The game is developed by Streum On Studio, the team behind E.Y.E.: Divine Cybermancy, which was a completely bonkers but full of ideas co-op first-person shooter, and it seems that with Space Hulk: Deathwing, the company has again managed something full of ideas but also a little bizarre. The weapons you're using in the game are, in case it wasn't obvious from the opening, among some of the most powerful seen in a video game when you consider them, but in reality the combat is completely devoid of impact – an impressive feat when your protagonists weigh roughly 700 pounds and have more armour than most tanks.
In the multiplayer this is made worse. You can get four teammates together to play an arcade-shooter variant of the single-player campaign's missions with a variety of classes to keep things interesting. This is where the game should shine based on the ideas it's cribbed from other popular multiplayer games, but it cuts out so many bits – you lose the excellent voice-over, there are no more cutscenes, and the RPG-light elements get all messed up. You can either level up from the start each time you play or turn on Codex mode to ditch the whole progression thing and get your hands on all of the tools from the off. Having real people helping you out means you can scream, 'They're coming out of the goddamn walls!' at real people instead of in a dark room to yourself, but even in its multiplayer mode it feels like it's missing something.
The visuals in the game are muddy, but the overall aesthetic is one of the game's strongest aspects. The interiors of the ships have been modelled with a real attention to detail, for example. I'd occasionally emerge from the warren-like system of corridors to find myself standing in the middle of a desecrated church, or running into a giant statue (Space Marines sure do love statues) or a few nice bits of environmental storytelling.
Technically, the game is something of a mess too. I've had trouble with getting the game to run smoothly on either of my gaming PCs and the forums are full of people complaining of similar problems. The menus are difficult to navigate and confusing, and I found that if I was hosting a multiplayer game and opened the inventory, there was a 50 percent chance that I'd crash to the desktop and dump everyone else back to the main menu.
The technical issues caused a fair bit of annoyance, and it was fatiguing trying to play the game around them, but it's not unfeasible they could be patched in the future. For now, though, it's difficult to get around.
The whole game is pretty difficult to get to grips with, really. The technical issues put an unappealing sheen on the whole thing, but it's also hard to recommend the game to anyone that isn't a fan of the genre. The combat lacks punch, melee combat is imprecise, and the multiplayer – despite it being an interesting diversion – feels like a shadow of the main game. If you're in the market for a cooperative survival game, it's hard to recommend this over Left 4 Dead, Killing Floor or Vermintide, but it's got a lot of solid ideas. It's just a shame it doesn't back them up with anything genuinely impressive.