First thing's first. It's heavy. Just for kicks I had to weigh the thing (by standing on a scale and holding it), and it came to 8.4 lbs. Most of that weight is from the board pieces--they are pretty sturdy, and there's a lot of them.
Because of this extra weight, the box itself has to be sturdy. Rather than the single or double layer of thin card that comprises most of GW's boxes, this box is made of sterner stuff. It's a much thicker card that measures fully 1/16" thick.
Chopping open the shrink wrap, you get a big whiff of that new box/shrink wrap smell, and get to see the goodies inside. The miniatures look awesome--lots of detail, and easily the match of if not superior to most of the plastic kits out there.
Taking out all the miniatures sprues, there are the thick card sprues of all the floor pieces. They are wrapped in their own plastic wrap. From the picture, you can see that the miniatures look to have damaged it a bit--but it just damaged the packaging, not the floor pieces themselves. The floor pieces/counters are all packaged painted side in to protect them--all the of the cool stuff is facing inward, which was a smart idea.
In addition to the 5 dice in small ziploc bag, you get four more ziplocs to store your counters in--another nice touch.
The board pieces themselves all look grim and dark--which adds to the mood of the spooky Space Hulk they are supposed to represent. The old tiles were more "cartoony" in nature, and looked very well-lit in comparison. The new ones are a big improvement.
Are the new tiles and the old ones compatible? The short answer is yes. The pieces will fit together perfectly. The old tiles are 1/16" thick, while the new ones are a heftier 1/8" thick, but you can use them together just fine, with perhaps only an aesthetic loss.
The old doors were perfectly serviceable--in fact, it was cool to have a stand-up card model representing them. But the new ones totally blow them away. They're bigger, beefier, and awesomer.
I haven't had time yet to delve into the rulebook and mission book in any detail, but they have the look and feel of color comic books--that is, their covers are made of the same paper as their interiors (unlike, say a 40k Codex). The rulebook is 23 pages, the mission book 47.
It was almost a shame to punch out the floor pieces from their sprues--they just looked so nice and pristine. But here they are, laid out in their little piles. The card sprues themselves, made of that thick material, has to be good for something, so I can't bring myself to just chuck them in the trash. Perhaps I'll think of some use for them.
Finally, here's the various counters piled up--same stock as the board pieces, so they are pretty sturdy.
Well, my first impression of the game is that it's pretty awesome, and I'm eager to try it out. Since it's a self-contained game, I'll be taking care of this thing and keeping it all together to keep it intact. I know it'll be a while before I can paint up all the minis, but fortunately I have enough terminators and genestealers lying around to proxy when I get around to playing the game. Which I hope will be soon.