by Quinn Levandoski
reviewed on PC
The Wolves are Out
As if people didn’t think I was a big enough nerd for spending my time writing video game reviews, two of my other biggest hobbies are tabletop roleplaying games and miniatures games. Despite the Warhammer universe being one of the biggest name in both of those hobbies, it’s not one that I have ever jumped into. Like many similar worlds, from Shadowrun to Dungeons and Dragons, it can seem intimidating. With more than a handful of video games releasing in the Warhammer 40k and Fantasy universes this year alone, I wouldn’t blame you for just shrugging and ignoring it all together in an act of pure lore convenience. Luckily, as it turns out, any of these games, including Space Wolf, is a great place to jump in that doesn’t require much outside knowledge to get into. Earlier this year I wrote an Early Access preview article about Warhammer 40k: Space Wolf, and I came away impressed with how much fun I was already having with what content was available. Now the game’s out in full, and it’s time to see if this card and turn based brawler was able to live up to its early promise. You will notice much of the article hasn’t changed from my previous coverage as most of my comments still apply just as much now as they did in March.
Put Your Heart in the Cards
Combining two genres into a fairly unique package, Space Wolf combines turn-based strategy (think XCOM) with collectible card games. Much like many of its ilk, you will control a (usually four man) squad of big, nasty space marines as they fight their way through enemy hordes (well, more like small groups) one turn at a time to reach their objective. The twist comes in the fact that you can’t do whatever you’d like at any given time. Instead, as the missions play out, you will be using and drawing cards that are played and discarded in order to shoot, move, and perform other actions. While you will have to do well on the main missions to level up and progress, you’ll also get the option to run side missions with a number of bonus objectives at your leisure. I actually really like the system, and it, combined with the square grid movement and percentage based success, makes the game play like a board game, which I found incredibly fun.
Unlocking new cards and managing your decks, which you will have one of for each of the three armor classes you can wear, is the main system of progression in Space Wolf. From what I’ve heard, and I will admit this is hearsay as I’ve never played the mobile original, this is where micro transactions came in. Fortunately this time around they have been left out, which is great. I was worried when I saw an in game currency and the option to craft random cards with weighted rarity, but in practice I’ve found the system to be effectively self-contained, and the pacing satisfactory. There are a ton more cards to unlock now than back in Early Access, and you can now also unlock armor perks for each class. I was worried that these options would leave me wanting, which was only partially true. I was able to open 28 booster packs at the start of my play, and I did receive quite a number of duplicates (including among rarer cards). While this may be concerning to some, I appreciate that I will get to play with the more powerful cards sooner than later, and I’m ok with the idea of more being added via DLC at a later time.
Easy to jump into for newcomers to the Warhammer universe, satisfying mix of combat and collectible card genres, in-game currency isn’t too grindy.
The checkpoints are still spaced too far away.