Space Hulk: Deathwing BETA off to a rocky start

Growing up a big fan of Warhammer and 40K, I was very curious to see what developer Streum On Studio (Technomancer) was going to deliver with their FPS version of Space Hulk. The source material of this tabletop game seemed perfect for providing a very Aliens-like experiences of Marines (with swords and magic!) vs Xenomorphs (Tyranid).

pu3def184ad8f4755ff269862ea77393dd-1453483595-9821630-screenshot-original

This looks awesome

Streum On Studio also released the intriguingly ambitious E.Y.E: Divine Cybermancy, that combined cyberpunk and magic for a unique FPS/RPG hybrid. The game struggled to match its own ambition but still won over a dedicated (if small) fanbase. To see Streum On get another chance at a similar world with a much narrower scope seemed like a match made in heaven (they even referenced 40K when describing E.Y.E.).

Installing the beta and running through the tutorial revealed that the game did indeed have a compelling atmosphere and expressed the feel of its universe very well. I truly felt like a Space Marine Terminator stomping around with with my trusty chainsword. However, the multiplayer experience is currently in rough shape. While trying unsuccessfully to join an online game, I hopped over to their Steam Community Hub and was overwhelmed with what the devs are facing.

Here are a few of the user criticisms.

Runny Eggs:

“The whole user interace in this game is outdated by at least ten years. There is little differentiation between enemies, other than the tank. The combat is haphazard and outside of spamming guns into the darkness it has very little feel. The gameplay is simply boring and uninspired. There is no permanent progression, and each class gets a choice of two (maybe three) weapons.

Not to mention the techincal issues, of which there are many. Long load times, constant FPS drops on any setting above “Low” Disconnects, crashes. I forgive the usage of placeholder textures as this is a beta.

I have 692 hours in Vermintide and 1000+ in PAYDAY 2. I am not new to the 4p co-op scene, in fact it is my preferred genre. Please know that it is with a heavy heart I tell you to get out now and refund immediately. I have had this game pre-ordered since November 4th, subscribed to the subreddit, and consumed every trailer and gameplay link ravenously.

It just isn’t good. It isn’t even $15 good. It’s an utter disappointment to us 4p co-op players who were hoping this was our 2016 Q4 title.”

 

Imperator:

“Game needs permanent level system for multiplayer.
Resetting all your levels with every game is just atrocius. ”

There’s positive feedback as well, but the majority of posts on the page currently are negative.

We must keep in mind this is the first day of the BETA that’s subject to completely change, and that the single player tutorial worked well enough, but this isn’t a game that’s months away. It’s releasing December 9th. Two weeks from now.

Perhaps Streum On is deep in optimization and will launch a perfectly playable final product, but so far it’s looking like much more tweaking is needed.

There’s a voracious community of both Warhammer and four-player-coop fans eager to hop into this world. One user even started a thread asking which food everyone was planning for launch day.

“I’m going to have a chinese (sweet and sour chicken balls, although if anyone has any reccommendations? Getting a bit tired of them)

A cup (or two) of hot cocoa

And some Belinda Carlisle blaring in the background, Hot stuff.”

 

We’ve seen with Evolve that promising multiplayer games can quickly die if they get off to a rocky start. Gamer’s are unlikely to give a second chance even if a myriad of improvements have been made (good luck No Man’s Sky). 

Have you followed any games with rough betas that turned it around? I’d love to hear about it.

 

spacehulk-pre-order

 

  • Chris Sinclair

    Well for one it’s just a beta to test some of the weapons and gear. It will have progression eventually but since it only has one map to test on what do you expect? This is a BETA not a release candidate. It’s basically a taste of whats to come so you can test general frame rates and internet speeds, etc. Relax wait until the real version comes out.

    • Mathew Falvai

      Hey Chris, thanks for chiming in. I’m hopeful the game figures it’s bugs out and that the final product is much better than the beta. The focus of my opinion was that the release is just two weeks away. Perhaps this beta is actually a much older build and what they’re polishing up is much further ahead,

      Testing weapons and gear is one thing, but many users are complaining of severe performance issues and crashing.

      If you were able to successly log on I’d be interested to hear how the performance was for you and what specs you are running.

