Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine review

As someone taking my first steps into the WarHammer 40,000 universe, I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I picked up Space Marine for the first time, so imagine my delight when I discovered that there’s really not much to learn besides the art of brutally murdering whatever happens to be in front of you!

Space Marine’s single player campaign sees you spending around 8 hours as the honourable Captain Titus whilst you traverse the imperial forge world battling against large hordes of cockney Orks, and eventually, Chaos Daemons and Marines. For the majority of the time this is insanely entertaining – I mean, what’s not to love about repeatedly turning Orks into mushy piles of red goo? But therein lays the problem.
Whilst constantly massacring anything that stands in your way is very entertaining most of the time, it can become quite repetitive before long. In the earlier levels especially I found myself taking regular breaks from the game due to the constant formula of: kill horde – go to next location – kill horde with no real variation of any sort in between.

Chaos Daemons come out to play

That said, various different weapons add some much needed variety to the game as you progress, as well as the different enemy types which have you changing your playstyle and tactically considering how to approach encounters by the end of the game – believe me, those enemies with guns pointing at you from a distance will have you swearing at your TV more than once.
There are the occasional boss battles and vehicle gunner segments to break the monotony a bit too, but I think that Space Marine could benefit from a little more variation throughout the game.

As for the story itself in Space Marine, there is betrayal and occasional parts of interest spread throughout the game to keep you hooked – I was very eager to discover the ending of the story by the later chapters, even with my lack of experience in the WarHammer 40,000 universe. Despite this however, I still didn’t find myself particularly attached to any of the characters at any point in the story.

Now of course before I go any further into the review, I need to mention the constant comparison between the Gears of War series and Space Marine. It’s understandable enough as both series see you playing as part of a squad of hulking huge guys, wielding guns/chainsaws, and taking on hordes of alien enemies on a distant planet – but that’s where the comparison ends.

The most notable difference between the two series is Space Marine’s lack of a cover system. Instead, you are encouraged (if not forced) to stride into battle and make paste of your enemies with the promise of a lifebar refill ahead of you. Space Marine sees to it that your health will not recover unless you forcefully take it from your enemies by executing them on the battlefield, and the fact that you can still be hurt and killed before the execution animation is complete means that you are forced to play very smart when taking on hordes. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve run into a large group of enemies and begun slicing someone to pieces only to get hit by a rocket and die halfway through.

Everybody say "Cheeeeese"

The other major difference between Space Marine and Gears of War is the seamless integration of both melee and shooter (ranged) combat at once in the former. Whilst Gears of War allows you to stun some enemies by hitting them with your gun, Space Marine features an entire melee system complete with combo potential and dedicated weapons. To an extent this means that you are free to play the game in two different ways as you can choose to brutally smash your way through the attacking hordes, or to tactically blow them away with your gun arsenal. This choice will only take you so far in the game though as before long you’ll find that you need to utilize both types of combat together in order to survive your encounters.

On the multiplayer side of things Space Marine doesn’t fail to impress either, as all of the action from campaign is present in both of the currently available modes. The only thing that I do occasionally miss when playing online are the executions, but as there’s no need to take your health back from enemies, so they aren’t really necessary. Still, they look awesome regardless and there is wasted potential here for intense button mashing games amidst the standard shooter chaos.

The customisation options are brilliant for the multiplayer modes, allowing you to literally colour each piece of your armour differently and add various patterns if you so wish. A create-a-class system is also in place complete with perks so that you can create a warrior befitting of your playstyle.
It’s not available yet, but there’s more to look forward to on the Space Marine multiplayer front as Co-op modes will also be making an appearance in the game as a free update from October.

This won't hurt a bit

After my experience with the game, I’ve come to the conclusion that WarHammer 40,000 Space Marine bears a striking resemblance to a Friday night in an South London pub. There’s blood, there’s cockneys and there’s even the odd explosion should your aim be good enough at the right moment. Ok, so maybe it’s not quite the same, but Space Marine does what it sets out to do as an action packed, fun, and (from what I understand) true-to-the-Warhammer-universe game.
Regardless of whether you’ve entered the Warhammer 40,000 universe before or not, I think that you will most definitely have an awesome time destroying the advancing hordes of green skins in Space Marine.

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