Warhammer 40K: Eternal Crusade – Review
Warhammer 40K is one of those brands that seems to take pleasure in handing out its creative license to any developer that can produce a ‘hello world’. It completely makes sense why this occurs. The fan base is loyal and can’t seem to get enough of the franchise no matter what form it is. This isn’t an indicator that there aren’t any impressive games that fly under this banner though, the Dawn of War series is solid proof that there are indeed some diamonds amongst the dirt here. But make no mistake … there’s a lot of dirt. And after a bunch of hours with Eternal Crusade, I can honestly say it rightfully belongs in that category.
Eternal Crusade is essentially an online, PvP, third-person team shooter. You and your team, battle to control various capture points in what is akin to a domination style gameplay mechanic, whether it be your team defending or attacking said capture points. The game allows you to choose what race you wish to be as well as make adjustments to your appearance and weapons load out, all of which stay true to the lore and will definitely resonate with its fans.
On paper, this all sounds wonderful! Images of Space Marines charging fearlessly, head first into battle against an opposing team can sell this game alone, and if you’ve seen some of the available trailers, you’d easily be fooled into thinking this is exactly what you’ll get. Hopefully, though, you decided to read this review first before jumping the gun and spending your hard earned cash on this title, because the verdict is in, and it’s not good at all.
Let’s start with the combat or lack thereof. You can choose a number of classes and load outs but regardless of which one you pick you should probably get used to dying a lot. The problem is that you can upgrade your character with upgraded trinkets and weapons, not too dissimilar to the Battlefield or Call of Duty series. But unlike those two examples, it’s completely unbalanced. You’ll find that unloading an entire clip into a charging enemy will have virtually no effect and you’ll simply die to one swing of their glowing power axe of doom, or easily be taken out from a distance by a better gun. Sadly this won’t just happen once, it’ll happen repeatedly. The only time I was able to score some kills and actually feel relevant was when team’s numbers were completely overwhelming a handful of opposition.
Tragically things get worse. You’ll often find that you’ll get taken down from someone off camera by surprise. It took me a few games to figure out why, but when I was run over by a tank it dawned on me that the in-game sound gives you no indication of a nearby foe. So unless you’re keeping an extremely watchful eye on your radar tanks could be considered a stealth option in this game. This poorly thought out design leads to tactics such as players hiding behind corners to sneakily get that drop on you. This strategy never fails to make my eyes roll.
Aiming is beyond a nightmare, as your crosshair seems to have a complete mind of its own. It’s almost like it thinks you’re playing on a console and it’s trying (albeit poorly) to help you auto-aim. Combat simply felt like a button mash or spam fest, and even if you win it feels almost lucky and lacks any intrinsic reward. In this day and age of online competitive gaming, it’s simply not good enough and there are countless examples of other games having done a better job.
The net code is utterly abysmal. It occurred to me early that I wasn’t playing on anything that resembled a local server, but even with a 90ms ping, it was not uncommon for players to be warping all over the place and making life difficult to even move around the map. During my time with this game I had multiple drop outs, including the time I attempted to do the tutorial, and at this stage of its development there is no option to reconnect, you simply need to re-queue and start all over again.
Often when you play a game you don’t connect with, one could objectively find elements that might appeal to others, whether they be fans or simply have different taste to yourself. But with Eternal Crusade, I’m completely lost. The gameplay is simply dull and lacks strategy. Overwhelming your team with sheer numbers is the only effective tactic I saw and it simply reeks of rushed game design that lacks any sort of vision. There’s simply not much here to remotely warrant its asking price or any price at all for that matter.
The only person(s) who would honestly want this game are die-hard fans of the Warhammer 40K franchise who simply can’t get enough, and perhaps for those people there is something to like about jumping into the shoes of your favourite class and live out the fantasy of being a Space Marine. But let’s also be honest, they’ve probably already bought it. It’s sad because games like the Dawn of War series have shown that developers can take this name and truly make a fun and enjoyable gaming experience … Eternal Crusade is completely at the other end of this spectrum, save your money and wait for Dawn of War 3.
When he’s not crunching hours in the IT world, Adam is gaming on anything that takes his interest. With a keen eye for quality, Adam keeps his finger on the pulse on the eSports scene, mainly focussing MOBA, RTS and Fighters. Even though he loves the competitive scene’s of games, the best memories are always those gaming moments he shared with his friends as they always remind him that gaming can (and always should be) fun!