Developer: Relic Entertainment
Genre: Third Person Action RPG
Release Date: September 6, 2011 (NA) September 9, 2011 (EU)
ESRB Rating: M
Available On: Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Windows PC
The word “Warhammer” may sound remarkably familiar to you. When you hear the word, your conscious mind should have flashbacks to around a year and a half ago and involuntarily place the phrase, “The World of Warcraft Killer” directly before it. The Warhammer 40,000 series is NOT to be confused with the MMO series (sans 40,000). It’s a series that’s been around for over two decades but never done as a third person action game. The 40,000 series takes the MMO series into the corner, and beats it into a bloody pulp. What happens if we bring players into the future, give players guns, some magical powers, and hordes of Orks to destroy? That’s the Warhammer 40,000 universe. And it is taken straight to 11 in Space Marine.
With a quick gander, Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine may resemble the critically acclaimed Gears of War franchise that’s found on the Xbox 360, but that’s about where the similarities end. With the gritty futuristic landscapes, over-the-shoulder third person perspective, and ultra-muscular soldiers, this game feels quite different. Before you become uproarious, I am in no way comparing this game to the Gears of War franchise. Some people aren’t giving this game the chance it deserves because of how it appears. Unlike Gears of War, this game is not cover-based whatsoever. In fact, it lacks a cover system entirely. This title is pure tear-em-down action RPG shenanigans, and it feels fantastic. When health gets low, don’t even bother scurrying away from the action for your health to recover. That’s not how this game works. You want your health back? You must perform synchronized kills to allow you to recover portions of your health meter. In other words, keep charging in and fighting off the hordes of green Orks to recover your health. Don’t bother running away like a dog during a thunderstorm. It will do you no good. There’s even more of a positive side to this notion of perseverant gameplay. In the bottom left-hand corner of your screen, you’ll notice there’s a gold meter filling up as you slay legions of Orks. This meter is your “Fury meter.” When filled up, players can either use the power of time-warping to slow down time or unleash a devastating melee attack by simultaneously clicking both thumbsticks to activate fury mode.
As already mentioned, the primary antagonists of Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine are the Orks and the Forces of Chaos. The Orks are an alien race who always stick together with other Orks in large numbers. The Forces of Chaos, and you can tell by the name, are a much more serious threat than anything the Orks can dish out. The Forces of Chaos are so powerful, they can end the life of an entire star system by summoning innumerable amounts of chaos-inducers that reside in a parallel universe known as The Warp. Portals brought about by the Traitor Legions allow the daemons to cross over and reign in the Space Marine world.
Combat in Space Marine is fast-paced, varied, and intense. Your starting weapons include a Chainsword, a Bolt Pistol, Bolter, and players can even acquire more weapons varying from Plasma Guns to Lascannons, to almighty Thunder Hammers. And my personal favorite, the Battle Axe. I’ll be honest, while playing this game; I attained a futuristic Lord of the Rings vibe, especially with the Battle Axe in tow. What makes combat even more entertaining is the fact the game also supports a combo system. In my opinion, the game is even reminiscent of certain Silicon Knights’ titles.
Don’t like to play in your lonesome boredom? Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine also features two multiplayer components. Cooperative and competitive multiplayer modes. In cooperative, players can play through the initial campaign with up to four additional friends. Assumedly, player one will be playing as the single-player protagonist, Captain Titus while the additional players will presumably be controlling the once NPC soldiers who follow you along. In addition to cooperative multiplayer, you can also play competitive multiplayer. Competitive multiplayer allows 16 players to duke it out in typical class-based multiplayer fashion. There are three different classes to choose from in the factions of the Space Marines (the good guys) or the Chaos Space Marine (the bad guys). You gain experience points by either getting kills or assists which will then allow you to rank up to different levels. There are also weapon-based challenges that allow players to unlock different weapon perks and armors pieces by completing them. Your player is entirely customizable in Space Marine. Unlock new armors and change their color schemes. In competitive, there are three different game types to choose from. There’s Annihilation (Team Deathmatch), Seize Ground (Capture the Objective), and a Capture the Flag mode will be possible through a future update.
- Tactical Marine/Chaos Space Marine: The Tactical Marine/Chaos Space Marine is a well-rounded soldier, able to competently fight in both fire fights and melee combat. He has access to every rifle in the game as well as some long range and close range weapons.
- Devastator Marine/Chaos Havoc: The Devastator Marine/Chaos Havoc sacrifices maneuverability for long range fire power. He is heavily armored and has access to the largest ranged weapons available to the player, including sniper rifles and heavy machine guns.
- Assault Marine/Chaos Raptor: The Assault Marine/Chaos Raptor is the close combat specialist in the game. He is able to jump into combat quickly with his back-mounted jump pack and he is able to wield the more powerful close combat weapons with which to destroy his opponents.
Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine is shaping up to be a fantastic title with loads of fun. A demo of the title is available on both the Xbox Live Marketplace and the Playstation Network.