Short and Sweet
I have never been exposed to the world of Warhammer and Warhammer 40K before, apart from seeing the tabletop game being played or knowing about Dawn of War. Yet, I always found the world appealing , more so than many other dystopian worlds, mainly due to the fact that the lore borrows and steals from all corners of mythology, religion, symbolism and so forth. Roman insignia, Greek mythology, the inquisition, it's all there to form a strange mix of future warfare and ancient mysticism. Yet, how much can I give Kudos for Games Workshop to create such a world ? Not much I suppose, so despite the visceral and grim setting, the game does not earn any marbles on this account.
The way the world is brought to life however is great. The level design of this game is amazing and while the layouts are just rail-shooter corridors, the architecture and world looks breathtakingly good and you find yourself in imposing cathedrals and dark tunnels. Unfortunately, many of the games most impressive levels/stages have you just running through them and I wonder why so many areas of this game are just empty and eye candy ?
Talking of battle, it is the core of the W40K game experience, mindless and brutal slashing and firing your weapon, I say mindless but you will have to make the odd decision as you can only carry four weapons. Yet, I completed the game in six hours and did not really put an awful lot of thought into it, this is by no means a game where you have to adapt your strategy before rushing into combat, a quick finger will do. But the visuals make combat more satisfying than it should be, orks and chaos troops fly through the air in the best 'Havok' fashion and it is a delight to observe.
The controls needs 30 minutes to get used to as this game is not a FPS per se but uses an over-the-shoulder kind of 3rd person look and as such, you should make good use of the aim button.
As I said before, the graphics make this game more enjoyable than the gameplay makes it in the first place, but that comes from someone who can run this on max settings, if you cannot run the game with all the bling, there is much less enjoyment to be found here.
People complain about the lack of story and yes, there is not much of a story but not less story than in other recent shooters such as Dead Island, Borderlands or Left 4 Dead. There is bad guys and you will have to track them down, at least the game delivers a nice cliffhanger, but the lack of story is not that bad. It is a missed opportunity of course, considering how rich the world of W40K is (with hundreds of novels and RPG books out there) but they are probably saving the meat of the universe for the upcoming MMORPG.
The game only took me six hours to finish I did not enjoy it enough to play through it a second time so that is not a lot of bang for the buck, but if you are into achievements or multiplayer, there is still something left to do after you finished the game.
I enjoyed the game for what it is, a mind-numbing gore-fest of orc-slaying that is over before you can say 'Waaaagh', but I would not go back to it anytime soon.