Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Deathwatch - Tyranid Invasion! I've played it. It's actually quite good!

It's been a busy weekend with some visitors coming up from Christchurch to stay with us for a few days. Sam and I have spent the last 5 days eating and drinking our way around Wellington while we showed our guests all the important things there are to see in Wellington...such as breweries...and more breweries...and possibly some other stuff which I can't remember. Anyway it has made posting on this blog a little difficult but now I have some spare time I thought it best to get some writing done as I'm overdue for an update.

A couple of weeks ago I saw an ad for 'Deathwatch - Tyranid Invasion'. It cost something just short of $7 NZ and in the promotional blurb it said "15 hours of gameplay" so at the time I thought even if I got 1 hour of entertainment out of it I would get my $7 worth, so why not give it a try? Since then I've run my iPhone flat almost daily playing this game, it's disturbingly addictive.

For those of you who may not know what the Deathwatch is here's a quick background blurb:

Within the Imperium of Man (or Woman) during the 41st millenium there are three branches of the Imperial Inquisition; one of those branches is called the Ordo Xenos and is tasked with purging alien influence throughout the Imperium. As with all orders of the Inquisition the Ordo Xenos have a specialised military wing; their's being the Deathwatch. The Deathwatch are made up of veteran Space Marines with a talent and penchant for killing various species of alien. These Space Marines are then seconded to the Ordo Xenos and formed into specialist units.

Rodeo are the techy dewds who have teamed up with Games Workshop to make this game. They are the same company that produced the Warhammer Quest game for iOS and you'll notice a lot of similarity in Deathwatch. It has the same square tiled dungeons and the same general 'get from point A to point B and kill stuff along the way' approach to each mission. As you wander through the dungeon-of-the-sci-fi-future you are attacked by various Tyranid creatures ranging from Hormagaunts to Pyrovores to Tyranid Warriors to a monstrous Carnifex. As you kill these bad-ass purple gribblies you gain experience which can then be used to upgrade the skills on your Deathwatch members in their own character screen.

You can also swap out their weapons in this screen with the flashier boomsticks and choppy devices you receive for successfully completing missions. The challenging part about this is that the higher level weapons are much more inaccurate so to get the most out of them you have to upgrade your Marines to improve their accuracy first.

The part I like about the game most of all is that there is a kind of 'card collector' aspect to it. By completing an 'Act' (four missions) you receive a new deck of three cards. In each pack you receive one random Marine and two random weapons or equipment which can then be used in game. There are commons and rares in all aspects so you can get common equipment and regular Space Marine legionaries or more rarely you can get mastercrafted equipment and veteran or champion Marines. Alternatively you can buy further packs of cards with 'Inquisition Pesos' you receive for completing missions and selling off your spare equipment and Marines. Once you have reached 100 Inquisition Pesos you can buy a pack of three cards.

I think this is the part of the game that has sucked me in the most. I look forward to opening my virtual card packs with the same sense of anticipation and trepidation I felt when opening a pack of WWF trading cards back in the 80's (ah good times). Each set I receive is eagerly torn open (in a virtual sense) which then culminates in elation if I get some exciting new toys or bitter disappointment if I get crappy double-ups.

I've almost completed the game on the 'normal' difficulty setting and it's been a lot of fun developing my squad of Ultramarines throughout this campaign. I'm normally not a fan of the Smurfmarines but some have a skill called 'Battle Brothers' which gives them extra benefits for each additional Ultramarine in the squad and it seemed the best build with the cards I was dealt if you'll excuse the pun.

Did I mention you could change the names of your Marines?

As you can see I've gone for a heavy shooting team which suits my rather defensive play style. I've found Plasma and Bolter give the best flexibility in long range abilities as Lascannons and Missile Launchers don't put out the volumes of firepower needed to take down the little Tyranids. In the later stages I am now regularly encountering Hive Guard, Tyrant Guard and Tyranid Warriors while troops like Genestealers are becoming more common than Hormagaunts or Termagants which is making things more and more challenging. I've also managed to kill a Carnifex, a Broodlord and as of today a Hive Tyrant!

In short, if you can manage to go without a couple of coffees I'd definitely recommend buying this game. I imagine there's not a lot of long-term playability there but you'll certainly get your money's worth of entertainment out of it. And at the end of the day who doesn't want to live vicariously through a bunch of pathological, homicidal xenophobes hell-bent on mass genocide? that I put it that way it sounds a bit suspect...

Thanks for reading, check back later in the week for updates about our weekend and the best burger in Wellington!

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