“Fire up your Chains words and jump into the incredible RPG universe of Warhammer 40,000: Carnage Champions!”
If you are a massive geek like me, then you have probably spent more time and definitely more money on loving the Warhammer 40,000 universe. The IP is getting farmed out to a lot more developers and publishers as of late due to a down-turn in their mainstream incoming. This will usually mean we will get an amazing 40k title, or unfortunately, a really bad title. Sadly Carnage Champions falls into the latter.
The game itself classes it as a RPG sidescroller. Whilst in some cases it is that, but only because of the huge quantity of gear you actually acquire in the game. I have craved a game where you are able to customize your Space Marine character to as much depth as Carnage; SEGA really missed a trick with their Space Marine game from 2011 by not including gear drops. I was really quite impressed with the World of Warcraft type of gear system implemented in this game though. On top of getting out right upgrades for your gear, you can upgrade the stats on each individual piece as well.
The game play itself is really simple, or well it would be but for some of the most awful controls I have ever seen in a video game. Ever wanted a game where you can shoot with the comma button? Hold it right here, Carnage Champions does just that! You are a Space Marine and play from a side scrolling perspective. You are not able to travel backwards as the camera locks, so you can only go forwards, meaning missing enemies and powerups is quite a common occurrence. Throughout each level you will come across a variety of different enemies which can be dispatched either by using your Bolt gun, or in melee, with chainsaws, swords or just downright meaty hammer. Whilst the combat isn’t anything particularly exciting, it does have that addictive nature that you’d expect from a mobile game, oh wait – that’s because it is a straight port from iOS and Android and boy can you tell…
On the Steam store page, we have a description of “Brilliant 3D graphics, environments and visual effects” I hate to say it, but unfortunately the visuals are anything but brilliant here. For a mobile game they would be sufficiently alright, but sadly the PC platform needs a little more umpf to make it worthwhile. Horribly low resolution textures and character models make the game just look downright bad. The UI, whilst it can be navigated with a mouse, is quite clearly designed for tablets and this shows with the in game UI as well as menus.
Whilst this game isn’t exactly hard at the core of its gameplay, you will find that the majority of levels will be a massive gear check. You will find it impossible to progress on some stages quite simply because your gear is not good enough. At the end of each level, you will be able to purchase gear from the store using the game’s currency system, but this selection of gear from the shop will change each time you finish a level, so you really should save a bunch of gold before you think about buying anything. You are able to get a quite a big boost in terms of gear through the game’s daily challenge system, which will reward you with a chest of loot, but sadly you don’t just get the loot straight away, you have to buy it still, but the quality is much better than the equipment in the store. Each individual level has a star system and multiple difficulty levels, meaning you can replay previously completed missions for an extra income of gold when you need to save up for more gear.
All of the levels I have played so far have been very much the same. Nothing really stands out as being original or unique, you just seem to be in “generic metal structure” all of the time. The backgrounds to each level are all quite low quality too. You will find parts of a level inaccessible, due to not being able to jump high enough to reach another path; I can only hope to assume you are able to upgrade your jump distance further down the line.
The game has four different maps, each map has about 15-20 individual levels, but you could quite easily blast through this whole game’s single player mode in three or four hours. Carnage Champions does boast about having multiplayer with Steam friends, but to be quite honest there probably won’t be enough people ever online in this game to even make use of that feature.
Onto the technical issues. Apart from the obviously bad control design and poor UI for a PC game the game is also marred with other technical problems. First of all, the store page states “Full controller support” Wrong. The game does not work with various types of controllers that I own, Razer Xbox controller, 360 controller and Steam controller. If it did, the controls wouldn’t be nearly half as bad as they are but unfortunately we are stuck with the keyboard mess for now. Secondly, the game’s UI will sometimes just crash and not respond. You can be clicking on menu options but nothing will happen, meaning the only way around is to completely force close the game back to desktop – a really annoying bug when you do spend a lot of time on menu screens as you customize your character’s gear selection. You should also note, that the game is full to the brim of microtransactions…on a full price PC game…..I know….don’t even get me started on that.
I always go into 40K games with a lot of optimism, but always come away feeling horribly let down. The graphics and controls in Carnage Champions completely let it down. I really liked the gear system and it is something which any future RPG style 40k games really need to look at implementing because I think it is something a lot of Warhammer fans will want. Not to mention the horrible microtransactions that bares no right to be in a full price PC game. I cannot believe this game is priced as high as it is on PC when on mobile it is only $3. If you want that 40k fix you’ll be better off just waiting for Warhammer 40.000: Inquisitor – Martyr.