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Warhammer 40K: Space Marine Review

Warhammer 40K: Space Marine Review

For PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC

MSRP: $59.99

By : Dwayne “EVO Knight” Morash

Every once in a while, a title comes along with good production values and polish but ultimately fades away into obscurity due to AAA titles being released too close to it. Such is the story of Space Marine.

The minute you start to play Space Marine you’ll be hit with a sense of Deja Vu; like you’ve played or seen this game before. Its true; the game does share similarities with another 3rd person shooter with larger than life characters and dare I say it…weapons adorned with chainsaws. If you keep playing, you’ll quickly realize that these are merely aesthetic similarities and that at its core, Space Marine plays very differently.

Space Marine tells the story of a larger than life hero named Titus of the Ultramarines. For those of you who have played the table top miniature game ( Warhammer 40k) you already know all there is to know about the universe in which Space Marine takes place. For those of you who have never heard of Warhammer 40k, you wont get a detailed explanation of said world from me. This review would be triple in size if I tried to cram all the back story into it. Suffice to say, the lore is rich and deep, the game’s plot only scratches the surface of the stories that are begging to be told from the source material.

The game starts with Titus descending upon an industrial planet to assist in repelling a Space Ork invasion (Yeah I said Orks in space). There are some details that explain why he is there and what his motivations are, but after the first 5 minutes, that all goes away; replaced with the sheer amount of carnage and battles you’ll be engaging in. Dont get me wrong; the narrative is finely crafted and moves along at a good pace, but it’s not the real reason anyone should pick this game up.

Combat in Space Marine is fast , visceral, and downright bloody. And most of all it feels great. The controls are fluid, and the options available to you are diverse enough to make you think about how you want to approach each encounter. You have the ability to utilize both melee and ranged attacks on command. There is no swapping of weapons here like in other shooters though. Your Primary weapons are a bolter and a chainsword (although both receive substantial upgrades as time goes on) and between widdling down Orks with Bolter fire and dicing them into bloody giblets with your whirling blade of death, you definitely feel every bit the proverbial bad ass playing this game.

Multiplayer is where Space Marine starts to slip a bit; and while it doesn’t feel ” tacked on,” it definitely shows that there was not as much development time spent on this aspect of the game. The graphic engine has been scaled back as far as overall environment detail and character models, but trades that off to allow an insane amount of customization for the player. You can choose from a staggering amount of armor variants and color schemes to make a Space Marine that is unique to your tastes.

The downside to its multiplayer component is the lack of variety in game modes and map selection. With only 5 maps spread over 2 different game modes, the entire multiplayer experience starts to wear thin and only the most dedicated Warhammer 40K fans will stick around for the long haul.

It is worth noting however that there will be a FREE DLC pack that adds co-op play in the form of a “Survival Wave” mode that should cater to the players who want to play with friends in a non adversarial game mode.

TECHNICAL PRESENTATION

Audio – Sound design and the accompanying orchestral score is very successful in immersing the player in the moment to moment battles and epic nature of the conflict raging around you. Some of the guns sound very “punchy” and the chainsword sounds just like an implement of destruction; with its mere sound signifying the end to whomever stands in its way. Overall Space Marine’s sound design does a great job of pulling players into the game’s atmosphere.

Graphics – Graphically, the environments and character models are top-notch. Titus has a substantial bulk to him as he is wearing a massive suit of power armor. The programmers wanted you to feel and know this every step of the way in the game to the point of your character making ” thudding” sounds when he walks or runs. Titus weighs more than a Pick up truck and it feels great!

FINAL THOUGHTS

Overall Space Marine plays it safe and delivers a straight forward experience that doesn’t take any risks from either a narrative or a gameplay point of view but has enough stand out elements and content that solidifies it as a shooter worth spending money on. In a sea of games flooding into stores this year, that is a powerful statement to make for a lesser known property.

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About janhutchings

Canadian Game Industry Blogger / Contributor for @Sonyrumors & @ShogunGamer / Communications and PR Professional. Voice of Canadian and Indie Gaming. http://jtmgames.com/

Posted on September 25, 2011, in Game Reviews and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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