Developed by the shuttered THQ Warrington as a tie-in to upcoming third-person shooter Warhammer 40K: Space Marine, the downloadable game still needed more time to work out some glaring kinks. It feels like a glorified, extended demo for some new extension of the Warhammer 40K franchise, a license best known for its use in THQ's Dawn of War real-time strategy series.
As Space Marines, you and a couch buddy -- there's no online co-op (and I can't recommend playing it alone) -- are tasked with shooting your way through the bowels of an Ork Kroozer, destroying subsystems of the space behemoth en route to kill the Ork Warboss.
At the beginning of each of the five levels, you'll choose from ranged Space Marine classes like the Sternguard Veteran and Techmarine, or the melee-focused Vanguard Veteran and Librarian. You'll also add perks that are slowly acquired through the campaign and make the cosmetic change of Chapter affiliation (color) for your warriors.
Each level of the game delivers wave after wave of orks -- with a guest appearance by the insectile tyranids -- as you're tasked to blow up Kroozer subsystems. There's nothing really thrilling about any of the missions, but the conclusion to each one is slightly different, providing a little variety. In one, you'll have to shoot off the shielding for four pumps in a room, while another forces you to navigate a hard-to-discern thin walkway that's collapsing, where one wrong turn by either partner means redoing the whole section over again (that one took several tries).
- Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon (360/PS3)
- Deadliest Warrior: Legends (PSN/XBLA)
- The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D (3DS)
- Galaga Legions DX (XBLA)
- Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D (3DS)
- Half-Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax (XBLA)
- Transformers: Dark of the Moon (360/PS3)
- Dungeon Siege 3 (360/PS3/PC)
Some nice touches in Kill Team include the sharing of power-ups, an intuitive upgrade and perk system, a solid presentation and some decent setpieces. The $10 price is a little hard to swallow for anyone who isn't a Warhammer 40K fan, especially compared to the quality and scope of other titles available at that price. It would have been a solid purchase and its flaws more forgivable at $5, like Capcom's conceptually similar, semi-promotional (and successful) release of Dead Rising 2: Case Zero.
Warhammer 40K: Kill Team may have a questionable price point for what it offers, but it does deliver a different, potentially compelling type of Warhammer 40K experience to fans of the universe. Instead of simply clicking around a screen and hotkeying special moves like in Dawn of War, it's fun to actually control a Space Marine in a more personal, focused way. As we wait to see how Warhammer 40K: Space Marine turns out, Kill Team is a good first step in moving 40K beyond the comfortable confines of the RTS genre.
This review is based on the final version of Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team provided by THQ available now for $10 on XBLA and "later this summer" on PSN.