      Cheers

  • Andy

    It is very hard to judge on this BETA alone. Game-play is fun so far but as mentioned there is not much variation in enemies you face. The “feel” of the game is promising, as you say you do feel like a Terminator, although surely Terminator armour can withstand more punishment than the current rate of damage you sustain in-game.

    Controls are a bit buggy, for example being an Apothecary is very frustrating; pressing the “1” key repeatedly until it finally heals an ally (while they stare at you in disgust haha). The interface could also be more user friendly.

    It is just the BETA however, and I will be waiting for the final product; which at £25 isn’t exactly the PS4 £40 standard for a new game. I am a massive fan of the 40k and Horus Heresy Warhammer universes and want this game to be epic, and personally don’t mind waiting for them to review feedback and improve as and when needed.

    • Mathew Falvai

      This mid-tier and indie levels of game development are fascinating. Developers at those budget levels are able to produce slick looking games but need to be wary of shooting too high and not being able to polish everything to good working order. Performance issues are a killer and UI is the first impression, both critical to success.

      I’m with you in waiting for the product to be fully realized but would rather they delay the launch until it’s fully ready. Games live or die on pre-orders and the first few weeks of sales. A poor launch will attach a foul smell to the game that makes it very tough to get people to come back.

      Best case scenario is that the beta is a much older build than we think and they’re humming along nicely to the finish line.

      Sounds like you’ve been able to play the multiplayer beta, what’s your rig like and where are you connecting from? Attempting to join a quick match has crashed my computer each time.

      • Andy

        I am connecting from the UK (North West).

        My rig is GTX 1080, I7-6700K, 32GB RAM. Frame-rate still poor however.

        My playing time has been hit and miss (probably more miss to be honest haha), but have had a few full runs without any crashes. The most annoying part is having to level up all over again, which sadly is gonna be sticking around for the full release, they should definitely change that. A complex levelling system is a must for online play, gives players something to aim towards and a feeling of achievement.

        • Mathew Falvai

          Nice rig, with that much ram you could run a few separate copies of the game yourself.

          I’d rather see no leveling up in a game like this. If elite terminators are storming a space hulk to destroy a threat, I don’t imagine them learning anything along the way. Unless seeing a good friend die in battle causes a real life-change and the terminator raises his wisdom, but loses optimism as a result.

          Aesthetic-only upgrades are a fun way to engage long-term play without affecting the balance of the game as well. I think Overwatch and the like do it best, keep everyone on the same playing field no matter how long you’ve played.

  • Ian Urquhart

    Found this game in july. it’s hard as nails and scratches that Spacehulk/Aliens coop feel I’ve always wanted. Problem is nobody knows about. So here I am. Deathwing looks ok to be honest but this game is half the price and will 100% melt your face right off. SPACE BEAST TERROR FRIGHT

    It’s also 4 player splitscreen so that’s a bonus too. Seriously go buy it.

    http://store.steampowered.com/app/357330

    • Mathew Falvai

      Very interesting. It’s early access with local coop only so far?

      • Ian Urquhart

        Has online coop, LAN coop, and local splitscreen. And yes early access but it feels very polished in its current state.Ive got 60hrs plays in the last two week alone.

      • Ian Urquhart

        For further clarification. The trailer is pretty old so some elements ts look better in the current build. The game is developed by one person.

  • Joshua

    “I truly felt like a Space Marine Terminator stomping around with with my trusty chainsword.”

    Lol I bet you did.

    I don’t think the “BETA” is as “rough” as people say. There are plenty of opinions on what the game should be, such as the two quotes you picked from the Steam forum suggesting the game would be better with permanent progression. That’s their opinion.

    Subjective issues aside the only things I’ve noticed either from actually playing the game or reading the comments in the forum, is the problems with crashing and performance (both network and system), and when you work around the crashing and finish the mission you get to see what the game is actually offering you (well attempting to) and I’m excited for the full release and hoping they iron things out before launch and follow up with regular and quick patches to address balance concerns and other generally agreed subjective issues such as the GUI.

    • Mathew Falvai

      I fully agree the “truly” line was cheesy and just one step above saying “literally”, although i was un-truly cosplaying in my terminator underwear at the time.

      I’m not personally a fan of progression that affects gameplay and I don’t feel the game needs any kind of leveling up. It feels more like one-off missions of elite soldiers hunting dangerous prey, no progression needed.

