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Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team (Xbox 360) artwork

Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team (Xbox 360) review


"With all the stylish games that have come out this summer, it's good to have one like Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team to cleanse the old palate. It's not a perfect title, but it does what it should while providing a fun and short experience."



The new Warhammer 40K game doesn't feature original gameplay, nor will you find colorful storybook graphics, references to tribal culture, or deep social themes. Even the name, Kill Team, lacks the depth that many of the exciting and original games this summer have showcased. This is a game that has no illusions about what it is: a heart-pounding, fast-paced hybrid shooter/hack 'n slash with a challenging bite.

Kill Team provides you with a simple objective: eradicate anything that moves and destroy anything that looks useful to the enemy. To do this, you must pick from one of four space marine classes, and depending on which one you settle on your play through may differ. Choose either the Librarian or Vanguard Veteran, both melee specialists, and you'll spend most of your time hacking Orks and Tyranids (horrific aliens that resemble the xenomorphs from the Alien franchise) to bits. The ranged specialists, the Techmarine and Sternguard, are ideal for picking off enemies from afar.

Orks don't come at you one at a time or during a few scattered instances here and there. They routinely storm you in massive mobs from every angle, pouring out from damaged pipes, crammed crannies and secret shafts. You must be prepared to deal with them at all times. A simple mash of the ‘A’ button can dispatch a whole front line with the swing of a mighty blade. If you're more into range, you can tilt the right analog stick in the corresponding direction you wish you to shoot and fire bolter rounds. That setup allows you to run and gun with ease, as many scenes will have you shooting in one direction and running in another. In situations where you're utterly cornered, you can belt out a devastating special attack that can clear the board faster than you can blink. Don't worry about stockpiling special attack power ups, either; they recharge over time, and do so even faster if you’re racking up kills. Essentially, Kill Team plays like a cross between Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance and Smash TV.

Assisting you in your quest to exterminate Orks and Tyranids are power-ups that give your blade extra sharpness or your gun boosted speed. You can also pick up grenades to help decimate large groups, or snag a shield to protect yourself from projectiles.

Hack apart or gun down your opponents and you'll accrue points, with bonuses awarded when you take out many targets in a single frenzy. As you gain more points, you'll unlock new perks and weaponry. Each character can have up to two perks, which boost various stats like melee damage or health or even give you specific advantages like extra grenade slots or a faster special attack recharge time. You can also trade in your measly blade and bolter for better weapons. That irksome chainsword eventually becomes a brutal lightning claw that can deftly slice through hordes of Orks, and the heavy bolter is nothing compared to a rapid fire rocket launcher.

It may sound repetitive only having to fight Orks and Tyranids, but the game provides you with a wide variety of enemies from both races. Many of the weaker enemies will swarm you, but can be easily taken out. Other larger foes will run at you with a massive choppa (an Orkish weapon) or blast you from afar with powerful ranged weaponry. If you still have reservations, remember also that it wouldn't make much sense to have any other Warhammer 40k races on an Ork vessel.

So far I’ve made this game sound like nothing but a cake walk. Just close your eyes and mash the ‘A’ button as bodies pile up, right? Kill Team likes to lull you into believing you're an unstoppable badass, then drag you back down to earth and kick your face in several times. Hordes will overwhelm you, and you'll become Swiss cheese under the barrage of their bullets. With a fresh character, lacking access to better weapons and perks, you'll find yourself lying in a pool of your own blood quite often. The game throws some tricky scenarios at you, most of which beg you to prioritize if you're playing solo. One scene asks you to take out four giant pistons, all of which are reinforced by layers of patched-on armor, while trying to survive against endlessly spawning Orks. Another scene will place you on moving platforms and require you to make use of the radar on the bottom right of the screen as you gun down off-screen Spore Mines--essentially living bombs--while defending a power cell used to activate an elevator. Let that power cell explode and it's curtains for you and your mission.

Such scenes add variety to a game that certainly can use the variety. What’s especially nice is that these scenes are appropriate within the genre. You aren't out performing such ill-fitting tasks as solving puzzles or platform jumping.

Kill Team would be a perfect short-but-sweet title if it weren't for two setbacks.

The first setback is that the game ends long before you’ll want it to. It only features five missions, and even though some of them can take thirty minutes or more to complete on your first playthrough, THQ should have offered another few missions. Heck, even some DLC missions would be nice. As things stand, the game is on the short side even when you count the Survival Mode. The only upside is that the notion of playing through with the other classes isn’t as daunting as it might have been if the game boasted a longer campaign.

And while Kill Team certainly features scenarios that are best played with a friend, it only features local multiplayer. There's no Live support whatsoever. This could be a deal breaker for some gamers, but it hopefully shouldn't dissuade you from playing this otherwise fantastic game.

With all the stylish games that have come out this summer, it's good to have one like Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team to cleanse the old palate. It's not a perfect title, but it does what it should while providing a fun and short experience. It should help to tide Warhammer 40k fans over until Space Marine hits stores. If what you're looking for is a gimmick-free, action-packed romp, then Kill Team is a wise investment of your 800 MSP.

Rating: 7/10

JoeTheDestroyer's avatar
Freelance review by Joseph Shaffer (August 06, 2011)

Rumor has it that Joe is not actually a man, but a machine that likes video games, horror movies, and long walks on the beach. His/Its first contribution to HonestGamers was a review of Breath of Fire III.

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SamildanachEmrys posted August 12, 2011:

Another nicely written review. I was on the fence about this game, and I still am - but at least now I have reasons to be.

'Pallet' should be 'palate' though. :p
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honestgamer posted August 12, 2011:

Nice proofing! I didn't catch that when I read through the review. I don't believe Joe has editing capabilities once the review is posted as a freelance staff review, so I've made the suggested update.
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JoeTheDestroyer posted August 13, 2011:

Good catch!
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threetimes posted August 13, 2011:

Hordes will overwhelm you, and you'll become Swiss cheese under the barrage of their bullets

You have a knack for giving a nice image. :D I really got a feel for this game after reading this review with the good descriptions of various scenarios. It also seemed to roll along at a fast pace which kind of reflected the gameplay, Don't know if that was intentional but it works.

One very tiny thing: With a fresh character, lacking access to better weapons and perks, you'll find yourself lying in a pool of your own blood quite often. The "quite often" seemed to take away from the impact of this sentence.
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SamildanachEmrys posted August 13, 2011:

Fair (tiny :p ) point, threetimes. 'You'll often find yourself lying in a pool of your own blood' might flow a little better while essentially saying the same thing.

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