Ah, “Space Marine.” Finally a game where I can live my dream chainsawing through hundreds of orks, and rain kraken bolts onto Chaos heretics.
THQ has had the rights for the Warhammer 40,000 universe for a long time now and has developed multiple RTS “Dawn of War” titles (all of which I recommend), and it’s about time they made a shooter/hack and slash.
“Space Marine” puts you in the giant metal boots of, well, a Space Marine. You play as Captain Titus of the Ultramarines and are deployed to a Forge World (a planet that is a giant factory) to protect a Titan war machine (very big mech that goes boom) from the Orks.
In general, “Space Marine’s” plot isn’t exactly the most original thing, but it works well here because of all the Warhammer lore tied in with the game. Soon you’re tasked with finding and protecting a member of the Inquisition who was developing (as you later learn) a powerful source of energy to use for a weapon. I won’t go into any more, as much of the game’s plot develops at the very end, but it gets much, much better.
“Space Marine” sets itself apart from all the modern day shooters by introducing a new melee system. Instead of having to go through your inventory to change from a gun to a sword, THQ made the system much easier. All you need to do is left click and bam! suddenly you have a super charged Power Axe in one hand, and after you’ve disposed of those nasty Orks around you, you can right click to reequip the last gun you had to get the Shootas at long range.
It gives the game a much faster pace, which is really nice considering the amount of enemies you have to slay in every battle.
Another thing that THQ has done with “Space Marine” is not include a cover system. This forces the player to quickly switch from melee and ranged weapons, as you cannot simply take out all of your enemies 50 feet away.
The only problem I see with the gameplay of “Space Marine” is the way you recover health. If you execute a stunned enemy, you go into an epic animation in which you cub stomp heads, chain saw through bodies, or rip heads apart. It looks epic, but you can still be damaged during this animation. So, while you’re at 10% health and running towards a stunned Ork, one can jump from around a wall and kill you before you restore your health.
This wasn’t a huge problem, but enough of one that it killed me a few times during the campaign.
What will keep this game alive, though, is the multiplayer. There are only two gametypes and a handful of maps, but THQ has announced a co-op gametype and a Firefightesque map (which is sure to be awesome!) Right now, though, there is a capture-and-hold gametype and a traditional slayer.
Both gametypes have three different classes. The Tactical marine, a traditional ranged unit, the Devastator, a heavy weapons unit and the Assault, a close-combat specialist with a jetpack (yes, a jetpack).
Players level up in multiplayer to gain new perks, custom classes and weapons to use on the battlefield. There are also challenges for each weapon such as “kill 250 enemies” or “get 5 killstreaks” that offer large experience boosts.
Every part of your character in multiplayer can be made your own. There are thousands of different armor combinations to make your Space Marine look as badass as you want. But, if you really want to have a rainbow marine it is possible, as you can also change the color of each armor piece.
The multiplayer and campaign for “Space Marine” are both fast paced, gory and awesome. It keeps to the lore of the Warhammer universe very well, and it was exciting to learn more about it. I was really hoping that “Space Marine” would have Tyranids as enemies (one of my favorite Warhammer races), but the Orks are still hilarious and fearsome enemies.
There’s still awhile before the horde of Fall games are released, and if you’re looking for a fun, rich gaming experience I would definitely recommend you purchase “Warhammer 40k: Space Marine.”