WARHAMMER 40,000 FIREWARRIOR WORK IN PROGRESS DEMO HANDS ON PREVIEW
Whilst Warhammer is one of the most popular table top war game franchises around, the games have never really matched this level of popularity. Featuring two major franchises; fantasy and a futuristic space combat known as 40,000 the game has gained more and more fans worldwide over the years. Later this month THQ will release Fire Warrior, a game for the PS2 and PC based on the 40,000 universe. They recently sent us a work in progress demo and here are our impressions.
The level starts out with you, a space marine, being told by your commander that you must find the extraction point and meet up with a marine cruiser. You're stuck deep behind Chaos lines (Chaos are the enemy in Fire Warrior, and are a playable race in the table top war game) and must make your way through the level to the extraction point.
It was apparent straight away the level of detail that developers Kuju (who funnily enough developed Microsoft Train Simulator for PC) have put into this game and the research they undertook from the 40,000 universe. The Chaos base is under attack from marines and explosions and craft flying over head are the norm. As the character was deep behind enemy lines, a high level of stealth had to be used. Fire Warrior is not a run and gun game as I expected, a level of stealth is required as the enemy is tough.
The influence of the 40,000 universe comes across strongest with the AI, both enemy and friendly. The AI is tough, and ducking out from behind cover taking a few shots before ducking back in is the key to victory in this particular level. The gun which you use by default is not a weak weapon, but in some cases you will be outnumbered five to one so even the toughest weapon won't help to much in that situation. In this level an AI team mate had to be protected, primarily because to progress through the level this character has to detonate explosives. Although it wasn't apparent in the level, it appeared that this character was a fire warrior.
Weapons featured in the demo included a plasma like gun, machine gun, laser gun and grenades. Many more will be featured in the final game. As well as this turret emplacements could be used and AI weapons can be picked up once they are defeated. Characters I came across included standard grunts, commanders with chainsaws and a chaos aircraft with firepower that dwarfs your own. As the level progresses the enemy AI does as well, but don't expect to be able to run and gun through even the first area, as mentioned before even the grunts are incredibly accurate and incredibly tough.
To assist in moving through the environments, night vision is included. One nice effect is that when using night vision and shooting the screen goes black, thus night vision is primarily used for scoping out targets. Also an autoaim of sorts is featured, once the reticle is close enough to an enemy it will automatically lock on. The environments in the level looked very much like a typical chaos base. Barren wasteland, a few buildings and many trenches. Moving through the levels, you will see 40,000 units such as a destroyed tank and even a tank on the move (however in this level it is scripted and the tank will not attack you).
The models look uncannily like the actual table top miniatures and fans of the game will pick them out straight away. Visually the game is looking very impressive for a PS2 game with detailed models and a rock solid frame rate. Sound wise, there is no music during this level, however it is a work in progress and sound may be added before the final game ships later this year. Multiplayer will be offered online and split screen and include both deathmatch and co-operative play.
Warhammer 40,000: Fire Warrior just may change peoples minds about Warhammer video games. Kuju looks like they have gone the extra mile to make sure the game is completely authentic and even for non Warhammer fans it is looking like a solid first person shooter. Warhammer 40,000: Fire Warrior is set to ship in September. More information on this title soon.
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