Warhammer: Chaosbane (Xbox One – Inital impressions)

There’s a point where genres reach a pinnacle. You can’t see what’s next and lofty ambitions of revitalising whatever mechanics are present find themselves lost to the clouds. When it comes to Warhammer: Chaosbane, it feels like we’ve seen it all.
As your typical Diablo clone, you’ll run about and kill enemies in swathes until you progress to the next area and do it all again. What sets Chaosbane apart from Diablo is a distinct lack of character in its enemies. Villains come and go without much of an impact and general fodder is just that. It’s hard to point out any distinct moments in between the button bashing where I ever felt threatened, let alone stopped to ask one of the fallen monster’s name.

Just like the enemies, the story is currently forgettable. Without cutscenes and big set pieces, the world falls flat. It’s bitterly disappointing considering just how rich the Warhammer universe is in lore. I’d grown up painting and playing with things like the Skaven and The Undead to be met with tropey Elves and humans. Why can’t I play as a rat-man or slowly decaying necromancer? Christ, why can I not see any Lizardmen or Orcs in the first few chapters? It might be a story about the Empire of Men, but I really hoped for more in the earlier chapters.

Even if you are caught up in Warhammer: Chaosbane, there’s very little to keep you going. You start off feeling strong and you only get stronger. In the first few hours I’d already reach the halfway point and had rarely even paid attention to what button I was holding, never mind fully utilising the vast number of skills of offer. This was partly due to the levelling system and the accompanying powers were woefully under explained and the menus being a general eyesore when playing splitscreen with a friend.

The general ethos seems to be that you should instinctively know how everything functions and where to look, heavily relying on you having played numerous other games of the same ilk – which I have. The thing is, if you had played any other similar titles, from Path of Exile to Victor Vrann or even Diablo 3, you’d probably have returned to them. Swiftly. There’s literally no selling point beyond the core focus of Warhammer: Chaos being that it’s a Warhammer game.

I came to Chaosbane expecting something new, something interesting, and I was met with a drab and soulless attempt to make a quick buck off the bac of a notable franchise. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, in fact how could I when Path of Exile is free and Diablo 3 continues to impress with its seasonal updates. I didn’t want to dislike Chaosbane, in fact I had high hopes of reliving a forgotten hobby of my youth, instead I am walking away disheartened and deflated.  

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