Warhammer 40,000: Boltgun Review – IGN

Warhammer 40,000: Boltgun Takes You On A Nostalgic Journey

Warhammer 40,000: Boltgun is the ultimate dream of a ’90s Metalhead nerd, with its retro-style first-person shooter gameplay and integration of the beloved sci-fi universe that coined the term “grimdark.” The game packs a lot of fun from the combination of aesthetics, story, and level design of old-school games such as Duke Nukem 3D and the original Doom, and the rich library of character designs from its 35 years of history.

As a Space Marine Sternguard, you’re a decorated elite who doesn’t say much, on a mission to exterminate everything between you and your current objective while loaned out to the scary and mean imperial Inquisition. Don’t expect a complex plot as the game is more focused on intense action-packed shooting.

The game is spread across three chapters, featuring some dozen levels where you must cleanse, purge, and kill every single Chaos-worshiping heretic and daemon on the extremely brown-and-gray forge world of Graia. The game serves as a spinoff-sequel to 2011’s Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine, set in the same location. During the gameplay, players are guided by a Servo-Skull, which offers deadpan in-universe commentary on the world around you.

Boltgun’s retro feel is undeniable, featuring pixelation and a color filter for a simpler, classic aesthetic. While some players can appreciate sharper visuals, the pixel style is a welcomed addition that enhances the game’s overall look and feel. The game takes roughly eight to 10 hours to beat the campaign, which starts a bit slow but ramps up quickly into a strong middle section, ending on a spree of unremarkable end levels, with a few unexpected and fun gems.

Weapons play a crucial role in Boltgun, with a total of eight guns to choose from, in addition to your chainsword. Each firearm has a Strength stat, and every enemy possesses Toughness, with some weapons dealing less damage than others. Players must conserve the appropriate ammunition for powerful enemies and choose between the right weapons to master their combat abilities and movements.

Boltgun relies heavily on Purge Mode, triggering large and creepy enemies spawn in small places, giving players a challenge to evade and obliterate them using their superhuman jumps, sprints, charges, and fall damage immunity.

You have health in Boltgun, but no armor, only Contempt – an exciting feature relevant to the Space Marines’ hyper-zealot warrior-monks, aligning with their armor’s philosophy. While the game has enough variety, it falls short in delivering diverse enemy types, with not more than 20 total bad guys and boss battles. Nonetheless, the level design mostly makes up for it, but halfway through the campaign, looking for colored keys gets a bit repetitive.

In conclusion, Warhammer 40,000: Boltgun is a fantastic game for anyone seeking a dose of nostalgic gameplay with enough novelty and features to offer an exciting experience. While it has some drawbacks, the game delivers what it promises: an immersive adventure into the Warhammer 40,000 universe.