Warhammer 40,000: Boltgun – Marine Boomer Shooter Review

A wise man once wrote that there are better places to enter the Warhammer universe than just a primitive action with marines. He was right, not all stories focusing on superhuman Space Marines are ideal and can often be boring. There’s much better stuff like Gaunt’s ghosts and such. However, we will not talk about Warhammer lore. It is a donkey bridge to one such marine game, which is Boltgun. He has that frenetic action, unwavering faith in the Emperor and in the role of, unexpectedly, one Ultramarine.

First and only

Boltgun isn’t the only game to feature fighters from Ultramar. There is Space Marine, which is waiting for a new part, but in its context we can also talk about more modern games. Boltgun is nothing more than a so-called boomer shooter. An ode to old FPS titles like Doom, Heretic or Hexen and others (fill in according to your taste and childhood memories), where it is nothing but raw action, pieces of bodies, heavy weapons and a game style based on the fact that if you stop, do you have a problem. But the big pity is that the game is seen only from the point of view of the Ultramarines, for a proper massacroid action the authors could have chosen Blood Angels, they could have gone to the Night Lords, thunder, even hitting the World Eaters would have added a new dimension to the simple concept.

The latter, in the case of Boltgun, offers three chapters in which the player visits worlds from the vast galactic empire and faces various spawns of Chaos. If you know your way around Warhammer, you will recognize the individual archetypes and often the forms of the enemies from the first moments. The authors did not invent anything new here, nor did they try to be original in the design of the enemies, so I often felt that I was actually playing Chaos Gate, for example, because the cultists seemed to be out of sight of their more polished counterparts from the modern game. This is by no means a criticism, Boltgun has mastered this aspect to perfection.

Here you will encounter renegades from the ranks of the Adeptus Mechanicus in green robes, demons from the family of good old Nurgle or Tzeench, and the experience would not be complete without some proper marine vs. marine action. Fighters are mainly recruited from the ranks of Chaos Undivided and Black Legion worshipers, they wear classic armor, sometimes a terminator appears or, on the contrary, fighters in lighter armor, in which they will talk to you face-to-face instead of shooting from a distance.

Since we’re talking about a representative of the boomer shooter genre, these pixelated enemies have several important aspects that are worth mentioning. First of all, all Cultists and Mechanicus members don’t usually appear from pure warp. They are statically spread across vast levels, waiting to be activated. If you noticed at this point and remembered Doom, where enemies didn’t activate until you were in their line of sight, you’re in the right place. It happened to me many times while playing that thanks to the confusing corridors in each level, I got into the back of some enemies, when one well-aimed blow was enough to make several of them fall. On the other hand, the authors boast that, in addition to referring to the nineties, they also added something from modern FPS and offer technology that works on the artificial intelligence of enemies and adds a new level to their behavior. Unfortunately, I can neither confirm nor deny this, because during the game there is simply no time for situations in which such a thing would manifest itself. You run and shoot.

The Guns of Tanith

In any case, shooting is the alpha and omega of every marine, despite the possession of a nicely shiny chainsword, ready to slice up enemies. It can be used on a random cannon fur, just as you occasionally reach for it for decoration in the most furious sequences. It’s just that it’s mapped to the right mouse button and you have a varied arsenal of weapons at hand, so the chainsword isn’t used nearly as often as the Warhammer sword deserves.

This is partly by design, because despite your own armor and superhuman nature, you can’t let your health and armor eat away by trying to get close to enemies first. Even cultist projectiles bite, and especially in closed arenas, every hit to your blue suit counts. Not to mention throwing fireball-spewing demons into the action.

However, it has to be acknowledged that the selection of weapons and grenades is varied enough that you don’t have to complain. Cultists will be handled with ease by your standard bolter, while for everything else you’ll choose weapons based on the situation, difficulty, or hectic nature of the closed arena situation. For more mass events, a plasma rifle or a shotgun will work great. There will also be such fads as grav-gun or melta cannon, but the heavy bolter has become my most faithful companion for most situations in the game. This Warhammer alternative to the rotary machine gun works extremely well, doesn’t suffer from reloading, and since you can’t avoid more ammo when you’re constantly moving around the map, you can, if you’re lucky, shoot as you go and enjoy the colossal trigger you leave in your wake.

