Review: Warhammer 40000 Space Marine

Sep 13, 2011

Warhammer 40k Space Marine is full of gore from the beginning and shouldn’t be taken lightly by those looking for an evenly paced shooter with pretty graphics. From the get go, Orks close in on you numerous times, even the first stage, their numbers make you feel like you need to fight for your right, so to speak.

Starting the game you are given few choices, basically the difficulty you wish to play. This translates really into Really Easy, Easy and Kinda Hard. Yes there are 3 play modes and the traditional easy, medium, hard.. what I meant by the above is that this game is geared for easy or beginner FPS players. If you pride yourself on FPS or action shooters or heck even God of War, then play this game on Hard. I selected Hard my first time through the game and other than a few select places, I progressed at an appropriately difficult pace from start to finish.

Warhammer doesn’t have length in terms of giving the story a chance to unfold, it progresses as quickly in story as it does from the beginning of the game to the end. It took me about 15 hours to play through on Hard and for some games similar that is fairly good length wise, but depending on your skill level and difficulty you choose, this experience could end all but too quickly.

You play as Ultramarine Commander Titus, a genetically engineered Paladin style fighter equipped with a brutal array of weapons, both for melee and ranged antics. I anticipated this game would make good use of those weapons and I was not let down. You begin the game with a large combat knife and an automatic pistol. Both may seem unrewarding until you put them into the hands of a Space Marine, namely your boy Titus. Swirling crimson and tumbling Ork green will hit the camera as severed limbs and blood follow Titus and his combat. Waves and waves of enemies fall on you and you must match that in kind mixing ranged onslaught with a desire to wade into a horde with speed and fierce determination for blood.

Considering the above description, Titus can be controlled easily. He can run, shoot, reload, attack, enter a blood frenzy, sprint and use a variety of secondary commands. With this easy to navigate but rewarding control scheme you can dish out large amounts of pain in a short time and satisfy your thirst at the expense of grace and of course, Orks.

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Let me explain the rage real quick. As mentioned above you can enter a rage. This is similar to God of War as a meter will fill up and allow you access to health regeneration and increased damage as well as a stun effect on melee strikes. And as such this game is really about the melee and not guns, you’ll see what I mean when you try this game and try you shall. Once the meter is full you can use this power to level the playing field or escape death and I felt that the degree to which it can be exercised was spot on. You are not given too much power or too little, the power exists instead in how you use it with the time given and that I can appreciate.

Warhammer is not so much mission based as others but consists of several stages featuring objectives, enemies to kill, cinematics and of course villainous bosses to block your path. In this regard developers do not take any measures to introduce new mechanics here but do a good job to ensure the “old” does not go out of style.

The art style in this game is very similar in alot of ways to games like Darksiders and Warcraft or heck even Starcraft by more limited notation as it pertains to Titus and the space marines who travel with you. Your character is equipped in a shiny set of full plate rated for the rigorous frontier of space and the brutal combat therein. As far as the setting I was mildly disappointed as the graphics alone were less than expected and level design lacked uniqueness and failed in my opinion to tell more about the world you are desperately trying to save. With that being said the experience is still intact and does not take away from gameplay.

Voice acting if you could call it that is good in parts, specifically the Space Marines and their nemesis whom shall remain to your mystery. These cinematics were too few and the marines themselves said little to each other during the game as story and combat clashed outside cinema. The Ork voices instead of being brutish appeared comical and out of place, while those of the marines were of order, pride and consequence. I felt this was unfortunate as a more appropriate take on the Ork race would have gone a long way in this game.

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Multiplayer is also available in Warhammer but in my opinion really should not be part of your decision to play this game as the experience is somewhat, well, poor. From the beginning of multiplayer you are greeted with the usual, a class system, rewards and a leveling system and of course a match style. In Warhammer you have two basic styles to play in, Domination, which is basically controlling area and a free for all which is just kill the other guy. The unfortunate thing about this gameplay is because of the size and stature of a space marine, movement is a little slow in this arena and there isn’t much you can do to avoid unwanted combat. You may think I am crazy for saying that, multiplayer and not wanting combat. Well my opinion of multiplayer may be different than yours but my point saying it in here is that tact doesn’t exist in this game and I feel that is an important part of a multiplayer experience. In addition the games best attribute is melee combat and you really are not given a chance to accomplish this as you will be shelled from range most of the time, why not, it is easier? Considering multiplayer in a more successful setting, I don’t think this game is really worth playing multiplayer, although it isn’t a bad system. If you are a fan of killing your friends or engaging with strangers across our realm, please do so and enjoy yourself, but be aware you may get less than you expected.

Warhammer 40k Space Marine is a good game and the worst part of this game is the fact that developers made such a good game and had many many opportunities to make a great game, maybe even to the degree to push the genre it resides to a new direction. I will look forward to playing the next installment and hope and pray that it is everything this game is and includes all the nuances and subtleties it lacked to become a legend of the times. Semper Fi!

Purchase @ $35

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