Warhammer 40,000: Fire Warrior presents the 41st century, a dark age dominated by the sinister forces of the Imperium. Players take control of Kais, a young Tau warrior who must battle against war machines, artillery, starships, and other agencies of the Imperium. Kais can choose from 15 different weapons, and he'll need them all for the deadly enemies he encounters. Warhammer 40,000 takes place during a single day of Kais' life, so time is important and players will have to muster their resources carefully to succeed.
Several games have used Games Workshop's popular Warhammer universe as its setting. From fantasy games like Dark Omen and Shadow of the Horned Rat, to sci-fi titles such as Space Hulk, Chaos Gate, and Rites of War, the license has been put to fair use over the years. However, Fire Warrior, THQ's Warhammer 40K first-person shooter, is one of the weakest Warhammer computer games to date.
The problem is that Fire Warrior really isn't a computer game at all. It's a console game ported over to the PC, and as such, you are stuck with some of the usual console design quirks. The most aggravating is you're forced to play through long stretches until the game decides that you've played enough for it to auto-save. It would be one thing if the game auto-saved every few minutes of game time, but there times when you play for a good 15 minutes and then have to fight a rather tough mid-level boss in order to reach an auto-save checkpoint. It's extremely frustrating, to say the least.
In addition to the poor save-game options, other major issues keep the game from being a fun romp through the 40K universe. You play the role of a Tau Fire Warrior (one of the newer 40K races) and you wade through hordes of Imperial troops for the first portion of the story and then onto other enemies as the game progresses. The problem is that the enemies are collectively as dumb as a stump. The grunt soldiers just charge and kneel right in front of you, and shoot with an accuracy that makes Stormtroopers look like marksmen. There's also a severe lack of variety of enemy units. In some games, this makes sense -- in a World War II shooter you're going to fight Germans, so you expect a bit of unit monotony. But the Warhammer 40K universe is teeming with creatures, and yet in each mission you'll face the same two or three enemy types from start to finish. It gets old after a while.
Speaking of getting old, the weapons are severely lacking. The Tau guns are very bland, and even the Imperial weaponry that you pick up lacks the same punch as the weapons in a game like Halo. While this is being true to Warhammer 40K, it doesn't change the fact that in a shooter you want to play with new toys after a while; going through several levels using the same pea-shooter isn't a lot of fun.
Multiplayer isn't much better, as you're presented with three run-of-the-mill game modes (capture the flag, deathmatch, and team deathmatch) and a handful of multiplayer maps. Developer Kuju misses a great opportunity here; the Warhammer 40K universe is rich with detail, and the idea of picking a particular race or Space Marine chapter (and receiving the benefits from each) in a multiplayer setting would be an absolute blast. Instead, you simply pick your skin and off you go. There's also no bots to play against.
It's not all bad. The graphics are pretty good and convey the grim setting of Warhammer. There's also a lot of game here in the form of 24 missions that each last at least 20 to 25 minutes. By today's standards, 8+ hours of single-player gameplay (not counting reloads) isn't too shabby. The story is also very well-done, and fits perfectly with the overall theme of Warhammer 40K; it's obvious that the designers at Kuju are familiar with the 40K universe. So, if you don't mind the repetitive enemies with bad AI, the poor save-game options, and a lack of weapon variety, then the Warhammer flavor might be enough to warrant a look.
People who downloaded Warhammer 40,000: Fire Warrior have also downloaded:
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War, Warhammer 40000: Chaos Gate, Warhammer: Mark of Chaos, Warhammer Epic 40000: Final Liberation, Warhammer 40000: Rites of War, Warhammer: Shadow of the Horned Rat, Warhammer: Dark Omen, Thief 2: The Metal Age
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