Ethan gets called into action as New York City finds itself knee deep in a wide variety of horrific monstrosities. Will he be victorious or will this incredibly punishing digital card game do him in?
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I have to admit that after seeing the incredibly awesome cover art for Chainsaw Warrior, I was a bit disappointed to find that it was just a digital recreation of a card game from the 1980’s. Not that I have anything against card games, it’s just that if I want to play a card game I’ll go out and purchase the physical copy myself. Additionally, I was naively hoping for a treatment not unlike what Games Workshop’s other IPs have received from game developers. Maybe not a full-scale RTS or MMO like we saw with the Dawn of War series and WarHammer Online, but something that was a bit more “gamified.” It’s worth noting that I’m a stupid idiot and my reservations about this game prove that completely; Chainsaw Warrior is a blast!
Getting Pumped and Learning to Die
Like I mentioned above, the awesome picture of a hardass, cyborg soldier stabbing a zombie in the face with one hand and chainsawing the head off another with the other is what attracted me in the first place. Fortunately that aesthetic is further emphasized by an awesome semi-animated comic intro that felt similar to what we saw in Far Cry 3:Blood Dragon. Being that Chainsaw Warrior was birthed in the era that Blood Dragon satirized, it only makes sense that the protagonists would share similar qualities. The odds you face in Chainsaw Warrior, however are stacked up quite a bit more and they’re not in your favor.
Because of the random nature of the game, you’ll find yourself in horrible situations throughout. Everything from stat and equipment points (if you’re playing on hard, which you should) to encounters with enemies are decided based on dice rolls and card selection. This means that unless you’re really lucky throughout, you’re going to be in a very uncomfortable position the entire time. While managing supplies and making smart combat assessments are both very important, sometimes the game just wants to grind you into a bloody pulp. Chainsaw Warrior is a roguelike at its purist, and is probably one of the more punishing games I’ve played this year.
Painful yet Simple
While you may not have the most control over the outcome of any given match, I found it to be a very engaging game. The rules are easy to learn, sessions can be saved at any time and enjoyment is not based on victory alone. After recently playing a bunch of games that require fast twitch reflexes, micromanagement and anal retentive supply hoarding, it was nice to sit back and relax a bit as my fate unfolded before me. It made me laugh, it made me cheer and didn’t require deck shuffling or set up beforehand. While I would never want to see the end of physical tabletop and card games, Chainsaw Warrior does make a good case for digitizing certain titles.
I don’t necessarily see this as a game that’s going to make waves as its simplicity may not appeal to those that want a bit more out of a gaming experience. That being said, its low price makes it worthwhile even for those who don’t like or understand card games. I was certainly surprised by how into the game I got and I wouldn’t qualify myself as a card game enthusiast. Best case scenario, you fall in love with Chainsaw Warrior like I did and at worst, you get a heavy dose of 1980’s action/horror goodnesss.
Chainsaw Warrior is available now on PC and iOS.
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