Review: Warhammer 40k Space Marine

Warhammer 40k: Space Marine is yet another game set in the Warhammer 40k setting.  To me, as a Warhammer veteran, I was so happy to see something like this coming to a console.  I have played so many Warhammer games over the years and some have been good but for most, have really been bad. I say bad because none of them have ever captured the setting as well as Space Marine from THQ has. From having the game land into my power-fist it looked great.  Just from the cover depicting an Ultramarine (which I got very happy about as I played these in the table top game many years ago) jumping into a bunch of Green Skins with his Chain sword ready to purge infidels. I really hoped that the feeling I got from the front cover carried on into the game.

Space Marine sees you playing Captain Titus, with the support of Sergeant Sidonus and new recruit Leandros, who gives Titus advice throughout the game. The main storyline is not one of intrigue, but one of recapturing the Forge World, which is the planet you will spend all of the game on, and stop the Orcs from getting their hands on the war Titans. As the storyline unveils in the game it becomes a simple go here get this, hold this place until we get this done. There is also a nice touch with having the Imperial Guard in this game as well, you start to get a sense of a fleshed out world. Towards the end of the game there is a great twist in the story which will really make you want to get even with one of the people you have trusted for a while. After that the chaos erupts again for the final show down.

Gameplay is wonderfully simple, which lets you not have to worry about what buttons to press, you can just pick it up and go. The combat system really makes things flow and it really gives you the feeling of being this unstoppable Space Marine, which THQ do really well. The ease of which you can go from ranged attack with your Bolter or Sniper rifle to melee is great.  There is nothing quite like picking off the Orcs who are shooting you, then rushing in headlong with your Chainsword screaming in one hand to deal death where ever you swing it. The enemy themselves seem to attack you in only a few ways though which is a shame really. You will normally get a horde of Orcs charge at you in a huge group and not stopping until they have reached you. They will then plunge into melee combat. While this is going on, you also (if you’re lucky) get the ranged Orcs shooting at you, followed by a huge armoured Orc walking though the ranks towards you, these guys can really dish out the damage.

Health is a strange one in Space Marine – there are no ‘med packs’ or anything like that, there are only really two ways of healing yourself, which from the start seems a bit odd, but when you get used to doing it it kind of of makes sense what with you being a Space Marine and all. The first option is to perform an execution move. To do this you stun your enemy and then press the B button which will send Captain Titus into a brutal finishing move, which will see you stamping on heads of Orcs or Chainswording them to tiny bits. After the move is finished and you are completely happy with the brutality of your attack you will see your health bar rise. It kind of makes sense. Space Marines are made for war that’s really all they live for, so the glory of killing your enemy in battle is just what the doctor ordered. The second option you have is the Fury meter which builds as you fight until it fills and glows a golden glow, at this point it’s time to unleash that fury!  This does two things, one it heals you and two it increases your damage, which comes in handy when you’re in the midst of battle and facing some large enemies.

Over the years of playing Warhammer, the one the thing that really sticks with you is the graphic style, dark and Gothic, and I’m happy to say it carries on in Space Marine.  There really are some great moments where the game seems to take a back seat and I found myself looking around as I’m walking through huge buildings, the architecture is amazing! THQ really nailed the art direction in the game and along with some great lighting effects you really get some great eye candy. The Space Marines themselves also look great – the armour they wear looks amazing.  The detail that has been added to the armour and weapons is astonishing and with the help of some great sound effects you can almost feel how heavy the armour must be to wear and move around in. Everything in the game really has a sense of weight and belonging, even the weapons feel anchored to the setting.

So once you have finished the game, you then have the mulitiplayer side to play with and let me tell you, there are a lot of options here. One of the great things I enjoyed about this was the customisation you can do with your character; it really gives you a great feel to making someone unique. You have 3 classes to pick from: Tactical, Assault and Devastator, and each class has its unique playing style. Once you have picked your class you then can take a look at the game modes.  You can pick Seize Ground or Annihilation, both game modes are really good fun and will keep you playing for a while.  You also get XP while you’re playing.  As you gain more XP you gain unlocks which helps you along the way to domination of the battle field.

Space Maine is a great game for old fans of the Warhammer 40k Universe and new ones alike.  There are some really great moments and some intense fights.  It does have its downs: you do feel railroaded sometimes with where you have to go, but if you can overlook that minor flaw then you are really in for a great game.  It is well worth picking up and going ahead and unleashing the fury! I will leave you with this…

“The enemies of the Emperor fear many things.
They fear discovery, defeat, despair and death.
Yet there is one thing they fear above all others.
They fear the wrath of the Space Marines!”

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