Space Hulk Review
It's a beautifully balanced game, both sides play very differently but are equally likely to succeed, and while tactics are important, even the best laid plans can be obliterated by a single roll of the dice. Your Terminator placed at the end of the corridor might kill all seven of the approaching Genestealers while on Overwatch, or his gun might jam as the first one makes a move, almost certainly resulting in his death, and leaving a huge gap in your defence. Space Hulk produces thrilling scenarios like this with every game.
Unfortunately, the thrill is somewhat dampened when playing against the AI in the campaign mode. Seeing the computer casually throw up a couple of numbers which determine the outcome of a battle feels rather arbitrary, and lacks the same tension as watching dice clatter across the table. Playing against a friend alleviates this somewhat, although the game apparently requires you to complete missions in the single-player before they become available in the multiplayer, which is an enormously stupid decision on Full Control's part.
It's also a ponderously slow game, largely due to how the Space Marines are animated. They stomp through the Sin of Damnation in a glacial fashion, which to be fair successfully gets across the heavy inevitability of the Terminators' attitude toward warfare. Nevertheless, Full Control could have done a couple of things to speed up the game. There's no reason for the Terminators to have to move and rotate in completely separate animations, like a train on a bloody turntable.
On top of that is the question of presentation. As the game is largely set in narrow corridors, it means there's an awful lot of empty black space lurking around on the screen, which is a bit unsightly. In addition, the corridors themselves are very dingy. Again, this communicates the oppressive atmosphere of the Space Hulk well enough, but it also means it can be difficult to make out where exactly Terminators and Genestealers are. Doors in particular are easy to miss, and since they cost an extra action-point to move through, that's not something you want to happen.
Given the game's tension is generated through its finely balanced rules, and not by how the game looks, a brighter aesthetic may have been a wiser choice. That said, due credit ought to be given for the implementation of the first-person camera in the top-right of the screen, which displays the ship from the perspective of whichever Terminator is selected. It's completely superfluous but it's a nice touch.
There are a few other issues too. The menu for organising a game with a friend is horribly designed, requiring you to set up your own separate Space Hulk account and then create individual games with friends, rather than simply using Steam's interface to invite friends to games. Furthermore, there are a fair few bugs scuttling around the Sin of Damnation. Terminators don't always move in the way you want them to, and at one point both the music and sound effects cut out completely, as if an asteroid had punched a hole in the Space Hulk's hull and sucked all the air into space.
There's definitely a sense that some of the magic has been lost during Space Hulk's transition from tabletop to desktop, but that doesn't make it entirely redundant. Provided you've got a bit of patience and a friend to play it with, there's a good dose of fun to be had. Played alone or with people you don't know, however, it does lose its charm fairly quickly, which as it happens is not entirely unlike the experience of queuing.