Warhammer 40,000: Boltgun PC Review

Are you ready to slay some heretics?

By AtillaTuran, Posted 23 May 2023

Nowadays, in the gaming market, we have a high amount of “boomer-shooters” to choose from. You might ask what a boomer-shooter is and that's a fairly reasonable thing to ask and we won’t judge you for it. The early 90s saw the emergence of the FPS genre and surprisingly, those games, despite being ancient, still have a high player count with many mods and active communities.

Since they are easy to modify and alter (the older games that is), they have higher replay value even with the same weapons and core gameplay design. That’s what makes boomer-shooters a high hit on the market whenever some new title shows up because the idea is the same, the only twist is how you approach that idea and what else you can deliver.

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Not to say that is a bad thing, but there is an overflow of boomer-shooters on the shelves as people usually keep jumping on bandwagons that do sell, however, I saw the opposite with Warhammer 40.000: Boltgun when I first saw it. My anticipation with its presentation was quite high, although I still had a pinch of salt in there as new releases tend to steer away from what is promised. But no, Boltgun did actually deliver all these positive attributes that it gained through its development thanks to the creativity behind the idea.

As we all know, Warhammer 40.000: Boltgun is a massive universe with deep lore and endless facts about imperials and heretics of the distant galaxy. Pretty sure you won’t find any problems while playing Boltgun if you know the series by heart. But for the non-initiated, do not worry. Even if you are very distant from the series or lore, Boltgun will help you understand the basics of Warhammer and also deliver quite a distinguished example of how important it is to keep loyal to the series. On the other hand, let’s say that you don’t even care about Warhammer 40.000: Boltgun, and you are searching for a new FPS that is sophisticated enough to draw your interest. Boltgun would still be able to deliver that quality even if you want to get satisfied by shooting guns and killing baddies.

We do not want to get in detail with the story because it is rather simple, and explaining in detail might just be spoiling it all together, so it's better to talk about it shortly. As a Sternguard Space Marine, you are tasked to check up on Forge World Graia, that was cleaned from heretics in the past. Unfortunately, recent scans still show that the planet is still seeing some disastrous action of Inquisitor Drogan. A power source, which the Emperor thought to have ceased operation, is now back online and causing distress to the people of the planet. As we said, it is simple and doesn’t require that much knowledge of the Warhammer universe. Your main rival and a sworn enemy is causing trouble, and you have to finish off their evil henchmen.

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Let’s talk about the meat and potatoes of the whole deal: The gameplay. It is actually very good, but it does take some time to get used to. You have your standard movement keys and action buttons with a keyboard and mouse. It is not suggested, but you can still play with a gamepad, though to get the best feeling of Boltgun, a keyboard and mouse are suggested. For extra abilities, you got a grenade and a dash button accompanying your gameplay. Only thing that would sort of disturb you from the regular boomer-shooter movement is that our Space Marine is wearing an excessively heavy suit, therefore, his movements are always floaty. You might do some parkours by sliding off the walls or hanging onto ledges to get on top of obstacles, but you are still floaty when it comes to airborne combat.

Talking about combat, Warhammer 40.000: Boltgun has actually decent progression that you would expect from any old boomer-shooter. You don’t actually get to start with firearms though, classic titles such as Doom or Quake would have let you start with a pistol that does pitiful damage, but you’d eventually get to build your inventory with powerful weapons. In Boltgun, you have your trusty Chainsword to begin with and in the first few minutes, you learn the basics of movement and actions that you can do.

So a slow start with your sword is a nice welcoming sign. Even though the moment you pick up your trade-marked weapon, Boltgun (Get it? Because it’s in the title.), you can start racking up some long-range kills. Unfortunately, Boltgun is too powerful in the first stages, so it becomes a bit tedious to get into fights that you would win all the time. The enemies you encounter can easily die to two hits, or one hit if you happen to shoot them in the head, so dealing with one to two enemies at a time with both Chainsword and Boltgun is an easy task, this also includes the very hard difficulty.

Graphics wise Warhammer 40.000: Boltgun has an odd mix of choices, but not in a bad way. Sprite work complements the 3D map design, with oddly low-frame weapon animations, it looks pretty sharp. It is something we surely haven’t seen before, but it works out very nicely. When it comes to blood and gore, it can be easily said that atmosphere in Boltgun is quite dark and heavy, which sets it quite boldly on top of the gameplay.

