Saturday, September 17, 2011

Warhammer 40,000 Space Marine Review

When I first got my hands on Warhammer 40k: Space Marine at E3 2011, I fell in love with the style of gamepaly and the fact that I was a huge space marine mowing down hordes of Orks.  Set in the ever expansive 40k universe, with a descent story and ultra violent gameplay, fans of the Warhammer franchise are in for something special.  Despite some polish and pacing issues, THQ and Relic did a fantastic job creating a unique third person hack-n-slash/shooter combo.

You play as Captain Titus, leader of the chapter of space marines known as the Ultramarines.  You and your space marine brothers are sent to a war torn planet that is being over run by millions of Orks. While progressing through the game, you find there is a more dark and sinister plot unavailing itself.  The story really picks up and gets interesting in the last few chapters of the game, but by that time it feels a little short lived.

The game really comes to life when you are put up against hordes of enemies and make a bloodbath with your chainsword and bolter rifle.  During your progression in the game, you will unlock new weapons and abilities to use against your foes.  With multiple ranged guns and three different types of melee weapons, Space Marine gives you a lot of options on how you want to play.  Encounters also encourage different styles of gameplay, challenging you to use both  melee and ranged attacks.  

Even with its exciting combat system, Space Marine can be frustrating at times.  While executions are glorious and gory, they are also the only means of regaining your health.  When performing an execution,  you are stuck in an animation and do not gain life until the animation is complete, this leaves you vulnerable to attacks and I found myself getting killed mid execution. 

Another drawback was with the pacing of the game.  While you will find yourself in the middle of epic battles, you will also be running through a lot of areas with nothing to kill in some very boring industrial areas.  This was more prevalent in the the beginning of the game, but it made the game feel dull and boring at times.  The game is also plagued by short cut-scenes that will either take you out of the action, or will be spaced seconds between each other.

I also was a little disappointed with the lack of character development.  The entire game you are being followed by two other space marines in your squad, but they never take the time to come out of their "Glory and Honor" shell.  At times I would forget they were even there during large, intense battles.

Initially, I wasn't drawn into Space Marine for the multiplayer, but to my surprise it is very fun and addicting.  Though the multiplayer games do not offer anything radically new, having all of the single player aspects of the game thrown into team death match battles was a lot of fun.  With leveling and unlockable items, Space Marine online will give you some pretty intense and epic battles with other players.

Despite some hiccups here and there, Space Marine was a lot of fun from start to finish.  With its combination of the hack-n-slash/shooter gameplay, you will be very satisfied and wanting more.  If you are a fan of the Warhammer franchise I would strongly suggest you pick up this game and play it to your hearts content. 

Presentation: 7 (Though many Warhammer fans will love the settings and environments, the game still suffers from pacing issues and way too many 5 second cut-scenes.)

Graphics: 8 (The space marines themselves are highly detailed and the environment is true to the Warhammer 40,000 universe.)

Sound: 7 (Even with brilliant voice acting and sound effects, I can only stand to hear "kill the space marines!" so many times by each wave of Orks.)

Gameplay: 8.5 (Even with the execution hiccups, the combat in Space Marine never had a dull moment.  I loved getting into each battle and finding the most brutal way to come out the victor.)

Lasting Appeal: 8 (With multiplayer being as fun as it was, it will no doubt give you hours and hours of epic battles online.  They will also be

Violent Score: 8 (Out of 10)


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