Warhammer 40 000: Space Marine | Zombiegamer Review

In short

A simple, but fun action game that combines hack n’ slash with shooting. Warhammer 40 000: Space Marine is not the deepest gaming experience, but it certainly plays well thanks to great controlling mechanics which work well to deliver visually appealing combos. I loved the gaming world and the slow motion finishing, but some visual issues let me down a tad. Singleplayer is satisfying and multiplayer works pretty well to deliver enough diversity to gain a following. How big that following will be remains to be seen – but it definitely deserves a following.

Developer: Relic Entertainment

Publisher: THQ

For fans of: Warhammer series, Gears of War, war games

Reviewed on: PS3

Also available on: Xbox 360, PC

If we had to give it a numerical score: 7.5 out of 10.

What I liked

  • Fun gameplay
  • Fluid Controls
  • Somewhat interesting storyline
  • Sound effects
  • Sound scoring
  • Game’s world

Not so much

  • Graphics are inferior to modern titles
  • Character animations
  • Few graphic glitches
  • Not the longest campaign

Overview

The Warhammer 40,000 series has a longstanding and rich history, so admittedly I was really looking forward to play as the super-marine, Captain Titus. THQ published and developed by Relic Entertainment, Space Marine is the latest offering in the series which takes place in the science-fiction setting of Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40,000 universe. Humanity is faced with extinction in the very distant future and you belong to the force tasked with defeating the aliens and demonic hordes that threaten humanity’s existence in this brutal world.

Gameplay and Features

You play in the third-person view and are quickly introduced to the hack n’ slash aspect of Space Marine, shortly followed by the shooting. Gears of War fans will find the similarity in the gameplay, and even the exaggeratedly build or armour the characters adorn. With Space Marine you can’t go into cover, well not by hitting a button at least. You can stand behind objects though, but the massive battles really suit a more berserk sort of approach – go in guns blazing on slash your way through that hordes of enemies.

The controller’s layout was well designed and fluid, so you quickly learn to string together some big, visually-pleasing combos that further suit the “cover is for the weak” credo of Space Marine. If your armour is wearing low you can stun an enemy and perform a finishing move to re-generate your armour… a very sweet and addictive move.

You can carry up to 4 weapons from a decent variety, varying in attributes and a chainsaw sort of sword [thingy], which even features a Gear’s like execution. You pick up grenades which come in handy with the sheer amount of Orcs or Demons you will face in the epic battles. Another addictive feature to help you in battle is a rocket back-pack you unlock. Not only can you propel yourself in the air with the rocket, but you can explosively pound back down on masses of enemies.

The combination of great controls, great weapons and stunning combos make the gameplay stand head and shoulders above anything else Space Marine is selling. The battles are simple to start, and then accumulate in attacking numbers which forces you to plan your attacks a little more carefully as you go along. Certain enemies also require certain moves to take them out which further complicates your attacks. So while at first Space Marine may seem like it’s just about the mindlessly bashing of enemies, it does evolve to a more technical approach.

The campaign is a fun action-packed experience albeit not the longest, and then Space Marine offers some differently designed multiplayer modes which are enjoyable for the most, offering what ‘shooter’ fans are generally used. Co-op mode will be introduced at a later stage.

In multiplayer you can choose between ‘Seize Ground’ and ‘Annihilation’ modes, the latter being a familiar ‘team deathmatch’ sort of mode. Then ‘Seize Ground’ offers a ‘capture the flag’ sort of feel and is a more objective based mode. You gain XP in the mp modes and level up. Space Marine ships with an online code that bumps you up to level 4, which unlocks the customising ability. You can customise your class, so for those they do not buy new; you will need to XP your way up to customising. There are three classes to choose from – Devastator/Havoc, Tactical Space Marine/Chaos Space Marine and Assault Marine/Raptor each with different pros as their titles suggest.

Graphics and Sound

I’ll start with the positive, the sound effects, the game’s scoring and the audio in general is pretty good as is the voice acting. I was surprised to see the characters and then hear their prim and proper British Accents at first, but why can’t prim and proper Brit be hardcore – and their speech suits the game’s era in which it is set. The explosive soundtrack builds upon the epic battles and suits the gaming world – the war ravaged world. Then the weapons sound ‘meaty’ and suit the Super Marine’s persona – no flimsy weapons with ‘pew pew’ sound effects here.

Visually, I was not impressed or it was a bit of a mixed bag for me. On the one hand I loved the game’s world, it’s war-ravaged and sombre with the colour palette used being well suited. But a little more texturing would have gone a long. Then there is the character’s designs that did not do much for me – they all look very basic and could have used more detail. The character’s facial animations were again not the best, but in battle the animations were very good indeed. As mentioned, the slow motion finishing moves were brilliantly done as were the big combos which also conclude in slow motion.

So overall I don’t think Space Marine is going to win any beauty contests, but fortunately that’s not what it is about for me.

Conclusion

Warhammer 40 000: Space Marine highlights my personal most important component in a game that I look for – engaging gameplay. Many look for the deep storylines; rich characters; surreal graphics, as do I to a certain degree, but it’s the fun factor in the gameplay that will ultimately determine why I cannot put the game down.

There are quality issues, but the fun factor kept me merrily pushing on. Space Marine is a pumped up ‘war’ experience, it never strays and was ultimately a rewarding experience, albeit not the most polished.

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