You may have missed the release of Eisenhorn: XENOS on PC this week because, despite being an official Warhammer 40K game, it doesn’t say that in its title. You may also have missed it because it is a very bad video game.
Eisenhorn: XENOS is actually an iPad game that, for whatever reason, was also deemed suitable to be ported to the PC in 2016. It is not.
Below you’ll find the first few minutes of the game. Let this be your last encounter with it.
Oh, hi there. Video not working? Want to read more? Well, Positives first: the game (and the main character) is narrated by actor Mark Strong, who is very good, but whose agent now needs to be fired. It is also, by all accounts, a fairly faithful adaptation of the Eisenhorn book series.
And now the negatives: everything else. Let’s start with how the game is sold in its description:
‘Eisenhorn: XENOS’ is an immersive, fully 3D adventure game, adapted from ‘Xenos’, the first book in Games Workshop’s best-selling ‘Eisenhorn’ trilogy, written by award winning author Dan Abnett.
Set in the grim, dark future of Warhammer 40,000 ‘Eisenhorn: XENOS’ lets you experience firsthand the story of Gregor Eisenhorn, an Inquisitor and member of the ‘Ordo Xenos’, sent out to fight and protect the Imperium of man from anything that may threaten it.
Players will get to play through and experience the events of ‘Xenos’ as Eisenhorn himself (as voiced by Mark Strong), exploring the vast expanse of the Warhammer 40k universe in ways never seen before.
Given that the character of Eisenhorn in the books is basically Sherlock Holmes In Space, combined with that write-up you’d think this would be something approaching an adventure game, no? A Telltale-like experience where you’d wander the halls of the 40K universe talking to people and solving crimes?
Nope. Given how distant and lifeless so many 40K games are, that would have been nice! Instead, what we’ve got here is a barren third-person action game that would have been terrible on the PS2, let alone the PC in 2016. Even allowing for the lower bar on mobile, I can’t see a smaller screen and worse control inputs making this a better game.
It looks like garbage. The voice acting, Strong aside, sucks. Eisenhorn moves like a golem made out of hardened poop. Combat is slow and dreary, animations barely work (the “slow-down” after a combo kill is hilarious), the stealth and investigation sections are tedious and the camera angle is suffocating.
I mean, when we say there are too many Warhammer games coming out, this is exactly what we mean. There’s no quality control going on with the license. As a 40K fan I almost missed this in the flood of Warhammer games (some of which, like Total War and Battlefleet Gothic, have been good!) that have hit over the last few months. Then, having played it, I wish I actually had.