Space Hulk: Deathwing made me feel like one of Warhammer 40K’s elite Space Marines in the same way that the renaissance festival made me feel like a knight when I was called up onto a stage as a kid to be dubbed by a fake king. The first-person hall-crawling and Tyranid-zapping through a massive, abandoned ship graveyard works well on a basic level, but you don’t have to look very closely to see through the trappings to the shallow experience beneath. And like realizing that stately king was an actor getting paid to wear goofy clothes on the weekends, it left me with a sense of disappointment.
To its credit, Deathwing offered me several brief moments of outright, fanboyish glee. Clunking around in Terminator armor while cleansing a hallway of dozens and dozens of enemies, using an autocannon of a caliber that is normally reserved for vehicles, and literally wading through the corpses of the dead toward an objective marker in the near distance that read simply: “Purge”, I was ecstatic. It’s what playing as a Space Marine should feel like. It had me convinced that a first-person shooter was the ideal way to present this particular fantasy.