The feel of the action is very good in Boltgun, and it’s helped by the fact that you can’t just mindlessly run into every shot your opponent throws at you. Especially the encounters with more enemy marines are worth it, not to mention the bosses and mini-bosses. There are quite a few of them and they usually have some tricky mechanics prepared for you, around which you have to build an otherwise pure FPS action. What surprised me, and what I would personally cancel, are the health indicators of exactly such enemies. It’s a surprisingly modern twist on a boomer shooter that spoils the question: “Why aren’t you dying?!” While you’re seriously running out of ammo, health, and armor.

Armour of Contempt

The Armor of Contempt concept, familiar from the Warhammer tabletop (and also the title of a great Gaunt book), has found its way here as well, and belongs to the category of mechanisms that give the Boltgun authors plus points for overall processing. In addition to first aid kits, you will also find tokens named after the Armor of Contempt. Look no further than that, but it’s a nice nod. However, the truth is that it’s not just your Ultramarine who needs armor, but you need to armor yourself sometimes. And above all, patience.

Even though Boltgun is another of the series of games that know how to take the 40’s Warhammer license to the right end, I perceive shortcomings more on the side of the processing of the game itself. Now let’s put aside that it’s a shame about the untapped potential we got jen boomer shooter. Something tells me that in a modern jacket, the game would be able to compete with established brands and series like Doom or Wolfenstein with a clear conscience. It’s a shame that the authors didn’t take inspiration from, say, Hexen and give players a choice of three different marine archetypes. Apothecary, classic Tactical Marine as in this case, and then maybe Terminator. The game could have been many times more interesting, offered replayability and added some special abilities on that occasion. It’s great that the player’s charge can read into the Codex when inactive, or can make enemies choke with speeches about faith in the Emperor. Project Warlock had magic, weapon upgrades, and a home base.

What Boltgun has, on the other hand, and what I consider to be the weakest aspect of the game, is the absence of a map in the vast levels. Sometimes unnecessarily too huge. It will often happen that you will be slowly looking for an ending, some change or “something” that would at least give you a false sense of progress, only to either reach the next arena spread over several floors, or to find that you are missing colored key to the next door.

In one of the levels, the developers decided to impress by blending reality and warp and… God, it really didn’t turn out very well and it wasn’t fun to fall down again and again and find out where to go. A frenetic FPS suddenly became an annoying puzzle thing. You’d expect to run through the relatively short levels for five minutes, and instead end up finding yourself spending twenty minutes plodding along. I would rather have two more comprehensive and better designed maps than one large, confusing and actually empty in places.

Fan servitor… Or service

Last but not least, I would like to mention two more things. The first is that for some reason the game automatically offers Czech. In my opinion, Czech and Warhammer is already a bizarre combination, and it is also a sad truth that not all translations have the necessary quality. Be it the nomenclature of the parties, or the technical levels as such. Because of the lousy Czech, Boltgun seems cheaper than it should be.

The second interesting thing is that the player has a flying servo-skull at his disposal, which is not dubbed, but writes all sorts of prompts to you in the upper left corner, which is a place on the screen where you usually don’t have time to look and read the texts, because you’re just watching the action directly in front of you and dodge projectiles. The background story is pretty much useless in Boltgun, as is the chatty skull flying around.

Warhammer 40,000: Boltgun

So what to take away from all this? The fact that the twenty euro sticker is not excessive for what game you get. Fans of the 40s universe will certainly be pleased with the countless little things in the game, as well as the very successful adaptation of the idea of ​​what a day in the life of an Adeptus Astartes looks like. This aspect is handled extremely well. The event, if it’s going on, is fun. Everything else can then be waved in the context of how much you love Warhammer. However, Boltgun could have been a better game if it tried to include some elements like other boomer shooter titles do. The potential for growth was definitely there (or is).

Source: Games by games.tiscali.cz.

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