Jun 14

Refunded: Space Hulk: Ascension

Written by Jon Carr Read 1 time
Space Hulk

I've had my eye on Space Hulk for awhile. I am a huge Warhammer 40K fan, so the game seemed right up my alley. However, the more static nature of the first entry didn't capture me enough to purchase it. Then the developers put out Space Hulk: Ascension, an updated sequel with new features that I thought I would enjoy: Upgrades to your Space Marines, more weapons, alternate firing modes and multiple campaigns.

With the advent of the Steam Summer Sale, this seemed like a great time to pick it up. Lo and behold, on day one, Ascension was 50% off. With the new Steam Refunds policy I bought the game worry free. Though just to be sure, I set a 90 minute timer on my iphone, then started playing. (Games you have played over 2 hours are nonrefundable.)

I played for an hour and was mostly enjoying myself. The game's graphics and audio were perfectly Warhammer 40k, and I want to give a special shoutout to the audio, with bolter fire and flamethrowers rumbling my ears as I cut down genestealers. The pacing and difficulty were about what I expected. The game is hard and demands deliberate play. I was fine with all of these things.

However, over the course of 90 minutes the game crashed on me four times. None of this was in a mission, but rather loading or exiting missions. Even if I didn't lose any progress this is still quite annoying and pulls you out of the game. I may have been willing to overlook such crashes if weren't for the clunky navigation system you must utilize to control your Space Marines. I frequently found myself misclicking on the miniscule buttons while attempting to maneuver a Marine into a particular position. This would lead to outright mission failure as a unit would face the wrong way, or run out of Action Points to use. Then one, or more units would instantly be killed by the genestealers. (Props to the kill animations though.)

I was going to retry the mission again, but then the game crashed on me while loading. That's when I uninstalled and initated my refund. I typed in the message box "I really wanted to love this game as a Warhammer fan, but all the crashing and clunky UI are making me return it.

A few hours later Steam gave me my money back. Awesome! Steam has now instilled in me a confidence to test out games I am not 100% sure about.

There are concerns the refund system could be abused which I believe is a valid concern, though Valve has said they will be watching for such behavior. We will see how it all works out down the  road.

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