Warhammer 40k: Space Marine Review
Fluid, brutal combat paired with strong art direction pulled from the Warhammer 40K universe make Space Marine a game that franchise fans will love
Posted by Tim Reid (with_teeth26) on Sep 16, 2011 - 1:41am EST (Sep 16, 2011 01:41)
If you are a fan of Warhammer 40k, or of Relic's acclaimed Dawn of War RTS series, you no doubt have been salivating at the prospect of getting up close and personal with a power-hammer and some squishy Orks. Relic has finally brought us a third-person shooter-hack-and-slash hybrid based on Warhammer 40K in the form of Space Marine. Those unsure of whether or not the formula that works so well as a strategy game will also work well as a third person action game can rest easy; Space Marine is great fun, and does a fantastic job of capturing the feel of the universe much in the same way as the Dawn of War games. Everything looks and feels just as you might expect it to, and the combat, controls and story work wonderfully from an over-the-shoulder perspective.
Rule 26 of the codex: smiling is forbidden as a Ultramarine
In Space Marine you place as Captain Titus of the Ultramarines, brought in to help repel an Ork invasion on one of the industrial planets in the 40K universe. Upon arrival you and two squad mates referred to as 'battle brothers' must come in and aid the Imperial Guard in defending the planet against the Orks. The story is fairly straight forward, but it works very well with the subject matter and there are a couple of good twists. The decision to keep the story fairly basic was a good one since it allows you to focus on the killing, and thanks to great pacing the 7-9 hour campaign is an absolute blast from beginning to end.
The Ork's missing face made post-mortem identification impossible
Most of your time in the campaign will be spent fighting off impossibly large numbers of Orks, and towards the end Chaos forces. While the recipe for repetitive game play is here, the fantastic combat and steady stream of new weapons and perks with the odd set-piece keeps things very entertaining from beginning to end. As a Space Marine you are a hulking 8-foot beast of a man wearing a fridge-sized set of power armour, and the game does a fantastic job of making you feel like the huge, powerful killing machine that you are. Unlike the majority of recent third person shooters Space Marine doesn't have a cover system because you are essentially cover. You look and feel like an absolute tank while fighting through the hordes of Orks, but thankfully the controls are tight and responsive. Still, there is an incredible sense of weight to the melee combat, and it feels fantastic to slice your way through a group of squishy greenskins with a chain-sword or power-axe in hand.