Warhammer: Chaosbane
Gameplay 7
Graphics 8
Sound 7

Warhammer: Chaosbane is an isometric action role playing game that is set in the Warhammer Fantasy Battles Universe. It offers four diverse characters to play with and also allows players to join up three other friends either locally or online. The game is really enjoyable, but a bit rough in places, especially in terms of variety and loot. It is fun while it lasts, but currently the amount of end-game content that is available is not as good as it could have been. Hopefully future updates to the game will continue to build on its solid base, but until then it is bound to disappoint some players who expected more depth as well as variety.

Gameplay: Great selection of characters and plenty of skills to use on hordes of enemies.

Graphics: Very detailed, but it doesn’t take long to see everything the game has to offer.

Sound: Decent music, but some of the voices could have been much better

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Warhammer: Chaosbane

Developer: Eko Software | Publisher: Bigben Interactive | Release Date: 2019 | Genre: Action / Adventure / RPG | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

If there is one thing that the Warhammer license is synonymous with it’s conflict, so it’s no surprise that you will find plenty of it in Chaosbane. The game opens with the Empire of Man beating back the invading hordes and defeating the Chaos leader, thanks to Magnus the Pious. It’s supposed to be a time of peace, but Chaos strikes again and Magnus is left in a magical coma after a sneak attack in the dead of the night. It will obviously not be good for morale if the ordinary people discover that the hero of the war has been struck down before even getting the chance to become emperor, so it is up to you to help set things straight. Along with High Elf Loremaster Teclis and Witchhunter Vos, you will need to uncover who was behind the attack and what their motives are in order to cure Magnus before it is too late. Fortunately, since this is a Warhammer game, the answer to all the questions is always violence.

Chaosbane is actually the first ever hack and slash action role playing game to use the Warhammer Fantasy world as its setting, so to say that expectations were high would be an understatement. Before getting on with the task of exterminating everything in sight, players get to choose which character they want to use for the bloody task. There are four characters on offer and it is great to see that each one of them are very unique. Players who prefer dealing damage from a distance can opt for Elessa, the Wood Elf who specializes in traps and summons while keeping enemies at bay with her bow. For the more magically inclined there is Elontir, the High Elf Mage who can cast all manner of deadly spells at foes. Of course, for those who relish close quarters combat, there is also Bragi Axebiter, the Dwarf Slayer and Konrad Vollen, a soldier for the Empire. The characters all have a very unique feel and style to them, so Chaosbane is definitely the type of ARPG that you will want to complete multiple times to try out all of them.

To keep things interesting, Chaosbane offers a unique skill tree for each of the four characters and even within that three you can choose from different specializations, depending on your playing style. For example, when playing as Elessa, some players might select skills that allow her to specialize in summoning dryads to do her dirty work while increasing her chances of turning fallen enemies into more dryads. Alternatively, players can focus on her skills that deal with setting traps for enemies instead. Since the game can be played with up to three other players either locally or online, you can also focus on skills that are useful to your team instead of opting for a purely solo build. Each of the skills you unlock, both active and passive, can also be upgraded up to three times to make them more potent. It is impossible to get everything on the skill tree for one character, so it is better to specialize in something than to be weak in everything. Making your way up the skill tree not only requires skill points, but also items called fragments that can be looted or earned. These same fragments can be used to bless equipment, so you need to decide very carefully when and where to spend them. It sounds convoluted, but soon becomes second nature.

Since Chaosbane is an action RPG, the focus is very much on killing things, collecting loot and not much else. You won’t find any puzzles to solve and the locals are not very talkative either. Instead, each area of the game has a central hub where you speak to someone in charge for your next quest or talk to a vendor to get rid of gear or exchange fragments. Thankfully, the combat in Choasbane is quite fun, albeit a little chaotic if played with other players on the same screen. There are more than 70 monsters that are ready to hurl themselves at you, with each act featuring servants of a different Chaos god. Combat is fast paced and in addition to you primary and secondary attacks, you can use hot-keys to activate skills. Each character also has an archetype skill, so the Wood Elf can dodge and roll for example while the High Elf Mage can take direct control of his projectiles. Finally, all the characters can also activate “bloodlust” for a limited time if they collect enough orbs from defeated enemies. Bloodlust attacks are devastating, but best saved for when you are really in trouble as they don’t last very long.

