With every early access game fine tuning and balancing is the key to success; things that the developers of Eternal Crusade threw out of the window.
Eternal Crusade is set in the Warhammer 40K universe on a distant planet where the Chaos Space Marines, Space Marines, Eldar and Orks fight against each other in order to try and claim dominance over the planet. With these factions constantly going at each other, battles are always different, with a variety of different weapons it's hard to predict just what the enemy will do beyond play into their strengths! With the orks enjoying the rush of combat and most of their tactics consisting of charging the enemy and whittling them down or dragging them into close quarters fighting whilst the Eldar would much rather sit back and pick everyone off one by one.
Combat itself within the game is a bit difficult to judge, with each gun having its own benefits such as the bolter being a good all round gun, but the master of nothing, and the lascannon being a one-hit kill to anyone but having a charge up time makes it a very difficult to use against your opponents. Melee, however, is poor. Beyond the satisfaction of executions which you can perform on downed enemies, combat is nothing more than a button spam, left click to hit and bind a button to block. Smack these buttons randomly and chances are you will kill your opponent.
Normally this wouldn’t be an issue in a third person shooter but sadly a key feature of the game is supposed to be, melee. With a handful of classes being based around a pistol and a sword or mace of some sort to compliment it. I despise the melee within this game which is upsetting as I had hoped that it would improve over time but clearly this didn’t occur.
Each race has its own classes but these are always very similar copies of each other just with different names. In essence, the classes are jetpack trooper, a support/mage of some sort, a soldier, a heavy and finally some sort of specialists which in the case of the Space Marines is a Space Marine equipped with a shield and melee weapon.
The factions aren’t balanced at all, with clearly limited thought put into all of them with the execution of the Space Marines. The Eldar, Orks and Chaos Space Marines have a much more limited selection of upgrades and accessories, something I can confirm as I have a character in each of the factions. With 18 hours into the game most of it has been watching the Space Marines winning almost constantly, by a landside most times.
Finally, the game is unfinished! Half of the features, including a persistent conflict map and the MMO features being missing or non existent in most cases. The thousands of weapons we were promised are limited to barely a few different variants of standard weaponry. I can’t seem to feel a difference with any of the guns, no matter which one I pick, it feels almost identical to the original version. Just looking a bit fancy.
The advanced classes aren’t implemented yet either, another key feature that we were promised in the full release of the game. With all these things missing I can honestly say I am deeply disappointed.
Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade (Reviewed on Windows)
The game is average, with an even mix of positives and negatives.
The game is an unfinished and sloppy mess. With the majority of balancing and tweaking yet to be done there are some questionable items in the game, such as the previous mentioned shield for the Space Marines which seems to be capable of blocking all projectiles fired towards it. The shooting mechanics are alright but third person cover has always been something I have detested, being able to see over walls whilst hidden behind it often leads to some unfair and one sided gunfights.