September 11, 2011

Warhammer 40K Space Marine: Review


Space Marine, you are Captain Titus commander of the chapter Ultramarines. Called to the Forge World Graia, you and your Battle-Brothers must stop the Ork Horde invasion before they loot the Manufactorium which hold the giant mech Titians that are too valuable to let fall into Warboss Grimskulls Ork hands. But, there is an underlying menace hidden on this world waiting to reveal itself and bring “Chaos” to the realm of man!


Warhammer 40k Space Marines is a hybrid hack-n-slash, third person shooter. Vaguely resembling the Gears of War series in that it is a third person shooter, that’s where the similarities end. Space Marines blends melee and shooting mechanics rather well being able to switch from gun to blade almost seamlessly allowing you to change tactics on the fly depending on the situation. Being a Space Marine you also use no cover system because all who oppose you must fall!.


To be fair I guess I should say that Gears of War is “like” Warhammer 40k Space Marines even though it’s a new title. Because the likes of the Gears of war series, Starcraft, Warcraft, Wolrd of Warcraft and even the Halo series have all “barrowed” from the Warhammer universe that has been around for 25 to 30 years from miniature gaming to RTS style pc games it is truly a universe that needs to be explored!


Gameplay is fun and hectic although playing on the hardest difficulty I didn’t feel challenged till about halfway through the game when larger enemies were more frequent. There are a decent amount of weapons to use throughout the campaign 9 ranged and 3 melee, if I remember correctly. You can carry 4 range weapons and 1 melee weapon at a time, each gun and blade having its own special advantages and disadvantages. My favorites where the Melta gun and Thunder Hammer (the Thundar Hammer can only be used with the Bolt pistol and Bolter). There are also “Fury” power ups that enhance your ‘Fury” ability that charges over time and when fully charged can be unleashed giving you the power to dispatch huge numbers of enemies in a single blow. At times the AI seemed a little on short bus side shooting the wrong way and getting stuck in and on various things but the bosses where fairly challenging to make up for it.


Graphically Relic did a fantastic job with the main characters giving them life in the game rather well. The npcs however look a little generic and seem to be reused here and there but that is a minor issue that doesn’t impact the game very much. The Orks look just as I would imagine them to be as well as the Chaos factions. The only real negative for the graphics would be the use of every shade of brown in the backdrops that hid, in my opinion, the fantastic gothic architecture in drabness. I know this is a pollution ridden manufacturing planet but the people have color so why not everything else? Also when there were large amounts of activity in game at once I experienced lag issues most likely do to the aging Xbox 360 hardware I was playing on.


Story and voice acting top notch with Relic showing us again that they are the right developers for the job, I was compelled to keep playing just to see what happens to Captain Titus and his crew next. The ending was at first what I thought would be standard but then took a darker route for an interesting plot twist hopefully leading into a sequel. Titus was voiced by Mark Strong usually known for playing villains, but does an excellent job bringing a “hero” quality and life to the character.


Multiplayer has two game types: Annihilation (Team Deathmatch) and Seize Ground (Domination style game) and a leveling system much like most games but when you reach level 4 you unlock customization much like Halo: Reach you will unlock different armor that can be used to fully customize your Marine from look to color to chapter you belong to. There is also a weapon load system with 3 main classes to begin with and custom classes unlock able later in ranking as well as more weapons to fill your custom classes with. It plays kind of like the old Mech Warrior or Mech Assault games because everyone wears this hulking armor so no one has the speed and agility of other multiplayer shooters which makes a nice change up in game play.


At the beginning of October the first DLC will be released, free of charge, to add a 4 player co-op element to Space marine much like Halo’s Firefight or Gear’s Horde mode but with elements of Battlefield BC2’s Onslaught mode added for, I hope, an interesting take on the game type.


In a nutshell the campaign lasts about 7 to 8 hours on average (longer for me because of the higher difficulty I set the game at and my hidden item obsession) with a great story fantastic voice overs and compelling musical score. Nice multiplayer customization and load outs I say buy it now!


+ Great story line based in the Warhammer 40k universe

+ Fantastic voice acting by Strong

+ Characters and enemies have a unique look and style

+ Boss battles are challenging

+ Gameplay mechanics work very well

+ Varity of weapons true to the universe

– AI can be stupid at times

– Drab color schemes can hide the fantastic architecture throughout the game

–  Lag issues with huge amounts of activity most likely due to console hardware

– Multiplayer lacking very many game types

– Multiplayer lacking as many weapons as the campaign has


Final Score: 8/10 Buy it now and relish in the carnage!


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