Having gone through several beta stages, Eko Software and Bigben Interactive’s Warhammer based Hack & Slash is finally out in the wild. With four characters that each act as their own class, you’ll be going through a mission based structure solo or with others to save the would be Human Emperor Magnus that that just recently beaten back the Chaos hordes when all hope seemed lost.
Chaosbane is fun. There’s no denying that fact. You run around different environments on a mission and you take out a colossal amount of enemies. Between each mission you head back to the hub to sell off unwanted gear or stash gear you want to keep around for later, and then head back out. It’s quick, there’s little to no downtime, and between the four characters there are enough skills with each to create your own forms of subclasses. But then what?
Unlike Diablo 3, Victor Vran, Torchlight or The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing, there’s no real “world” to explore. Sure you can leave on what are known as expeditions, but you can’t just head out of town in order to lay a smackdown on the forces of Chaos. Everything has to be selected as a mission so everything has a step-by-step structure making it feel less organic and more procedural. Having taken out the “middleman” works, but at the same time it makes things feel a bit lacking like Neocre’s Warhammer 40k Martyr: Inquisitor. There’s a charm that exists by letting you just run around hacking and slashing things as that is literally the purpose of the genre.
To head out onto these missions you’ll have four separate characters. There’s the Human Warrior, the Dwarven Berserker, the Elven Mage and Ranger. What is neat about these classes is that they all have their own uniqueness for how to approach a situation. Creating classes that are unique enough from one another but just as usable and enjoyable is no short task and I think the developers got it right. Having already experimented with the four in the previous beta, I went with the one that I felt most comfortable. The Elven Ranger of summoning death and destruction through hordes of Dryads! Ok maybe hordes is pushing it… but only slightly.
So treating the skill tree a bit like Diablo 3, you unlock new abilities as your level increases and then you can swap then in and out as you see fit. Unlock the previously mentioned however, the abilities that can be set all have point costs from a total pool in order to be used. Generating abilities to use the more powerful ones that have an energy cost start off as free but it doesn’t take long before you need to allocate points from your pool in order to make these skills worth it even in normal combat situations.
The balance of these is a bit touchy. The total amount of points in your pool goes up slowly yet the cost of the abilities is often higher than you can actually afford to have. Where things even out a bit is that you can equip low to mid end abilities in all of your slots or you can sacrifice one or two in order to have one or two high level skills alongside your energy generator. It all comes down to personal preference and how you like to approach the situations.
On that note, side to the skills that you unlock by leveling up, you’ll also have access to a God Tree that you can purchase nodes from in order to make yourself both more powerful and give you access to skills not gained by leveling up. Each node costs both one point gained from leveling up as well as gold and fragments acquired from hacking and slashing your way through hordes of enemies. This is where my horde of Dryads came in as while the Ranger can summon one permanently to the field, there’s a skill in the god tree that allows for four to be summoned, five later once upgraded, for a limited time in order to wreak havoc. Very useful to have around especially when there are tougher mobs on the field and you don’t seem to be making a dent.