the game on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One when it launches on October 9. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  5. The studio behind the Blood Bowl franchise, Cyanide Studio, has announced that they will be making a turn-based tactical game out of the classic Warhammer 40K board game. So, what's a space hulk? These behemoths are essentially giant lumps of stuff that have mashed together after travelling through Warhammer 40K's version of faster-than-light travel. They can be a single, massive ship or dozens of ships and asteroids all stuck together for untold millennia. They're typically twisted by the experience, leading many who enter space hulks to either never return or emerge changed for the worse. In particular, there are a race of being found in space hulks known as Genestealers who can pose an existential threat to any being they encounter. Space Hulk was first adapted to video games back in 1993, received another game in 1995, and then sat dormant for over a decade until the release of the tactical indie game Space Hulk in 2013. Since that initial heart beat, we received Space Hulk: Deathwing in 2016 which abandoned tactics to focus on frantic FPS gameplay. Now it seems that Cyanide Studio wants to bring the series back to its tactical roots. Space Hulk: Tactics will house two campaigns from opposing sides. Players can choose between playing as the Terminator Space Marines tasked with exploring and cleansing an enigmatic space hulk or as the Genestealers attempting to wipe out the intruders into their domain. Cyanide Studio has said that both campaigns will have a heavy focus on narrative; I'm not sure how that will work on the Genestealer side, but I'm interested in finding out. The big addition to Space Hulk: Tactics is adapting the board game with the addition of cards that help to customize and upgrade your soldiers prior to each mission or match. They'll help players survive and possibly turn the tide of battle in a moment of desperation. There will also be an online competitive multiplayer mode, a map creation tool, and the ability to share maps online. Space Hulk: Tactics will release sometime in 2018 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. For those of you itching for more info, publisher Focus Home Interactive will be holding a press conference later this month to discuss the title at length. View full article
  6. The studio behind the Blood Bowl franchise, Cyanide Studio, has announced that they will be making a turn-based tactical game out of the classic Warhammer 40K board game. So, what's a space hulk? These behemoths are essentially giant lumps of stuff that have mashed together after travelling through Warhammer 40K's version of faster-than-light travel. They can be a single, massive ship or dozens of ships and asteroids all stuck together for untold millennia. They're typically twisted by the experience, leading many who enter space hulks to either never return or emerge changed for the worse. In particular, there are a race of being found in space hulks known as Genestealers who can pose an existential threat to any being they encounter. Space Hulk was first adapted to video games back in 1993, received another game in 1995, and then sat dormant for over a decade until the release of the tactical indie game Space Hulk in 2013. Since that initial heart beat, we received Space Hulk: Deathwing in 2016 which abandoned tactics to focus on frantic FPS gameplay. Now it seems that Cyanide Studio wants to bring the series back to its tactical roots. Space Hulk: Tactics will house two campaigns from opposing sides. Players can choose between playing as the Terminator Space Marines tasked with exploring and cleansing an enigmatic space hulk or as the Genestealers attempting to wipe out the intruders into their domain. Cyanide Studio has said that both campaigns will have a heavy focus on narrative; I'm not sure how that will work on the Genestealer side, but I'm interested in finding out. The big addition to Space Hulk: Tactics is adapting the board game with the addition of cards that help to customize and upgrade your soldiers prior to each mission or match. They'll help players survive and possibly turn the tide of battle in a moment of desperation. There will also be an online competitive multiplayer mode, a map creation tool, and the ability to share maps online. Space Hulk: Tactics will release sometime in 2018 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. For those of you itching for more info, publisher Focus Home Interactive will be holding a press conference later this month to discuss the title at length.