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There are cultists, monsters, wildlife, and spirits that try to stop you, and all of them have different types of attacks. It must be said that just like any other boomer-shooter, in-fighting also exists in Boltgun, as during our gameplay, we have seen monsters attacking cultists because of crossfire which is a nice touch. Other games like Blood, Dusk and Quake also employ in-fighting, but they usually go unnoticed due to their fast-paced nature.

Weapons are… Well, to say they are very punchy and feel extremely great to use. Your arsenal ranges from shotguns to flamethrowers, to gatling guns which all have their unique attributes with damage and reloading. The sound design of weapons makes them feel heavy and impactful on the enemies as every single detail of pellets and bullets hitting the enemy, or damage is taken, gives a response to the player that they have done great damage. In short, the feedback of the weapons are very well-done. As you keep progressing through the story, you are given more powerful weapons to deal with enemies that have a larger pool of health. They usually appear in purge areas where huge amounts of enemies hurl at you in an area while you are trying your best to stay alive.

Before starting the purge, you can find secrets on the way, like the old-fashion of adding secrets behind walls, unreachable areas or hidden paths. One thing to note about secrets is they are not health boosters or extra weapons. The secrets consist of special grenades or ammunition type that boosts the damage of your weapon, such as giving your Boltgun 4 times greater damage round or penetrative, laser-like bullets.

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So keep in mind when you are searching for secrets, it's better to look for one before a big fight. If you are wondering how the health pickups work, the enemies usually drop health items that add +2 health to your bar and sometimes they drop little shields for your armor called “contempt” that also adds a +2 armor bonus. Your health can go up to 250, and armor can go up to 200 points each, which is great because, after all, our Space Marine is built like a tank.

You know, so far, every bit of Warhammer 40.000: Boltgun mentioned in this article is positive, aren’t there supposed to be negatives, you might ask. There are, but they are mostly nitpicky and sometimes not even that blatant. One of them is the lack of map viewing tools because if the premise of the game is about reminiscing old shooter games, or even trying to be one, not including a map is a big mistake. Some of the maps do look good, but with all the depressive tones of brown, black and gray, it is hard to diminish doors or pathways from the scenery and it can lead to being lost in a map for 30 minutes straight. Having a map would make things a hundred times better but for some reason, it is not there.

To compensate for the lack of a compass or a map, developers decided to give you a companion to aid you on the way of finding items, learning about the backstory of a town, reminding us of our reason to be in Graia, finding alternative routes, and much more. This lantern-looking sidekick does help sometimes, with its red, glowing flare to point out the items, but it almost felt as if it wasn’t needed because you, as a player, already can sort out everything by just exploring. Even on the negatives, we can find positives about the game. Just like any other boomer-shooter, Boltgun actually rewards you for exploring the map by giving you clues on parkours or stashing hidden health bonuses or weapons in places that you wouldn’t ever visit.

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Another small issue to encounter is the totally unnecessary amount of ammunition laid around the map. You already have a large capacity of ammo stored in your backpack, and most of the enemies do not even take more than one single clip to kill. With most of the bullets and shells laying around to be not picked up makes it quite irritating. In our playthrough, we never came across an ammo depletion scenario whatsoever, even on hard difficulty. To sum it all up, our little requests would be adding a map to get people back on track if they ever get lost and maybe tone down the pickup rate of items scattered around the map.

Warhammer 40.000: Boltgun is an exquisite boomer-shooter to play. Everything from music to graphics and gameplay screams quality and it is totally worth the $20 price tag. Developers Autorch did a solid job on Boltgun, and we can praise them for adding much care and love into making such a great shooter. We highly suggest you pick up Warhammer 40.000: Boltgun if you are itching for an old-style FPS.

Editor, NoobFeed

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General Information

Platform(s): PC, PS5, XBSX, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Publisher(s): Focus Entertainment
Developer(s): Auroch Digital
Genres: First-Person Shooter
Themes: Boomer Shooter, Retro FPS
Release Date: 2023-05-23

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