Warhammer 40,000 Space Marine Review
Try to keep up.
THQ and Relic Games team up to bring the tabletop strategy classic into the multiplayer shooter arena. The Warhammer 40,000 universe’s Space Marines were just begging for an action game. These hulking super-soldiers can make the guys from Gears of War look wimpy on a good day. Space Marine is a third person shooter that offers a distinct difference; transition between ranged and melee combat is seamless and fast paced. In a market flooded with shooters will this be enough for Space Marine to distinguish itself?
Warhammer 4000: Space Marine follows a member of the Ultramarines chapter, Captain Titus in a quest to drive the Orks off a human planet. The war is well underway by the time Titus and his squad show up so there will be plenty of Orks to kill and guardsmen to save. Space Marine plays, initially, like many third person shooters. You have guns, melee attacks, an on-screen targeting reticule and grenades.
The key difference between Space Marine and other shooters is the melee combat. Where most shooters only allow you to melee once every couple of seconds, while an animation plays, Space Marine was made for melee combat. In fact, for the first few levels, I only pulled out my gun when they absolutely made me. The melee combat is so fluid you could play most of the game as if it were a hack-and-slash adventure game. I believe this is, at least partially, what Relic intended as melee Executions are a big part of the game.
In single player, since there is no cover system, you will have to regain health by stunning enemies with Y and executing them with B. This will cause Titus to brutally dismember the Ork in question and subsequently gain a health boost. I loved this system because most shooters take you out of the action when you’re hurt and force you to find cover to regain your health, while Space Marine would have you wade right in to a group of enemies to regain your health. I love it. Not to mention the fact that the Executions were so brutal I was laughing, in a good way, almost constantly.
The campaign has a decent enough story and some really cool cut-scenes, on top of being a few hours of brutal carnage. I had a good time, I only wish I could play it co-op. Having no co-op in the campaign was a definite missed opportunity.
Multiplayer is why you’re really here anyway. The multiplayer in Space Marine is a ton of fun. You and up to 15 others battle for supremacy in fast-paced multiplayer mayhem. Multiplayer is very different from campaign in that the Space Marines are super tough, but up against each other they can fall pretty quickly. Space Marine offers extensive customization of your character’s look, each piece of armor can be a different color or style, if you so desire and there are a whole lot of different armor styles as well as color schemes from the different Space Marine Chapters.
Loadouts can be customized as well but must follow one of the three classes. These classes each play very differently. The Tactical Marine favours medium to long range weapons and can dive and roll out of the way. The Devestators are heavy gunners, able to plant their huge guns to increase damage and rate of fire while sacrificing movement. Lastly, Assault Marines favor melee attacks and can close the distance with their Jump Packs. Space Marine’s multiplayer is truly fun, I’m just not sure it has enough content to pull people away from the bigger multiplayer releases. With only two game modes and only a handful of weapons to unlock there could have been a lot more to do here. Still I had a blast and will be playing this game online for quite a while.
The achievements in Space Marine all follow one theme. Killing. Kill X number of enemies, kill X number of enemies in this way, or kill X number of enemies with this weapon. There are a few story achievements and achievements for ranking up in multiplayer, but for the most part you’ll be killing.
Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine is not just another shooter, it distinguishes itself in terms of combat and style. The multiplayer is a lot of fun but I don’t feel it has enough content to pull you away from the bigger shooters, long-term. Still, this is a great foundation for what I hope becomes a series.