Although normal enemies tend to simply run headlong at players, the boss battles are an entirely different matter. It’s a pity that there are only four major bosses to take down as each battle takes a bit more skill and tactics than the typical enemy mobs that simply try and overwhelm you with numbers. Each of the bosses have three different health bars, with different attacks for each one, so you have to be quick or you’ll end up as a smear on the floor. Speaking of dying, if this happens during a level you can return from the dead at the cost of some gold or fragments, but if you bite the dust during a boss fight, then it’s back to the start of the battle. Don’t think that you can horde thousands of health potions either as you are only given one that slowly recharges after each use.

Visually, Chaosbane is a good looking title, although it is rather lacking in options compared to what PC players are accustomed to. The various locations, such as the streets of Praag, sewers of Nuln, and frozen wastes of Norsca are superbly detailed, but unfortunately they also feel a little lifeless. It is wonderful to see all the small touches on each map, but unfortunately the game makes use of a very limited tile-set, which means it quickly begins to feel like you are exploring the same maps over and over. The maps are also all very static, so you won’t see any trees swaying in the breeze or even your own footsteps as you traverse snow. In addition, the only destructible things on each level are some barrels or the occasional shrine/alter, which further contributes to the lifeless feel. The level design also seem to become worse the further you get in the game, with the final act consisting entirely of a series of linear corridors. Chaosbane is viewed entire from an overhead isometric perspective, but players have no control over the camera angle or level of zoom. We did however really like the lighting effects in the game as well as the superb looking bosses.

The audio is a bit uneven as the soundtrack by Chance Thomas is a really good fit for the game and the sound effects are good too. The voice acting on the other hand range from the very good to the very bad, with Elessa in particular being the biggest disappointment. In fact, there were certain points in the game where here lines were read by a completely different male actor, which makes it seem like the character was originally designed to be male and then hastily changed at some point. There are very few NPCs to talk to, but the ones you do encounter sound like they are performing in a theater play, which is not that unusual for a Warhammer game we suppose. The controls are fairly straightforward, but we really appreciated how easy it was to jump into a local co-op game by simply connecting gamepad and assigning them to players. Moving the characters around with an analog stick actually felt more intuitive than the pointing and clicking of the keyboard and mouse controls, but either method works fine.

In total, it took us about sixteen hours to complete the story mode as well as most of the end-game content. This includes maxing out our character level, getting full heroic gear, and choosing the maximum amount of nodes on the skill tree. We also tried out the activities that are unlocked after defeating the final boss. These include “Expeditions” which is good for co-op games on random maps as well as “Relic Hunts” which is basically the same thing, but with random modifiers to make things more challenging. There is a “Boss Rush” mode as well, which is nice, but somewhat limited with only four bosses. One of the things we really liked about Chaosbane is that it has a ton of difficulty options to choose from, and the higher you go the more gold and better loot becomes available, which gives players an incentive to challenge themselves. Unfortunately, none of the gear really changes the way you play in any significant way, so getting new loot is not as exciting as in other RPGs. The game also doesn’t feature any crafting and since there is only a limited amount of gear for each character, it doesnt’ take very long to get your hands on pretty much everything. This is really a pity as a big reason why players keep returning to these type of games is to grind for interesting new loot and gear. It wasn’t until late in the game that we even found any cool equipment that changed the look of our characters, which is also a bummer.

Overall, Chaosbane is a fun game, but also one that doesn’t feel like it is living up to its full potential. Like all action role playing games, it can become repetitive after a while, but without the rewards that typically make the grind worthwhile. It can still be addictive once you are hooked, but this is not a game for players in search of a deep story or meaningful quests. Chaosbane also doesn’t bring any real innovations to the genre and the linear maps could have benefited a bit more from some open areas or more reasons to explore. The developers will be releasing some new free updates to the game as well as DLC content, such as an entirely new act, so hopefully the game will continue to grow and built upon the things it does get right while smoothing out some of the rough edges. If you are a fan of Warhammer and enjoy isometric ARPGs, then there’s a few hours of fun to be had here, but don’t expect anything that blows other titles in the genre out of the water.

Review based on version 1.0 of game.

System Requirements

  • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • OS: 64bits version of Windows® 7, Windows® 8, Windows® 10
  • Processor: Intel® Core i3 or AMD Phenom™ II X3
  • Memory: 6 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 660 or AMD Radeon™ HD 7850 with 2 GB RAM
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Storage: 20 GB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectX Compatible Soundcard
  • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • OS: 64bits version of Windows® 7, Windows® 8, Windows® 10
  • Processor: Intel® Core i5 or AMD FX 8150
  • Memory: 6 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 780 or AMD Radeon™ R9 290 with 2 GB RAM
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Storage: 20 GB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectX Compatible Soundcard

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