Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Warhammer 40K: Space Marine Demo Impressions

Well that's a mouthful of a title, just finished playing the Warhammer 40K: Space Marine Demo for PC and recorded some footage of it. Space Marine is developed by Relic (love those guys) and published by THQ. It was more enjoyable than I thought it would be, especially jump packs, but I was disappointed that they didn't show off multiplayer at all, neither did they showcase Chaos forces. The demo is available today, August 23rd, for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3. It takes you through two missions, the first of which is the second mission in the game and a portion of the demo we played at E3. The second mission is short and only purposes to show off the jump pack gameplay. If you want to see some info on the game and multiplayer, check out my previous preview.
The demo only involved fighting Orks, and while that was good fun, it would have been interesting to see if fighting Chaos Space Marines felt significantly different than fighting hordes of Orks. You only get to use the standard bolter (pretty much the basic combat rifle), a sticky grenade launcher, a sniper rifle and of course a chainsword/pistol combo. All the weapons were fairly basic, the E3 demo showed a larger variety, but they seem adaptable to most situations and if they fail, you can always fall back on running everything through with your chainsword. Melee is one of the main aspects of gameplay, it is how you heal and how you get through overwhelming numbers. I'm thrilled that the only way you can heal is through executions and executions are special melee attacks that you do on any stunned enemy, they are brutal, gory and well done. I've said this in previous previews, but executed enemies feels great and it's one of the most important gameplay mechanics to get adept at, since it keeps you alive. Ranged weapons don't feel underpowered and they can be used for most situations. I'm happy to say that melee combat doesn't feel all powerful, ranged weapons definitely have their uses (especially the sniper rifle). Just with the basic weapons and options from the demo, the gameplay feels pretty balanced and challenging, of course there will be difficulties to choose in the real game.
The first level was fun and long, but it didn't show off anything new, that's where jump packs come in. They hadn't been shown before, as far as I'm aware, and they effectively make combat feel agile, quick, and decisive. With normal combat it felt sluggish and solid, but appropriately so for some space marines hunkered down in armor and weapons. With jump packs you can be all over the place, landing and striking with precision. When you jump pack you get a short air launch, in which you have a targeting reticle on the ground that shows you were you may strike. When you land you splatter any lesser enemies immediately and stronger enemies are stunned, leaving them open to execution attacks. Jump packs are just as enjoyable as the normal, non- jump pack gameplay and while it does make you a lot more deadly, you only get to use jump packs for short sections of the game.

Space Marine Demo VG Video

The demo was fun and decently long, about 30 minutes, but it may not convince anyone to get the game who is already familiar with the gameplay. The game still holds a lot of promise, it is well done, detailed, and enjoyable, but multiplayer and cooperative modes are going to be a huge factor for most people. The single player campaign will be fun, especially with the great voice acting and music, but it needs multiplayer to push people over the line. Thanks for reading and expect to see a Deus Ex: Human Revolution impressions article sometime today, once I get a little farther in it.

-Written by Sean Cargle


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