I used to walk past Games Workshop on the high street and peek inside at a world that I knew nothing about; a world full of 3D maps, armies of model characters, orcs, elves, humans, and other creatures. Operating the models and rolling dice were a mixture of teenagers and middle-aged men. What were they doing? What were the rules? I soon found out they were playing Warhammer, yet I never really understand the rules. Now though, with the release of Warhammer: Chaosbane Slayer Edition on Xbox Series X, it’s time to get to grips with what is at hand. In fact, I’ve rolled my dice and ventured into that same Games Workshop world on my Xbox.
Warhammer: Chaosbane Slayer Edition is an upgraded version of the 2019 release – one that features Xbox Series X polish, enhancements, improvements, and additional content. The game takes the universe of Warhammer and places it into the context of a Diablo or Torchlight, befit with isometric stylings and playstyle. It supports solo adventurers, and up to four players online and locally.
Chaosbane starts with an impressive animated cutscene; one that comes complete with rousing epic music and a voice-over by someone who should have been in the Lord of the Rings movies. You start by choosing a character from the usual suspects – a human soldier of the Empire, a High Elf mage, a Dwarf slayer, a Wood Elf scout, or a Dwarf engineer. And now with the Slayer Edition you can throw a Witch Hunter in too. From there, it’s a case of working through three stories and a ton of content, all in order to see where it takes you.
The story that brings this all together is one of high fantasy, well-written and full of treachery, intrigue, and magic. The writing references characters, villains, and heroes from the Warhammer universe, and fans of the series will most definitely enjoy seeing this world come alive.
Generally, throughout you will find yourself given missions – mostly by an overlord, king, patrician – and then sent off to a dungeon or other area to hunt down and kill creatures, collect a host of loot and kill a boss. You start the game with just a couple of simple attacks, all based on your character; I initially ran the route of a mage with a magic bolt of limitless blue lighting firing from a staff. But from there expect to gain access to special attacks as you move forward – a delightful blue ball of energy that could be summoned and controlled was always a pleasure.
You’ll be using these attacks on the hordes of enemies rushing at you, coming from all sides in absolutely huge numbers, and all manner of shapes and sizes as well; little rats to huge horrible monsters with poisonous special attacks. For the most part, from there on out what you’re left with is a bit of a button masher, hitting as much as you can in as little time as possible. It’s not all about the offensive work though, and thankfully a heal button comes in handy; just be aware of the cooldown time that is attached to it.
For success, the special attacks are key, and utilisation of them cleverly will dictate a win or loss. For example, you can get access to a teleport special that is handy at moving you out of striking distance when the horde is bearing down on you. There are other ones too though, letting you rain lighting down from the sky or spend time pushing out fire. You collect energy from the kills taking place around you, and when a power meter builds up enough you will find the ability to unleash a huge special attack that will devastate enemies in a short amount of time. I love this move and always waited on it until I hit a boss, to my detriment most times.
Throughout Warhammer: Chaosbane Slayer Edition you’ll spot loot drops from enemies, and especially from bosses. You can make that loot drop even more rewarding by working the difficulty level, or allowing for abilities and skills that increase your percentage of better drops. There’s a host of micromanaging required in everything you do though, with detailed upgrades in amour, weapons, rings, boots and gloves. It’ll require you to be a master of all RPGs in order to find the perfect balance – something many will relish as they hunt the chance to customise the best layout.
The Slayer Edition of Chaosbane gives a big chunk of content to play with, and has enough to involve oneself in with plenty of replay value found in actioning each of the levels again with extra challenges. I found the experience of playing alone a bit repetitive after a while, left to hammering face buttons and taking on special attacks the moment they would come out of cooldown. By the tenth dungeon, I was on autopilot and going through the motions. Online it’s more fun, and that experience should translate to the local scene as well. It’s great to see different classes battle it out and the chaos on screen unfold.
Speaking of how it looks and Warhammer: Chaosbane Slayer Edition on Xbox Series X sees everything come across as smooth as silk. There is not a hint of lag, there is zero screen tearing, and it’s great to see hundreds of creatures fighting it out to the death. The visuals look good as well, with a nice tone running through them and some good detail working the backgrounds. In terms of the audio, and it sounds both epic and dramatic with some great effects. The voice-over is a bit over the top, and certainly quite hammy, but it feels perfect within the context of the universe.
Warhammer: Chaosbane Slayer Edition on Xbox Series X is a game that will appease its fanbase massively. With this new updated version everything feels great to play and is extremely good to look at. There is a whole load of content all packaged together, and even though a single adventurer may find repetition coming to the fore, those who can find like-minded fans to join them will discover this to be a blast.