  7. After more than a decade, Warhammer 40K returns to the first-person shooter genre. Space Hulk: Deathwing represents the first FPS title since 2003’s Warhammer 40,000: Fire Warrior on PC and PlayStation 2. I had the chance to sit down and see a live demo in action. Over the course of a 15-hour campaign, players will venture into the Space Hulk, a mass of asteroids and abandoned spacecraft. The campaign teams players up with up to three friends or AI companions to explore the dangerous bowels of the Space Hulk known as Olethros. Deathwing puts players in the colossal frame of a Librarian, a space marine uniquely gifted with psychic abilities. On their journey through the various ships and asteroids that compose the hulk, players will discover new weapons and unlock new abilities to use in combat, like a 360-degree force push or the ability to discharge chain lightning. As our Librarian and his crew of AI teammates began exploring a black templar warship inside the Space Hulk, a screech echoed through the halls. “That scream indicates that we're probably about to have our first encounter with the alien Genestealers,” Focus Home Interactive’s representative explained, “You'll notice right away that these alien Genestealers fall pretty quickly under a hail of Storm Bolter fire. Instead of defense, they specialize in swarming in huge groups; surrounding your squad; and attacking with powerful melee attacks. If you catch them alone or force them into a choke point they shouldn't be too difficult to deal with.” As players progress through their encounters with Genestealers, they will begin to notice that the AI that governs their behavior leads to unpredictable behavior. If a Genestealer notices players in the distance it may run to alert its companions or, if it is close enough, it will alert the swarm and attack. Additionally, if players encounter a huge group directly, the swarm might break off into two groups and attempt to pincer the players from various directions. Space Hulk: Deathwing obviously derives its series name from the popular Warhammer 40K Space Hulk board game. Streum On Studio has tried to take the spirit of the board game and translate it into video game form. “We've incorporated gameplay elements that made the board game unique,” said the studio’s reps, “The most useful of these is the idea that you have to try and control the flow of the swarm of Genestealers. This is an enemy that's almost unlimited in number. You'll never going to be able to defeat them all. Instead, this is a game of controlling risks. So one of the ways you can do this is sealing entrances. This helps to stop the Genestealer tide.” Occasionally, players might discover shortcuts to their objective locations, but those shortcuts might come with the price of a harder final confrontation as Genestealers swarm through additional openings. Each mission takes place aboard a different ship and will require players to carefully consider their options while they have the opportunity between skirmishes. Exploring off of the main objective path can reveal new items, paths, and secrets, but also proves to be a very dangerous endeavor. The ships the Librarians explore were lost to both time and space for an unfathomably long time, but some ship defense systems might remain online. These can be hazardous to players, but can also prove to be useful if they are preserved and hacked. If reprogrammed to target Genestealers, they could turn the tide in battle at a key moment. Between missions, players will have to properly equip and prepare their team of Dark Angel Terminators to face the hordes of Olethros and solve the mysteries it holds. “The important thing to note in battle,” explained the demonstrator as Genestealers swarmed around, “is that you're going to take damage which is localized to wherever you get hit on your body. Different parts of your power armor have their own hit box. What this means is if you get attacked too much on the right arm, say, you won't be able to effectively use whatever weapon you have equipped there. Another way is if you get attacked too much by a swarm of Genestealers attacking at your legs, you may not be able to move as quickly or sprint.” Genestealers tend to be melee opponents, though there are ranged varieties as well. The larger Genestealers are also heavily armored. To that end, melee combat is important in prolonged battles against their kind. Players will have access to weapons like force swords or axes that can more easily penetrate armor and can be used to parry incoming melee attacks. Overall, I quite enjoyed the tactical, measured aspects of Deathwing’s FPS action. The more deliberate approach and pace seems well suited to hulking, armored space marines. The AI lends an aspect of enjoyable unpredictability to combat that I can only imagine increases with the fun chaos of human companions. Many Warhammer 40K games seem to be a bit off-putting to those who aren’t already invested in the franchise, but Deathwing might be the most accessible the franchise has been in a long while. Space Hulk: Deathwing releases later in 2016 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. View full article
