Warhammer: Chaosbane is a game a few Diablo fans and Warhammer fans might have on their radar and for all the right reasons. We had a chance to play the closed beta of the upcoming action RPG.
Chaosbane is takes place in the Warhammer fantasy battle universe. Set directly after a conflict called the Great War of Chaos, there are remaining factions of the evil Chaos forces still attacking the human city of Nuln. It’s our hero’s job to eradicate these small factions and save the city from destruction.
Developers Eko Software have been open about their love for Diablo 3 and the comparisons their game will have to Blizzard’s hugely successful top-down dungeon crawling series. Warhammer: Chaosbane has a very similar art style to Diablo but it also suits the Warhammer story, creating gritty feel of the aftermath of the brutal war.
In the early game there is not a massive variation to the enemies, but there are apparently 70 different types taken from the roster of Warhammer’s Chaos Gods as well as the promise of epic boss battles, so we hope to see more as the game progresses. The art animations are engaging and give you a real feel of Warhammer’s level of gore.
There are four playable classes you to pick from. The Imperial Soldier is the tank of the team with sword and shield in hand, the High Elf Mage is all about DPS and crowd control, and the Dwarf Slayer is your typical hack and slash DPS barbarian. We didn’t not get to test out the final class of Wood Elf and haven’t seen any footage at the time of writing, but this class rounds out the set with a ranged playstyle.
Each class has an extensive list of around 40 to 45 skills when totally leveled up. You can have six active skills and three passive skills equipped at any one time and you spend skill points to pick these. This allows you to have fewer skills if you so desire, trading off for greater power in the ones you pick.
There are then God Skills, accompanied by their own skill tree for enhancement. We did not get to see enough of this in the Beta to comment but it looks great and adds another layer of customisation to your character.
Players each have a Bloodlust meter, filled by collecting the Bloodlust orbs dropped by defeated enemies. When this is full you can enter an enraged state, performing devastating attacks on multiple enemies. Each class has a specific Bloodlust move and they all look stunning.
The downside to this is that Bloodlust orbs are not shared between teammates during co-op play, meaning if you don’t pick them up quickly enough you lose out to your companions. To fill all three stacks for one player can take almost the whole mission, making it feel like you’re having to choose who gets to use their unique skill.
Loot is a huge part of Warhammer: Chaosbane and boy do they do this right. If you are a Diablo fan who love stats and builds then this game will potentially scratch that itch for hundreds of hours. There are tiers of loot like Diablo with random stat rolls, with these different tiers made available right out of the gate. Seeing these drop when in the missions gives you a feeling of excitement about what it could be and how it can improve your build.
The loot system gives you options to upgrade your gear with Fragments. You can also merge Fragments to then create new combinations to fit the skills or build you have.
On top of that there are God Fragments that improve your God Skills and equipment. This takes your builds to the next level and is something to aim for in the end game. The game also has Heroic-level sets of gear that give you a some bonuses, but the best part about them is that they look exactly like some of the most well-known units from Warhammer’s tabletop game.
Not only does Chaosbane support cross-platform play, but it extends to local play as well as online. For example, you can have two players on PC and then two locally on another console. It supports any combination of this you can think of, creating great opportunity to play with friends no matter the machine they’re using.
Overall the time I spent with Warhammer: Chaosbane was a blast, with some solid gameplay and features. With all of the character customisation and build opportunities, there are hints of great replayability when the full product is released. Eko – alongside publishers Bigben and Games Workshop – could have something great on the cards here and I would keep your eyes on the game’s future as it’s potentially an exciting one.
A beta for those who’ve pre-ordered the game is currently running until March 13 at 9am.