A Very Bad Warhammer 40K Game

You may have missed the release of Eisenhorn: XENOS on PC this week because, despite being an official Warhammer 40K game, it doesn't say that in its title. You may also have missed it because it is a very bad video game.

Eisenhorn: XENOS is actually an iPad game that, for whatever reason, was also deemed suitable to be ported to the PC in 2016. It is not.

Below you'll find the first few minutes of the game. Let this be your last encounter with it.

Oh, hi there. Video not working? Want to read more? Well, Positives first: the game (and the main character) is narrated by actor Mark Strong, who is very good, but whose agent now needs to be fired. It is also, by all accounts, a fairly faithful adaptation of the Eisenhorn book series.

And now the negatives: everything else. Let's start with how the game is sold in its description:

'Eisenhorn: XENOS' is an immersive, fully 3D adventure game, adapted from 'Xenos', the first book in Games Workshop's best-selling 'Eisenhorn' trilogy, written by award winning author Dan Abnett.
Set in the grim, dark future of Warhammer 40,000 'Eisenhorn: XENOS' lets you experience firsthand the story of Gregor Eisenhorn, an Inquisitor and member of the 'Ordo Xenos', sent out to fight and protect the Imperium of man from anything that may threaten it.
Players will get to play through and experience the events of 'Xenos' as Eisenhorn himself (as voiced by Mark Strong), exploring the vast expanse of the Warhammer 40k universe in ways never seen before.

Given that the character of Eisenhorn in the books is basically Sherlock Holmes In Space, combined with that write-up you'd think this would be something approaching an adventure game, no? A Telltale-like experience where you'd wander the halls of the 40K universe talking to people and solving crimes?

Nope. Given how distant and lifeless so many 40K games are, that would have been nice! Instead, what we've got here is a barren third-person action game that would have been terrible on the PS2, let alone the PC in 2016. Even allowing for the lower bar on mobile, I can't see a smaller screen and worse control inputs making this a better game.

It looks like garbage. The voice acting, Strong aside, sucks. Eisenhorn moves like a golem made out of hardened poop. Combat is slow and dreary, animations barely work (the "slow-down" after a combo kill is hilarious), the stealth and investigation sections are tedious and the camera angle is suffocating.

I mean, when we say there are too many Warhammer games coming out, this is exactly what we mean. There's no quality control going on with the licence. As a 40K fan I almost missed this in the flood of Warhammer games (some of which, like Total War and Battlefleet Gothic, have been good!) that have hit over the last few months. Then, having played it, I wish I actually had.


    Wow that looks bad...

    GW needs to just give in and make an XCom style game based on Necromunda... or at worst make a competitive shooter based on it. Or Gorkamorka :D

      I would go for a Metro-style first person gang-based Necromunda.

      X-Com or Jagged Alliance 2 always struck me as the perfect type of platform for a Necromunda game.

        Either would be perfect. I'd actually probably go with JA2 to be honest now you mention it, that was a fantastic system.

      "GW needs to just give in and make an XCom style game based on Necromunda.."
      Finally! Proof that Weresmurf is a terrible person in real life.
      If you were a good person, you would realise that having this idea actually obligates you to go learn how to make games, fund a kickstarter and then create this game so I can give you all my money... Like I said though. Bad person.

        People need proof Im a bad person?

        This is a reason the legal system works in my favour... mwahahahha

          I was trying to think of a pithy rejoinder to this comment, but all I can come up with is "I miss Necromunda". Fuck that game was fun, and I'm not even much of a tabletop gamer TBH.

            Seriously, it was the best, most indepth, most coherent game that GW has put out. We played it around 3 or 4 years back a little and the rules hold up, the concentration on smaller groups of individuals makes it far more interesting and the fact there's genuine advancement makes it far more compelling. They were seriously insane discontinuiing it.

      Well they're finally getting a good game on DoW III coming out.. so they had to even out their shovelware to great game ratio again? =P

        That remains to be seen. Have to actually play it first.

    It might be bad but is it Fire Warrior 40K bad? That's the yard stick I've used for years when playing Games Workshops games...and yes it's god awful.

      At the time of release it was a re-sounding "meh", but by comparison of today's standards, it's probably one of the better Warhammer games. :/

    Still waiting for the squad based/co-op FPS where you are a simple guardsman and the first boss is a single chaos marine.

      Close enough

    Dammit give me a good warhammer 40k RPG like mass effect!

    You could play as an inquisitor and the main quest-line is that you are charged with rooting out some sort of heresy within holy Terra itself. But to do that you need to travel to different systems with your inquisitorial fleet to get clues and solve the mystery before its too late.

    Some of the systems could be actively engaged in conflicts with orks, chaos, tau etc so the main quests and some of the side quests could be helping the imperial guard and the space marines regain control of the planet, as well as various other shenanigans.

    You could also use your inquisitorial powers to build up a party as you progress through the game. So if you help out the space marines, you might recruit one to join your party. You could also get a librarian or something which would be adept with using warp powers.

    Over time you face new enemies, so you need to adapt your party and equipment depending on the threat.

    The combat could be paused based like dragon age which wouldn't worry me.

    There also need to be tonnes of lore and references.

      OMG you could be the inquisitor that pardons Captain Titus, and then he becomes your bro throughout the whole game like Garrus! The plot could also tie in with why Titus is resistant to the warp etc.

    Wait for deathwing.

    There's so much opportunity for a great game in any number of genres with the Eisenhorn character it's a shame that GW (rather inevitably, it must be said) licences it for a shitty mobile game.

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