Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team Review
Right out of the gate, you need to know I have NO KNOWLEDGE of the Warhammer universe. I've seen it played in passing at a local comic book store, but that is it. So if you are looking for a hardcore Warhammer fan's review, this isn't it. If you want to hear it from an outsider's perspective, then I invite you to read on.
Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team is a twin-stick third-person shooter with a heavy emphasis on co-op play, both online and off. Players pick a warrior (or warriors, if you have friends) from a set of different factions and job skills. After a little countdown, you find yourself in inside an enemy warship (called a Kroozer, I believe) overflowing with little green men of varying size and power. Your overall goal is to bring down the spacecraft by destroying it, piece by piece, from the inside. Your secondary goals include staying alive, collecting each level's 10 special pickups and killing every single thing that moves. Major ship equipment and some oversized baddies represent the game's handful of bosses, but killing them is just like killing everything else. Maybe they have a pattern or two to memorize, but it all boils down to holding the right analog stick in the appropriate direction. Yawn.
Ok, wait a minute. Kill Team isn't all that bad. Despite the entire game requiring you to shoot the same enemies in the same corridors over and over, if you dig that kind of arcade-y action, you'll be satisfied with Kill Team. Finishing the game's first level gives players access to a special weapon that can be used in another Warhammer title, which I guess would be a big plus for fans. Also, it is a DLC game, so the price is only about 10 bucks. The best aspect of Kill Team, though, is that even as a twin-stick shooter, you don't get the feeling you are always backing away from enemies while shooting them. Kill Team gives players enough firepower to make the party the advancing unit, rather than constantly running away like a girl. It's not much, but itís a nice change.
I've got a few more things to mention before moving on. First, the game has a habit of swinging the normally fixed camera right up behind the player when they kill the last of a swarm of enemies. It seems cool at first, but it becomes a major annoyance once you've seen it a dozen times or more.
The second issue deals with the game's checkpoint/save system. Each level has checkpoints spaced out across it; die and you'll return to that spot. What's wrong with that? The game only saves itself AFTER you complete a level. Here's what happened to me. I played the second or third level right up to the end, got pulled away and turned the game off. I was less than pleased I had to run through the entire level again to progress. Save anywhere gaming has been the standard for a while, and it looks like Warhammer may be one of the last to jump on the bandwagon.
The third and final mark on Kill Team's record is a certain segment in the third or fourth chapter. After a few screens of the same (and surely getting old) shooting, you are confronted with some kind of Velociraptor/Pterodactyl/goth high school kid hybrid. You are instructed to run, using L2 on the PS3 controller. The game flips the camera to directly in front of your character, with the Gothadactyl giving chase. A fun change of pace, right? I thought so, too. At first. This mini game MUST be completed to move the story along, and - guess what - it is smash your controller difficult. It will take a few tries just to get the hang of using L2 as a sprint button, as I believe this segment is the first where it is mentioned (and still not fully explained). Once you do nail it down, it becomes clear that absolute flawless perfection is what you'll need to progress, as even one mistake in this race can send you right back to the last checkpoint.
Oh, the developers aren't done ruining your day just yet. Each time you must restart this segment (and you'll have to, probably dozens of times), there is a long, completely unskippable cut scene to sit through over and over. And over. By the time I won the race in question, I had the cutscene memorized WORD FOR WORD, and I can still recite the whole thing days later. I very highly doubt few, if any players will have the determination to get through this. Most will probably just stop and move onto the next thing.
Think of this race as the underwater level in the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles NES game. Or any vehicle segment in any Battletoads game. Finally knocking out Iron Mike Tyson. Every old school gamer remembers these challenges. The race in Kill Team is a lot like that; you won't be able to pull it off without long nights of practice, one kid on your block will end up doing it for everyone and you'll move onto the next game soon enough anyway. Readers: Let us know how long/how many tries it took to win the Gothadactyl race!
Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team is not an awful game. It lacks a lot of polish and gets repetitive quickly. The aforementioned race segment is game-breakingly difficult and drags the whole title down, as does the lack of true in-level save points. I still found some degree of fun in playing it; it was probably the part of me that can't get enough Smash TV or Contra. The extra weapon for another Warhammer game will no doubt draw fans to this one, but others may want to try the demo first.
Final Rating: 64%.