      I couldn’t get the multiplayer to load, but from the few streams I’ve seen and comments it seems like performance is criticized and general gameplay is lacking dynamics.

      I’m rooting for the final release to optimize the fuck out of the experience and please the fans waiting for a killer space hulk experience.

      • Joshua

        Sorry no, I found your Terminator fantasy funny because in it you brandished a chainsword which isn’t a lore friendly statement.

        No I’m not a fan of that sort of progression either. At least not lengthier than what you would find in CS or a MOBA.

        Anywho I’ve seen a lot of comments about the game criticizing its gameplay but they all seem to generally not have had a very lengthy play session because of the crashes.

        I’m perfectly happy to have someone say “the progression sucks” or something else but I don’t take any of their comments on gameplay seriously because we dont have access to half the game and they haven’t seemed to have time to ‘bite down’ on the game.

        I still believe my original comment though. They will polish out the crashing and give everyone all their toys and the whole picture will come together nicely… for most people anyway.

  • Justin Steele

    I’ve been really looking forward to this game, and even bought a better graphics card so my rig could handle it. Unfortunately, the beta is a mess. I’m not worried about it’s lack of content, or progression, as I’m sure plenty of that is incoming. My issues are with the performance.

    Loading times are ridiculously bad, and once in a game it doesn’t seem to warrant the loading time at all. Framerate drop occurs a lot, and crashes are rampant. This post pretty much summed up the worries I shared with friends. If this was an early Beta I would understand more, but since the game is two weeks out from launch I’m worried that most of the game’s problems won’t be fixed by then, and I have a feeling release is going to be a bomb. As Matthew indicated, this is a big deal. A bad launch is a game killer. Some games recover from a bad launch, and end up building a dedicated fan base, but if the Beta is any indication of what to expect then this game will be a bomb. And trust me, I am really hoping that is not the case, as my friends and I have been eagerly awaiting this one since we first heard about it (4 player co-ops are our favorite games, and we all used to play 40k tabletop so are big fans of the setting.)

    Fingers crossed.

    • Mathew Falvai

      Which GPU did you end up with Justin? I’ve finally gotten back into pc gaming with a modest 960 and have been happy with its performance (all those years of console gaming have softened my soul)

      Any 4p-coop games your group can recommend?

      • Justin Steele

        I picked up a GTX 1060, Superclocked gaming edition. Pretty sweet card for the price. We used to play a ton of Left 4 Dead 2, quite a bit of Vermintide, Killing Floor, a little Killing Floor 2. We are very much hoping the Deathwing beta is a fluke, but I have a bad feeling about the release.

        Either 1.) This beta is indicative of how it will be at launch, which means it will be a disaster or 2.) The beta is an early build they put out now as a teaser, but if it’s such an early, messy build then I don’t understand what they hoped to gain from releasing it two weeks before the game, since all the Beta will do is drive away some players. That’s why I feel like 1. makes more sense, but that’s no good either.

  • Tony Gimli Perry

    The problem i have with everyone’s scathing remarks is this, it’s a BETA test, a proof-of-concept as it were, yet everyones treating it as if it were No Man’s Sky, it’s not optimised, smoothed or even ready for any sort of true review, all available info is vastly different from what’s actually available and once it’s released in full, it will be optimised, which will remove MOST graphics issues, and hell even blockbuster titles are shitty to start with then the community comes together and fixes it. Let’s not nail the casket shut before it’s even built

    • Mathew Falvai

      You might be the man to ask Tony. I mentioned earlier that I don’t have a ton of experience with poorly performing betas, and was hoping someone could provide any similar cases, especially in which the final product was vastly improved in such a small amount of time.

      I can only assume that this is a recent build, but since the closed beta took place a little earlier, the build could be much older.

  • Mathew Falvai

    This has been one of our most commented-on articles so I’m assuming there’s a sizeable group of Warhammer fans hoping this turns out great. I appreciate everyone sharing their thoughts and passion.

    I’ll be fascinated to see how the final release comes together.

207 More posts in Announcements category
Recommended for you
Call of Duty: WWII trailer goes back to basics and away from innovation

After Infinite Warfare's less-than-stellar reception, it's no surprise to see the franchise going back to its roots...