Space Hulk: Tactics

Game review by
Paul Semel, Common Sense Media
Space Hulk: Tactics Game Poster Image
Complex strategy made for veterans of table top game only.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Winning requires careful planning and strategic thinking. Players have to think both offensively and defensively at the same time to be successful, but combat is the point of the game, reducing any positive messages.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The player is either trying to rid the universe of some nasty aliens or pesky humans. Either way, player is trying to save the galaxy for their own people, but this comes at the cost of exterminating others.

Ease of Play

Game has a depth and complexity that will confuse those unfamiliar with the original table top version or similar strategy games. The rules and controls aren't always clearly explained. It also has four difficulty settings, which present noticeably different challenges based on the setting chosen.

Violence

Players use a variety of weapons — including guns, blades, and chainsaws — to attack aliens, or sharp claws (if you're the aliens) to attack humans. Both sets of weapons result in blood or gore being shown when played from the first-person perspective (though it's largely eliminated when played from the top down one). There are also pools of blood and piles of severed limbs in certain areas.

Sex
Language
Consumerism

Game is not only a virtual version of a table top game, but it's also part of the Warhammer 40,000 series, which encompasses numerous games, books, comics, and other items.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Space Hulk: Tactics is a strategy video game for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PCs. The game is part of the Warhammer 40,000 series, which encompasses games (video and table top), books, comics, and other items. When playing as a human, you use a variety of weapons — including machine guns, chainsaws, and swords — to kill alien opponents. When playing as an alien, players use sharp claws to attack humans. The game can be played from either a first-person or top down perspective, with the first person view only showing off the resulting blood and gore inflicted during combat. There are also times when rooms are decorated with pools of blood and severed limbs.

User Reviews

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What's it about?

In SPACE HULK: TACTICS, the war between the space marines and alien Genestealers continues. When a human space ship answers a distress call, only to be attacked by the savage aliens that own it, it's up to you to save the galaxy. Or, if you chose to play as the aliens, you have to rid the galaxy of those pesky humans who are trespassing on your ship and destroying your equipment. A tactical strategy game, Space Hulk: Tactics faithfully recreates the classic table top game Space Hulk, but with some additions you can only do in a video game, such as a first-person perspective.

Is it any good?

While this virtual version of the popular table top game offers a fun new way for longtime fans to play, newcomers might find its complexity too frustrating. In Space Hulk: Tactics, you either have to stop some nasty aliens as a commander of the Space Marines, or have to take out some annoying humans by controlling some Genestealers. Either way, this is a fairly faithful adaptation of the Warhammer 40,000 series turn-based tactical strategy war game Space Hulk, which was originally released as a table top game nearly thirty years ago. Except this version not only adds an optional first-person perspective, but a new card-based mechanic that gives you special attacks and other bonuses. There's also two complete solo campaigns, one for each side, along with the option to compete online against your friends. Players can even design and share their own maps.

But while longtime fans of the original Space Hulk will enjoy playing this on their computers or consoles, strategy fans unfamiliar with the table top version might find this to be a bit confusing. Not only does the tutorial sometimes fail to adequately explain how this works, it also doesn't include a primer on the Warhammer 40,000 universe, which itself is very complex. It also doesn't help that, if you sit at a reasonable distance from your TV, the icons and text are so small that it's hard to tell what's going on. Which isn't to say they should've made a simplified version of this game; quite the contrary. it's just that unless you've played the original Space Hulk, or other deep and complex tactical strategy games, you may want to do some research before taking on Space Hulk: Tactics.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Space Hulk: Tactics affected by the fact that you can avoid much of the blood and gore with the top down camera perspective? Does the top down perspective add more to the gameplay, apart from removing the gore?

  • Why do you think being patient can be important in planning moves during strategy games? What does Space Hulk: Tactics show you about the importance of being patient, especially from the perspective of both races in the game?

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