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    jp's Space Hulk: Ascension (PS4)

    [December 29, 2018 08:33:35 PM]

    This game is a veritable gold mine for UI-related game design snacks. Bad ones.

    Space Hulk (and Blood Bowl) are two of my guilty game pleasures. I currently have two more Space Hulk videogames on the shelf waiting. And this one? Well, it goes straight back on the shelf. Such a disappointment.

    To be fair, I've had to chew on things I did not appreciate that were just "different" in terms of game design - and things that were poor design overall. It's not easy, especially since I'm a real fan of the boardgame (the early editions, haven't played the newer ones yet). In the end, I gave up after the tutorial and two missions. Maybe it was three.

    Design differences I didn't like (but I don't think are "invalid" design choices):

    a. In the regular boardgame you can see (and count) how many spaces there are between locations on the board - and you can effectively see the entire board. You might not know how many genestealers there are (blips instead of figures), but you get used to figuring out how to spend your action points. Here, there is "fog of war" for everything - not just blips to stealers, but also for the layout of the map. This means that you have to play the game quite differently in order to be successful (IMO, you have to play "slower" so as to avoid having a stealer break through your perimeter and quickly take out all your marines).

    b. You need to reload, and your weapons overheat. (they also jam, but that was in the original game). I don't know if this costs AP (to reload) or not...and you can also vent heat (does it cost AP?) So I was mostly confused by these new actions...

    Bad UI (and design)

    a. Color contrast was really poor - making it hard to see which marine was selected, what they were selected for and such.

    b. I could never tell how many AP I had left - or how many I had spent. I still don't understand how the AP worked in the videogame, but I was able to play from my knowledge of the boardgame (4/marine, but then you have some extras)

    c. I had marines change their facing after I was done with them - thus leaving them pointing in the wrong direction! Many died like that. Very frustrating.

    d. When the stealers take their turn, the camera doesn't move - so you have to guess what is happening and where if you don't happen to have that scene focused.

    e. Some mission objectives were super vague - they were explained narratively, but not in terms of gameplay. E.g. "We must rescue our fellow marine, but we need to cleanse him if he's tainted". The fellow marine was dead. What are you supposed to do? Reach his location with another marine did nothing. I THINK you had to use the flamethrower on him - but I'm not sure that did the trick either. Why? Because there's no overview of the map, so if you don't pan around and see a new exit, well, you'll just stand around waiting.

    f. A lot of the text is really small. I don't sit THAT far from the large TV, but still...

    g. Selecting/unselecting and choosing actions with your marines is pretty cumbersome - if you can get it to work. I had trouble selecting a marine I hand't used yet and having him move forward - I could change his facing no problem, but sending him somewhere was a problem.

    h. In Space Hulk your facing matters and turns cost AP, so, you need to carefully plan out your moves - e.g. This guy moves backwards, but doesn't change facing is often important. I had no idea how to get any of that to work right (you tend to move, and then set facing) in a way that spent the right amount of AP (so that I could set overwatch, for example). I lost a lot of marines because I thought I could set overwatch and then couldn't afford it in terms of AP.

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    jp's Space Hulk: Ascension (PS4)

    Current Status: Stopped playing - Got frustrated

    GameLog started on: Saturday 1 December, 2018

    GameLog closed on: Saturday 29 December, 2018

    jp's opinion and rating for this game

    No comment, yet.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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