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Warhammer 40k: Space Marine

Space Marine

posted in Warhammer 40k: Space Marine


When WH40K: Space Marine was released towards the end of 2011 I didn't really have enough interest in it to pick it up. Space Marine's have always been my least favourite faction (unusually) of the setting and I don't play too many first person shooter's any more, at the stage I was at I simply couldn't find a justification for the purchase. A few weeks ago however it appeared on the Steam Summer Sale for a very low price so I thought 'what the hell' and grabbed it.

My reactions are rather mixed in all honesty. I did enjoy playing the game, but I found it rather underwhelming and frankly.. short. It wasn't a bad game, and whilst there is no rule that says games must push boundaries and break rules to be 'good' (some of the most enjoyable games are extremely simple after all) it was simply too familiar. So.. let's try and break it down.

Gameplay
It's a shooter, what can I say? you shoot stuff.. what, that's not enough information? Okay.

As far as the current console shooters (it was developed for the XBox/PS3 as well let's not forget) it's pretty standard and rather conformist. Relic opted for the 3rd person over the shoulder camera, with the typical aim/sights toggle to improve your accuracy with a slight zoom. It's got your standard weapon limitation and a sprint button, even the forced slow walk during speech is there. In reality the only thing that prevents this feeling like Gears of War in the 40K universe, is the lack of the action button - that one that is yet again becoming an industry standard - for vaulting/sprinting/climbing/rolling all in one!

There is one thing that they have done which is a bit more unusual, although I am sure I have seen it before I just can't pin down where, and that is how they've done the melee. Your character always wields a melee weapon of some sort - knife, chainsword, power axe etc - and it really is an effective weapon. The different part is that rather than having health packs/regeneration to heal yourself you simply stun an opponent with a melee combo, then do an execution (again, executions aren't exactly new), voila you have gained approximately 50% of your hitpoints back. This is also the most effective way of bringing down some of the larger opponents.

The one other thing that I feel needs commenting on is ammo, you can only get it from crates/supply drop's around the levels. I can forgive this one because in the lore a Space Marine is simply too stubborn to use an Ork Shoota (and quite possibly can't) so the option of looting ammo from enemies isn't really there.

Perhaps I've been overly harsh, it WAS enjoyable but... it simply broke no new ground and actually felt like steps back in many instances. I am normally more tolerant of this but given the hard campaign lasted me a meager 8 hours of playtime I can't overlook it due to 'hours of fun' like I can with many other copycat games.

Plot
I can't really say much here, both for spoilers and for the sheer predictability of it. Space Marine near single handedly saves the day, Orks and Chaos are involved, someone turns traitor... it's nothing more or less than you would expect from the WH40K universe.

Graphics
The game is quite well done with the style and all round artwork, definitely fitting what you come to think of when you think of Warhammer. It is not one of those games that you can really call a breakthrough by any means however - there's no physics to speak of anywhere. Due to it's setting on a forge world there is naturally a lack of foliage or jungle terrain to fight in so no opportunities to see what the engine can do in terms of grass or tree rendering.

As befit's the Warhammer universe everything is rather 'blocky' and can't really be accused of having intricate details. There's certainly a lot of blood splatter's and pyrotechnics to satisfy any such interests however. It is rather difficult to compare it must be said, I would deem Half-Life 2 (a pretty old game at this point) to be a much more impressive game graphically AND enginewise in all manners... but I am also quite accepting that I could not really see WH40K in that same manner, it's always had a slight cartoony aspect to it in my mind.

Ultimately, it's nothing amazing, but it fits what you would expect.

Sound
I was not going to mention anything here but as I near the end I was reminded of one thing that irked me the entire way through, why oh why do the ork's sound so... human!?!

Conclusion
Okay - I feel I've been overly harsh. For what it's worth I enjoyed the single player, the multiplayer is nothing really to write home about. For anyone who likes your standard shooter it's probably just fine, but for me... it not only brought nothing new to the table, it seemed to take some things away. Forgiveable if not for how incredibly short it was. It's only real attraction to me was that it is Warhammer, so to sum it up?

Underwhelming, but worth grabbing it you see it on sale.

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