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[Game Review] Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine

Posted By Mustafa On October 3, 2011 @ 8:17 PM In Video Game Reviews | 4 Comments

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Ever think what would happen if Tribes, Gears of War, and Dynasty Warrior were combined into one game? You now have your answer. Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine is a visceral hack and slasher that attracted many to Dynasty Warriors, while still bringing the third person shooter elements that made Gears of War and Tribes great.

Space Marine puts you in the boots of Titus, a captain of the ultramarines chapter; he lands on the forge world of Graia to assist in the fight against the Ork invasion. His two battle brothers, Sidonus and Leandros, soon learn that there is more to this invasion than meets the eye.

The story of Space Marine is finely written and told. While newcomers will be able to understand the terminology relatively easily and quickly, veterans of the Warhammer series will attain a deeper understanding of the storyline than the people new to the series. The campaign is not very long, about 9 hours, and over that course it never prolongs its welcome; the campaign is very engaging and interesting throughout.

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Nothing like reigning down havoc from above.

The graphics of Space Marine are eye candy in and of itself. The buildings are beautifully done; every detail is vivid and lush. The animations are spectacular; enemies take knockback when you barrage them from bullet fire and lightning, fire, and other such effects look gorgeous. Most of all, doing an execution in the game is very gratifying: For some reason, cutting an orc in half satisfies and at the same time furthers your bloodlust.

Interested to learn more? Read on for dotTech’s review on Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine.

Quick Verdict

While Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine does have few issues plaguing it, some online imbalances, and an awkward health regeneration method in campaign, it does not demean the game from its glory at all. This game looks sick, definitely one I’ll be playing for weeks.

Full Review

Campaign

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Executions are gratifying.

A space marine can literally hack and slash his way through hundreds of orcs… assuming the orcs let him execute their companions. Executing is the main way to regain your health in Space Marine, and a satisfying way to do so. However, it isn’t all fun and games (no pun intended). The enemies can still beat on you while you are executing so if you are in a horde of ten enemies and you are low on hp, if you try to execute an enemy there is a very good chance you will die before your execute has finished and you have regained your hp. This can get very frustrating sometimes if you want to play this game purely like a hack and slash; that, and the fact that campaign has way too many cut scenes that just break down the flow of the action.

An interesting feature that semi-counteracts the idea of getting killed before you can recover hp is the fury bar. When you kill enough enemies and your fury bar goes full, you can activate it for an instant health boost and an increase to health regeneration for a couple of seconds. While healing you, this “fury mode” makes your melee attacks much stronger and gives you time slowdown if you go into shooting mode. (It also makes you go ARGGGHHHH and knock all enemies away at the moment you activate it, but let’s try to stay away from DBZ here. :-P)

In regards to the shooting aspect of the game, ammo and grenade refills are a dime a dozen in the campaign so no worries there. Shooting is definitely fun but not nearly as fun as the hack and slash aspects. For game balance, however, it is expected that you will rely on your gun for combat  – and not just your sword/melee weapon – throughout the game. This mix and match actually benefits the game in the sense that the story is pleasing and keeps you involved throughout the whole short campaign.

I do have a few reservations for campaign mode. Personally, I would prefer more of a focus around hack and slash and less on shooting but I have never been an avid FPS fan anyway. Regardless of my personal reservations, I feel Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine has a great campaign and is worth spending the time to play through it all.

Campaign Score: 88/100

Multiplayer

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Meet my friends, Mike and Chris. Yes, those are really big weapons aren’t they?

There is a reason you play Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine past campaign mode. That reason is multiplayer.

For multiplayer, there are two main game modes: Annihilation (team deathmatch) and Seize Ground (king of the hill). Most people play Seize Ground because you get bonus experience every time you capture or uncapture a point (along with the regular experience from kills and assists). Experience points grant you level ups and allow you to unlock [more] custom loadouts, guns, melee weapons, perks, grenades… the works. Although some of the best perks can only be unlocked by doing certain feats with weapons (i.e. 50 headshots with the las cannon, which is the sniper rifle in this game, earns you a perk) so it is definitely not a straight grind to get all the overpowered weapons. In fact, 90% of the unlockables can be unlocked in your first day of play; leveling up is quite fast in this game.

Don’t be fooled however. You won’t be finished with multiplayer in a day, even if you unlock most of the unlockables. Fun fast-paced gameplay keeps you coming back for more… even if the plasma cannon makes you want to cry and run away. The plasma cannon is the most frustrating and strongest weapon in the game; at full charge you can probably shoot it in a random direction towards the enemy and get 1-2 kills. It has a huge splash radius and in that entire radius it is a one shot kill (ignores terrain like walls, etc.). In fact, this is probably my biggest problem in multiplayer mode at the moment. Snipers I can deal with; heavy gunners camping a corner I can deal with; but being able to do an aoe that could potentially kill 5 people in one shot at sniping distance?  That is something that has me crying for my mommy.

Those of you that played the original Tribes game back in the day remember all the light, medium, and heavy armor selections you could make; and how each “class” (if we can call them that) had special attributes such as how only the light and medium could get jetpacks. Yeah well Space Marine is kind of the same. For example, only the Assault Marine type class can get jetpacks and it is very fun flying around trying to find enemy snipers and smashing their face in.

As you may infer from my discussion above, the brutal hack and slash nature of campaign is not completely transferred to multiplayer. Multiplayer is probably a bit more ranged weapon focused. Nonetheless, there is a melee aspect to multiplayer, too.

To give a basic – and partly superficial – comparison of melee vs ranged: With melee combat 1-3 hits kills an enemy depending on the power and speed of the weapon. With sniping, on the other hand, headshot is a 1 hit kill and a body shot will typically kill an enemy in 2-3 hits. This, however, will also depend on your weapon speed and power (just like melee); e.g. a quick fire sniping gun known as the demon bolter or heavy gunning which is an easy way to mow down tons of enemies very quickly if you have a good vantage point.

All in all Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine has a fun multiplayer experience that will keep you coming back for more. However be warned: The plasma cannon imbalance may ruin your appetite. Literally.

Multiplayer Score: 87/100

Graphics

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Gorgeous, just gorgeous. Who needs women anyway.

Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine graphics may not be as advanced as some other games, such as Battlefield 3, but they do provide significant eye candy and overall have very visually pleasing aesthetics. Some graphical bugs in the multiplayer (due to lag mostly) can be very annoying and frustrating, but as the game matures with patches and updates, I see less and less graphical bugs

To put it simply: Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine has a very enjoyable graphical experience, even if it is not “the best” when compared to other, newer games.

Graphics Score: 90/100

Sound:

Not much to say here, just your usual cheesy Warhammer voice acting. However the background music, sound effects, and even the cheesy voice acting add to the Warhammer atmosphere that is created in this game. Nothing too great, but not that bad either.

Sound Score: 75/100

Final Verdict

Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine is great game, one you should definitely pickup if you are even slightly interested in the Warhammer series or the shooters and the hack and slash genre. Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine is a full Steamworks game, so even retail copies can be registered on Steam and it comes with a full array of Steam achievements; and of course you can buy it on Steam, too. While Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine definitely has its flaws, there are also expected positive updates in the future such as the upcoming free DLC (co-op mode!). Overall, Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine is a worthy game as it stands.

Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine Final Score: 85/100

Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine official website [6] | $49.95

Stay tuned for a free giveaway of five Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine copies! The giveaway will be sponsored by the same company that provided us with a copy of  Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine to review. Watch for it. :-)


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[6] Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine official website: http://www.spacemarine.com/

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