Warhammer 40,000: Boltgun Review (2023)

our verdict

Boltgun is incredibly fun - a delight for Warhammer players and a worthy member of the growing legion of retro shooters.

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Boltgun is the first truly exceptional Warhammer 40,000 game sincedawn of war19 years ago An intense FPS with a retro theme in the styles of Doom and Quake, Boltgun follows the "Veteran Stern", a faceless and nameless Ultramarines soldier commandeered by the submissive Inquisition and unleashed upon the treacherous Black Legion and their demons. To the uninitiated, a Space Marine is a violently hateful silverback gorilla with the brains of a 14-year-old. What separates them from the average gym goer is the 10 tons of nuclear armor they are entombed in. Walking is a bit slow, but turn on autorun in the accessibility menu and the Veteran becomes a giant pile of metal and meat, a rabbit tornado of pure carnage and fervor. It's one of the few cases where a licensed Warhammer game adequately conveys the sheer power of a single Space Marine.

I need to know

What is it?Warhammer 40 000 FPS retro

Release date:May 23, 2023

Wait payment:$ 22 / £ 19

Programmer:uro digital

Editor:focus on fun

Seen in:Windows 10, Ryzen R7 5700g, 16 GB DDR4 RAM-a, Radeon RX 5700


Connection:page of steam

As a 40K fan with a deep love for the older, veteran boomer source material, I was delighted to find that Boltgun stands out as a tribute to 41st millennium madness, on a par with recent classics Dusk, Ultrakill, and In. . the medium of evil

Boltgun's maps are typically linear corridors overrun by cultists and lesser demons, directing the veteran to larger battlefields where powerful champions and rising demons lurk. The Doom-esque card quests are kept to a minimum, but there's clever level design to get you back through the bleak industrial zones you've already cleared.

The scale of these levels can be incredible. The ruined cliff stronghold from the start features a series of massive cannon points supporting great wrought iron beams, while in the distance float the cleansed corpses of the titanic heat machines that once carried them into battle. An unsettling setup near the end of Chapter 1 threw me through a warp portal, where my ever-present servo-skull obediently informed me that "geometry has now gone non-Euclidean." I got stuck in an endless jumble of gothic arched bridges until I started following the patterns of sails, sigils, and sacrificial supports that led me toward the exit.

Both the occasionally haunting atmosphere and fast-paced combat are heightened by an incredible arrangement of murky guitars, pounding industrial beats, and monastic chants and harpsichords.

What really struck me was how organic it sounded, as if the industrial heart of man's fascist empire was being given musical form. At its best, Boltgun's music sounds like Nine Inch Nails' Pretty Hate Machine played live in the Vatican.

Daemonhead form code

The enemies you consider to be one of the Emperor's angels are wonderfully varied. There's a lot going on beyond the usual Chaos Space Marines and Terminators, like the Aspiring Champion tank fighter who will charge at you with a high-damage chain axe. Sometimes death is not the end for these thugs: after finishing them off, they can come back to life as the "Chosen of Chaos", a raging berserker capable of near-instant death. Hilariously, this entire ritual can be skipped entirely by simply tossing your magazine into your body until there's nothing left for the gods to resurrect.

The real stars on the list are the demons. The guys in Chaos Undivided are like the classic '80s horror thugs from Sam Raimi's never-before-released movie. Lasgun in my head, my favorite being the Pink Horrors, who spawn two blue copies of themselves upon death, which always managed to catch me off guard. Boltgun's intense and frenetic combat always drew my attention elsewhere before I could finish the job properly.

The Boltgun Arsenal includes a Warhammer "Strength vs. Toughness" tabletop check, where the weapon's Strength value must equal or exceed the target's Toughness value to deal significant damage. In practice, it's simpler: if a fighter has a high stamina value, shoot him with a big gun. The emphasis on weapon switching echoes some of Doom Eternal's pattern recall-based shooting, with the only way to reliably penetrate a Tzeentchian Changeling Lord's psychic field by rearranging their atoms with a 7 power plasma gun.

Still, it can be a bit awkward in the heat of battle to remember that the Vengeance Launcher (even though it looks like it could penetrate a carrier hull) is a power 3 and best relegated to cleaning duties.

Warhammer 40,000: Boltgun Review (5)

I found that it all became second nature after a few levels with each weapon. One thing I wish Boltgun's overly minimal HUD communicated better is the ammo in your inventory. You scream your way through the levels at such a breakneck pace and with so many grappling hooks that more than once I found myself staring at the Chaos Terminator, assuming the grappling hooks spent the last 45 seconds climbing on top of the included plasma ammo, only to feel it painfully burst into bloody ledges from a small blow from my mighty fist.

