I've enjoyed just about everything Warhammer 40,000-related that THQ has done prior to now, so it was a surprise that Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team is such a disappointment. This dual-stick shooter, blessedly brief, seems more of an afterthought than a polished title. While there is some enjoyment for the first five or so minutes, tearing through wave after wave of Ork flesh, repetition soon sets in after players realize that there's just not much more to be offered.
Set in the rich universe which THQ has, until now, so capably captured, Kill Team focuses on an Ork Kroozer heading toward Imperial space, planning on untold naughtiness. To combat this threat, the Space Marines send in one (or two, with local co-op) of their finest warriors. The action begins as the Space Marines make their initial incursion on the Kroozer. From that moment on, it's almost totally wave after wave of unrelenting (and quickly uninteresting) enemies.
Players take control of one of a handful of Space Marine warriors, which basically run the gamut between ranged and melee combat strength. Controls are sparse, with typical dual-stick layout for ranged attacks combined with a few extra controls for hand-to-hand, grenades, and a special attack. Given the twin-stick roots, gameplay feels extremely railroaded. Every few steps, another batch of enemies rushes from various corners of the field, only to be mowed down by overwhelming Imperial firepower. Sprinkled throughout are power-ups and collectables, attempting to keep things interesting. Most of the difficulty in the game comes from the confining camera and contrived ambush points, but these issues are resolved after a few respawns from the last checkpoint.
There are a few spots, however, where those checkpoints are just a bit too far apart. One level in particular, with a tricky open walkway system leading to all-too-certain doom, caused me no end of frustration. A few of the boss battles were also taxing, due to the lack of any way to skip cutscenes on repeated tries. Given that many are triggered just after a checkpoint, this leads to agonizing retreads of twenty- or thirty-second animations. And when a small misstep can ruin ten or so minutes of work, rewatching that same scene again is just insulting.
Character development, what little there is, is simply a matter of unlocking a few upgrades as reward for cutting bloody swaths through the Kroozer hallways. There is an experience system in place, but there are few choices in leveling paths. Given that there are even fewer weapon upgrade options, there's really nothing to draw players forward, other than unending waves of Ork.
On a positive note, Kill Team looks good, and the innards of the Kroozer are delightfully Ork-y. I never seem to tire of the Orkish banter, either, even if most of it boils down to WAAAAAAAGHH!!! A few of the fights were fun, and the last extended boss-battle was a highlight. Still, most of the 5-or-so hour mission bogs down in repetition, and so it's difficult to focus on the higher points. Those players wanting to eke every last bit of time out of the game can re-play with all the character options, take a shot at the unlockable Survival modes, and scour the corners for every last collectable. I doubt many will do so, but the option is there.
Overall, Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team fails to impress on any level. Even the allure of a hack-and-slash game set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe cannot raise this title out of the barely mediocre. It's almost as if Kill Team was merely designed to whet the appetite for THQ's other action game, and at the bargain price that may indeed be the real reason behind this title. As a playable game, Kill Team just isn't worth the time or effort to finish.