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Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team

Score: 75%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: THQ
Developer: THQ
Media: Download/1
Players: 1 - 4
Genre: Action/ Shooter

Graphics & Sound:

Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team is the Warhammer game I've always wanted, but never got. I've been a fan of the series since I was a teenager. Even after I figured out the actual game mechanics behind the tabletop game were beyond my patience, I still collected and painted the figures. Both Dawn of War games, and their expansions, rekindled that love, but were always based in strategy. I loved them, but all I really wanted was the chance to step into power armor.

I can't say for sure if Kill Team is sharing assets with Dawn of War, but it looks great. All of the details are there, which for me, is a big part of the experience. You're given four distinct Space Marines and, although custom paint jobs aren't an option, you can choose the change your unit's color scheme to match a particular Space Marine Chapter.

Kill Team takes place in one area, though there is a nice bit of variety. Each part of the ship is cobbled together from salvaged parts of other ships. As you look at the patchwork metal and cobbled together systems, you get a cool sense of history and the Ork's society. It is a wonder the ship is able to fly, not to mention a credible threat!

Music and sound are more filler. Everything sounds good and fits the game's mood, though nothing jumps out.


Gameplay:

Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team has more in common with top-down shooters than it does an RTS. The setup is simple: An Ork Kroozer is headed for a populated human world. Rather than commit an entire fleet to downing one ship, the Empire instead inserts a four-man Kill Team - the Warhammer 40k equivalent of SEAL Team 6 - to shut the ship down and slaughter any Orks in their way.

Kill Team is all about the simple joys of gaming. It's a dual-stick shooter where you're able to bring down heavy firepower on hordes of weak-ish Orks. They won't lie down for you, but you'll at least feel powerful. Along the way, you'll come across power-ups. They aren't exactly Warhammer-canon, though it is always fun to get a double-shot to the already powerful bolt gun.

You can play as one of four classes as you tear through the ship. Each has their own weapon load-out and special ability, which charges as you mow down enemies. Each provides a different play experience. For example, the Librarian is a great melee fighter, while the heavy gunner lugs a giant chain gun perfect for ranged combat. Each gains experience points, as well as unlockable perks, providing incentive to replay each level multiple times.

The idea works, though Kill Team doesn't do a great job of making you want to play for long stretches. The action is great in short bursts, but doesn't offer enough variety to hold you for very long. There were times where I was more concerned with when the level was going to end rather than what it was going to throw at me next. Co-op play adds more to the experience, though you're limited to local play. Having someone on the couch is ideal, but not always an option, so the lack of online play is disappointing.


Difficulty:

It doesn't take very long to blast through Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team's campaign. Hours vary based on your class and how well you can adapt to its play-style, though you could probably complete the game over a long weekend. Each level provides its own unique challenges, which is welcome considering how flat the actual gameplay is, though I never came across something I couldn't tackle with smart use of my character's ability set. Knowing when to run and when to stand your ground also helps, as well as making sure you have enough grenades.

Bigger challenges are found in Survival, a series of challenges unlocked after completing each level. The idea isn't any more complicated than the title says; you are in a room shooting waves of Orks. It is fun, and gets really hard if you're up for the challenge, though you're still locked into the same gameplay as the Campaign, so mileage will vary.


Game Mechanics:

I really like the basic play mechanics behind Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team. It is a dual-stick shooter at heart, but with the added fun of a dungeon crawl. Levels are unique and fun to run through - even if you're just looking at the ever-changing scenery. Even melee attacks are controlled with the right stick. Other buttons come into play when you want to toss grenades or use your special ability, but other than that is a complete point-and-shoot game. It's good for what it is, but there's a lack of tactics. It is mindless fun, but never aspires to anything beyond.

Between levels, you can assign two unlockable "Perks." These offer added health, increased time on your special ability timer, and other enhancements. Like in-game power-ups, Perks offer some lower-level strategy. In-game power-ups do a better job, if only because they are limited in their use. Early on, I found two Perks and saw no reason to change them unless I found a more powerful version.

I liked Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team, though I think some of my affinity had more to do with my love of Warhammer in general, not because the game was presenting something unique or exciting. Warhammer fans, or anyone looking for a simple shooter, will enjoy Kill Team for as long as it lasts, though anyone looking for something deeper will be disappointed.


-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

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