Grenade information is also poorly conveyed, with a single icon on the HUD indicating both the type and quantity of the grenade. With battles this intense, the difference between a frag grenade and a cluster grenade can literally be life or death. Some battles where I was on the verge of victory seemed overtaken with the HUD clearly conveying all the tools at my disposal.

The weapons mostly feel the way they should, just moving away from the vibrations on the table. The Boltgun, a fully automatic rocket launcher literally "bolted" into the rifle's casing, throws out a highly explosive, reliable utility kill against mortals and Chaos Marines alike. The shotgun spews so much lead that entire rooms are stained with the innards of cultists and demons alike. The melee system is fantastic too - right-clicking on an enemy will send you chainswording towards them. Pressing the right mouse button will activate the chainsword; it's great against cultists and lesser demons, but continuing to rapidly fire the shotgun will usually humiliate a Chaos Space Marine arrogant enough to hold their own in the presence of the Emperor's Finest.

The chainsword slash can be done in the air, including charging, allowing for free and bloody movement whenever something heretic is nearby. It's a really tasty mechanic and adds a lot to what would otherwise be a very simple shoot and slice loop. Cultists go from ridiculously pathetic enemies to barely paying attention to a limited mobility resource, and using them as gore-soaked grappling points for tactical positioning kept me fascinated throughout.

The Heavy Shutter deserves a special mention: This ruthless barrage of explosive mayhem makes quick work of just about anything it's aimed at, with a movement speed cap that appropriately reflects its tabletop counterpart's "heavy" weapon type. Driving this portable transhuman death machine made me want to finish painting a heavy bolter support unit for my Iron Warriors army even more. Boltgun is so good that I was blown away by the hazard free lanes.

A new era of chaos

It's always great to take down cultists with a heavy wedge, but as a huge fan of Games Workshop's old miniatures series Chaos Space Marine, I was surprised at how the use of newer Chaos skins in this game prevented Boltgun from feeling authentically true. the 90s. . SPF. It seemed like a really missed opportunity to commit to a little one and scan photos of some of the hideously ugly ones.Chaos Miniatures 2nd Edition. Flipping through the mid 90'sCatalog Games Workshopfeatures a series of minions enthusiastically raiding the graves of science fiction legends Clark, Asimov, Herbert, Heinlein and Giger. It can be a copyright minefield to navigate, but ditching the scanned photos of classic Perry brothers sculptures in favor of cheap-looking pixel art can make Boltgun feel like he's reaching into the recent past and grabbing the references. incorrect.

Warhammer 40,000: Boltgun Review (6)

Still, Warhammer fans of all persuasions will appreciate the attention Boltgun manages to pack into his low-poly models. More than once I sped past a blown-out wall or through ruins that looked like 1:1 copies of unpainted terrain languishing in my "to-do" bin. Entering the reliquary beneath a civilian "apartment block" (what a normal government would call a "city") causes the ever-present servo-skull inquisitor to gently remind you that your every action and movement is being watched and that you breach the proper rituals. will result in punishment. There's even a dedicated taunt button that prompts the veteran to snarl like the quotes you see on t-shirts while waiting in line at the hardware store.

These little details and flourishes of stagnation, hate, and repression are quintessentially 40K and help give Boltgun a sense of identity that sets it apart from other Warhammer games.

Boltgun won me over early with an arena fight in an open cargo bay surrounded by gothic towers, the words "PURGE!" flashing on the screen in blood red. At full health and low on ammo, I had to take on the mutant mob in front of me with just my chainsword and shotgun. I died more than a few times, but finally plunging my sword into Chosen of Chaos really brought back two of my favorite gaming memories: The first time I beat "Dead Simple" on Nightmare difficulty in Doom 2 and destroyed the left flank of my friend Adam with the table. at my local game store.



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Warhammer 40,000: Bólter

Boltgun is incredibly fun - a delight for Warhammer players and a worthy member of the growing legion of retro shooters.

Noah Smith

contributing writer

Noah Smith is a freelance writer from Alberta, Canada. Noah's bag of non-gaming interests and passions include Japanese mecha anime, miniature painting, as well as history, literature, and classical music. Noah also works as a bureaucrat and amateur historian.

More about the Warhammer 40,000 boltgun

The voice acting in this new Boltgun trailer is so bad it made me want to play less.FPS of the past Warhammer 40,000: Boltgun has a release date


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