The most amazing RPG experiences for me have always been in the ARPG genre, crawling through dungeons with my friends at my side. Diablo has long been the king of these titles, offering a great balance between pure chaos, loot, and options for multiplayer. Well, Warhammer: Chaosbane is here to overthrow the king.
This ARPG for PS4 offers a lot of things that gamers look for in this genre, including support for local co-op up to four players. Does Warhammer: Chaosbane take the crown? Let’s find out.
Bringing The Hammer Down
These days, if a game advertises local co-op, it has my attention. My girlfriend Christina and I have a very gaming-focused household, so anything we can play together is a big win. Warhammer: Chaosbane offers both online and local co-op for up to four players. It’s also set in the vast universe of Warhammer (not to be confused with Warhammer 40K).
The fantasy universe is a perfect fit for an action RPG, and the lofty opening does a nice job of setting the stage with appropriately verbose narration and a backstory that sets the stage for an epic battle against the forces of chaos.
Those who are familiar with the lore will find a few familiar faces like Prince Teclis and Emperor Magnus the Pious, but even someone who knows nothing about the Warhammer lore will enjoy the high fantasy setup and story.
It has some twists and turns to be sure, but it’s not a story that will completely blow you away. Instead it makes for excellent set dressing and motivation for your actions. As a result of this, the four classes you can choose from are set in both their name and appearance. Some may cry foul at the lack of customization, but you do see your character’s clothing change as you equip weapons and armor, so they do evolve visually as you progress.
The gameplay is the main course here, and Warhammer: Chaosbane expertly uses the best elements of its contemporaries while also adding in quality of life changes that I absolutely loved. For starters, you can open your inventory while playing co-op and it won’t pause the game.
This is huge because it lets you use a small window to manage your skills and inventory while the other players continue onward. Your character will also follow the group automatically while you’re in the menu, so you won’t be left behind.
It’s a small change, but it does wonders for the pacing. I can’t tell you how annoying it was to constantly pause the experience in other games while everyone checks their loot. Warhammer’s solution is superb and should be an example to anyone else entering this genre.
The four classes on offer range from a knight to a mage, an archer, and what I would call a berserker. The knight is human, the mage is a high elf, the archer is a wood elf, and the berserker is a shirtless dwarf, which I found to be fitting.
Another excellent addition to the experience is the unique archetype ability each character has mapped to the right stick. I played as the mage, for example, and I was able to steer any and all spells with the right analogue stick. It was amazing to send out a ball of lightning or fire and guide it through a mass of enemies.
The archer and dwarf have movement-based abilities on the right stick, allowing them to get around the battlefield in unique ways or dodge attacks. The knight has a shield bash which allows him to handle large groups of enemies.
Skills are mapped to the face buttons and triggers, with more opening up as you progress. Switching between them in the menu works fine, with clear paths forward for each skill as you level up.
Loot is pretty much what you would expect and goes to characters in local co-op based on which class they are intended for. The steady stream of new items was nice, but the rarity and variety are about what you expect from the genre, so nothing drastically new here.
Boss fights are particularly exciting in Warhammer: Chaosbane, forcing you to think strategically and attack when there are openings. This balances out the chaotic fights with hordes of enemies nicely.
As a total package, Warhammer: Chaosbane is really fun. The unique mechanics and design choices it brings to the table enhance the genre and help it stand out from the pack. With plenty of endgame content and challenges, along with planned DLC on the horizon, this is one title you won’t put down anytime soon.
Warhammer: Chaosbane is a lavishly detailed and incredibly smooth experience on PS4 Pro. I maxed out with three players locally and the action was excellent. There were some odd hitches in the frame rate, but they didn’t seem to happen very often or during combat, so it wasn’t too distracting.
I would have liked to see more interaction with the environment such as traps, but the detail included in each area offers a nice sense of atmosphere. As I mentioned earlier, Warhammer: Chaosbane doesn’t completely change the genre, but it does add a lot of excellent design changes and quality of life improvements that really enhanced the experience.
If you are a fan of the genre, or you’re looking for an excellent new dungeon crawler for local or online co-op, Warhammer: Chaosbane is the best one we’ve had in years. Embrace the chaos!
Final Score: 8.5/10
A copy of Warhammer: Chaosbane was provided to PS4 Experts for review purposes
Article by - Bradley Ramsey
Insert date - 6/9/19