Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine single player preview

Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine (WH40KSM) takes place on an imperial forge world in which there is nothing but war. The Orks are attacking, and it is your job as a Space Marine to stop them.

My second experience with the game brought the focus from its multiplayer modes to the single player campaign in which you take on the role of one of humanity’s elite warriors, Captain Titus, and lead a squad of Ultramarines into battle. You can rest assured that the game wastes no time in letting you jump straight into the action either.

One of the many great things about Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine is the seamless way in which both shooting and melee combat have been integrated into the game together. Melee attacks aren’t just a simple side addition like hitting someone with your gun or a knife as in most shooters; instead you can choose from axes, swords and sledgehammers to take advantage of the combo system, arguably making melee combat a lot more effective than shooting most of the time.

Of course there is also a variety of guns to choose from on the shooting side of things, which ensures that you feel the full force of being a badass Space Marine, whether your enemies are up close and personal or on the roof of a building in the distance. Plus with four gun slots and a melee weapon to choose from on the go, you’re sure to have something for every situation.

Relic Entertainment have been keen to emphasize from the start that the Space Marines are not the type of guys to utilize a cover system, and the game ensures that you aren’t tempted to hide from a fight by forcing you to execute Orks as your primary way of regaining health. There is no regenerating health system in WH40KSM to allow you to simply run and hide behind a wall for five seconds when the going gets tough. Instead you are forced to re-enter the battle and take back your life by stunning Orks with the Y button and then performing an execution on them with B (Xbox controls only). Bigger Orks take longer to execute than their smaller allies with some even requiring you to mash a button in order to overpower them, and yes, you can still be hurt whilst executing an enemy. This forces you to play smart, pick your targets wisely and keep an eye on your health bar at all times, because whilst you may look like a savage powerhouse, you aren’t invincible – a lesson that I was forced to learn several times in my experience with the game.

Combat is insanely hectic in Space Marine as armies of Orks threaten to engulf your character most of the time on the battlefield, but whilst it’s incredibly fun sawing Orks in half and blowing their heads off, it does manage to become extremely repetitive after a while. WH40KSM never promised to be anything more than a great action game, and it does what it says on the tin perfectly, however from my experience with the game I can’t help but feel that it would benefit from breaking the occasional cycle of:

Kill Orks – go to next location – Kill Orks

Maybe with the addition of something else, like a vehicle section for example? That said, mini boss battles do come up from time to time, and even though they mostly consist of fighting through a wave of Orks before taking out the big guy, there is a sense of actually focusing on an objective rather than mindlessly waving a sword around for a few minutes.

Graphically the game looks as stunning as ever, and there are some truly spectacular looking environments to see, but what I particularly enjoyed was seeing Captain Titus covered in the blood of his fallen enemies during and after battles.

All in all, the single player campaign in Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine is looking fantastic and is an incredibly fun experience so far. It can seem repetitive after a while, but as I haven’t experienced the full campaign yet I will look forward to seeing whether it stays that way or not.

You can begin your assault on the Ork hordes starting from the 9th of September when Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine is released onto the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC.

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