Chaosbane is a new action RPG set in the world of Warhammer that you can play solo, with a local friend, or in online co-op. I personally love the genre so I wanted to see if Warhammer: Chaosbane was worth my time.
Warhammer: Chaosbane features 4 classes: human soldier, high elf mage, dwarf slayer, and wood elf scout and they remind me of something that you'd find in a Baldur's Gate game. Each of the classes has an archetype skill that you can use with the right stick. I enjoyed using these since they make each class feel interesting and fresh. For example, the human warrior uses a shield bash (my least favorite), the high elf mage uses an energy ball which you can redirect with the right stick, the dwarf slayer has a grappling hook to quickly get into the fight, and the wood elf scout does some kind of back flip to quickly gain some distance from her foes.
The campaign takes about 12 hours to beat. You are able to level up to level 50 and along the way, you unlock new skills and skill points and some skills are superior versions that require more skill points. Each character has about 15 combat skills but that doesn't include their superior versions, passive skills, or emotes. Thankfully, there's an interesting variety of skills including basic skills, secondary skills, and powerful high-cooldown god skills. You can also advance yourself on the god skill tree to unlock even more skills.
Warhammer: Chaosbane has 4 game modes: story mode, Expeditions, Boss Rush, and Treasure Maps and I'll discuss them in a bit. Before that, I want to talk about difficulty as there are 9 settings: easy, normal, hard, very hard, and chaos 1 through 5. During the story, you'll probably play on normal or hard and possibly very hard if you want a real challenge. That leaves chaos settings as post-game challenges. Anyway, monster health seems to scale much higher than their damage on harder difficulties so fights will become pointlessly long.
Vs. Diablo III
All of that being said, I found Chaosbane's gameplay to be lackluster and I want to go through the reasons why. I recently sat down to play Diablo III (an excellent ARPG) so I could compare and list the ways that this game can improve and I thought of 7:
- Louder, faster, and more exciting - check out the gameplay video attached below then watch any Diablo III video and you'll immediately see the difference. Diablo III is like playing Chaosbane at 1.5x speed and it's a lot more fun as a result.
- More enemy types - Diablo III has a variety of enemies but Chaosbane does not. Most of them use simple melee or ranged attacks and a few can use annoying crowd-control effects on you but that's it as most missions feel fairly cut and paste.
- Better post-game content - Rifts in Diablo III feel very different and crazy from anything else you'll find in the game. In Chaosbane, Expeditions are almost exactly the same thing that you've already done in story mode. Treasure maps are also mostly the same but the drop rates of gems and heroic items are massively increased which makes it a little more fun, I guess. Finally, Boss Rush has you fight against a single boss that you already fought in story mode and you can repeat it over and over if you wish.
- Optional dungeons and missions - Chaosbane has no optional dungeons or missions which boggles my mind. Just throw in a few side-quests; it's not a difficult thing to do but players would really appreciate having a few different things to do.
- Exploration is rarely worth it - there's nothing in the world that rewards exploration so you might as well be walking down one road for the entire game. The hub area is just as bad as you can find a couple of story NPCs, the bank chest, and a merchant guild NPC who you can donate items to for shards but that's it. There's not even a crafting system which is quite surprising.
- Story mode is locked - after you complete the campaign, you can't play the story missions again with the same character. I can't think of a single good reason why story mode should become permanently locked like this.
- Enjoyable extras - Diablo III has more bosses, optional mini-games, an infinite leveling system, and PvP. I'm sure the folks at Games Workshop could get creative and think of different ways to break up the monotony, too.
Warhammer: Chaosbane is a cool ARPG that would have been better if it wasn't a current gen game but unfortunately, we're not in 2005 anymore. For all of its flaws, the combat system is still well done yet the problem is that it feels like a bare minimum product. The fact that there are no optional missions and only a few bosses and different kinds of enemies makes it get repetitive very quickly.
- + Solid old-school ARPG gameplay
- + Innovative right-stick archetype skills
- + Combat system is done well
- - Little enemy and boss variety
- - Post-game content is severely lacking and story mode even locks after completion
- - Non-existent optional missions