  8. After more than a decade, Warhammer 40K returns to the first-person shooter genre. Space Hulk: Deathwing represents the first FPS title since 2003’s Warhammer 40,000: Fire Warrior on PC and PlayStation 2. I had the chance to sit down and see a live demo in action. Over the course of a 15-hour campaign, players will venture into the Space Hulk, a mass of asteroids and abandoned spacecraft. The campaign teams players up with up to three friends or AI companions to explore the dangerous bowels of the Space Hulk known as Olethros. Deathwing puts players in the colossal frame of a Librarian, a space marine uniquely gifted with psychic abilities. On their journey through the various ships and asteroids that compose the hulk, players will discover new weapons and unlock new abilities to use in combat, like a 360-degree force push or the ability to discharge chain lightning. As our Librarian and his crew of AI teammates began exploring a black templar warship inside the Space Hulk, a screech echoed through the halls. “That scream indicates that we're probably about to have our first encounter with the alien Genestealers,” Focus Home Interactive’s representative explained, “You'll notice right away that these alien Genestealers fall pretty quickly under a hail of Storm Bolter fire. Instead of defense, they specialize in swarming in huge groups; surrounding your squad; and attacking with powerful melee attacks. If you catch them alone or force them into a choke point they shouldn't be too difficult to deal with.” As players progress through their encounters with Genestealers, they will begin to notice that the AI that governs their behavior leads to unpredictable behavior. If a Genestealer notices players in the distance it may run to alert its companions or, if it is close enough, it will alert the swarm and attack. Additionally, if players encounter a huge group directly, the swarm might break off into two groups and attempt to pincer the players from various directions. Space Hulk: Deathwing obviously derives its series name from the popular Warhammer 40K Space Hulk board game. Streum On Studio has tried to take the spirit of the board game and translate it into video game form. “We've incorporated gameplay elements that made the board game unique,” said the studio’s reps, “The most useful of these is the idea that you have to try and control the flow of the swarm of Genestealers. This is an enemy that's almost unlimited in number. You'll never going to be able to defeat them all. Instead, this is a game of controlling risks. So one of the ways you can do this is sealing entrances. This helps to stop the Genestealer tide.” Occasionally, players might discover shortcuts to their objective locations, but those shortcuts might come with the price of a harder final confrontation as Genestealers swarm through additional openings. Each mission takes place aboard a different ship and will require players to carefully consider their options while they have the opportunity between skirmishes. Exploring off of the main objective path can reveal new items, paths, and secrets, but also proves to be a very dangerous endeavor. The ships the Librarians explore were lost to both time and space for an unfathomably long time, but some ship defense systems might remain online. These can be hazardous to players, but can also prove to be useful if they are preserved and hacked. If reprogrammed to target Genestealers, they could turn the tide in battle at a key moment. Between missions, players will have to properly equip and prepare their team of Dark Angel Terminators to face the hordes of Olethros and solve the mysteries it holds. “The important thing to note in battle,” explained the demonstrator as Genestealers swarmed around, “is that you're going to take damage which is localized to wherever you get hit on your body. Different parts of your power armor have their own hit box. What this means is if you get attacked too much on the right arm, say, you won't be able to effectively use whatever weapon you have equipped there. Another way is if you get attacked too much by a swarm of Genestealers attacking at your legs, you may not be able to move as quickly or sprint.” Genestealers tend to be melee opponents, though there are ranged varieties as well. The larger Genestealers are also heavily armored. To that end, melee combat is important in prolonged battles against their kind. Players will have access to weapons like force swords or axes that can more easily penetrate armor and can be used to parry incoming melee attacks. Overall, I quite enjoyed the tactical, measured aspects of Deathwing’s FPS action. The more deliberate approach and pace seems well suited to hulking, armored space marines. The AI lends an aspect of enjoyable unpredictability to combat that I can only imagine increases with the fun chaos of human companions. Many Warhammer 40K games seem to be a bit off-putting to those who aren’t already invested in the franchise, but Deathwing might be the most accessible the franchise has been in a long while. Space Hulk: Deathwing releases later in 2016 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
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