Warhammer 40,000 Space Marine multiplayer first impressions

With all of the shooter talk being about Modern Warfare 3, Battlefield 3 and Gears of War 3 this year it’s easy to forget about Relic Entertainment’s upcoming title Warhammer 40,000 Space Marine, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that this game isn’t worth your time as WH40KSM (As I like to call it) is set to be quite the little gem when it releases in a couple of months time.

The first thing I noticed during this play test and to some this can be the most important were the controls and even though it took me a couple of matches of getting completely destroyed to pick up them up, once I had figured out how to traverse the maps properly rather than wandering around like a lost tourist, I found the game to be insanely fun – no matter what play style I opted to use. One of the things I had to adjust to was the lack of cover system in the game, according to Relic Entertainment producer, Raphael Van Lierop, this is because the Space Marines aren’t the kinds of soldiers who hide behind rocks — they charge ahead with everything they’ve got.
When playing as Space Marines themselves they also did felt satisfyingly slow and bulky when moving around thanks in large part to their armour, which shows that some thought has been put into how the characters would actually respond when wearing their trademark armour.

One of many great things about WH40kSM is that it features many different types of weapon for use. All of the standard types we’ve come to expect are there including assault rifles, shotguns, heavy machine guns and sniper rifles, but in addition to these the game features a variety of melee weapons for when you decide to get up close and personal with your enemies. I personally quickly realised that the Sniper wasn’t for me and instead opted to turn the bones of my enemies to gravel with a giant sledgehammer known as the Thunder Hammer (which comes complete with lightning!). Also for those who are fans of the Space Marines, you will notice too that there is a selection of their trademark weapons available for use in the game too. 

Of course a worry with all of the different types of weapons is that there will be some that are unbalanced, but as far as I could see when playing there were no balancing issues with the any weapons or weapon types whatsoever – that’s not to say that issues can’t arise later on when higher levelled weapons are unlocked though, I just simply didn’t see more than the handful unlocked at the beginning.

With each different weapon type comes a different movement type as well, and no that doesn’t mean slithering, flying or rolling – not exactly anyway. What I mean is that with the A button it is possible to either sprint, roll, activate your jetpack or hop to the side slightly depending on your primary weapon. This means that WH40KSM, unlike most shooters nowadays, really will see you using a different play style with different weapons. For example, the ability to roll comes in extremely handy to dodge enemy fire whilst wielding a shotgun, but you won’t experience the same privileges with a sniper rifle, instead only being able to hop or walk to get around, making you much easier to hit as a target if you’re close to an enemy.

Another great part of WH40KSM is the customisation in the game which allows you change everything from the weapons and perks in your custom classes, to parts and the colour of the armour that you wear, ensuring that no two players on the field need look or play in the same way. The awesome graphics on your character will also ensure that you can really admire your creative decisions. Variety really does seem to be the order of the day in Space Marine and it’s clear from my experience with it that Relic Entertainment are keen to get as many people playing as possible with the various customisation options available.

With regards to the maps, the ones that I saw were quite small ensuring a CQC style game which forces fire fights and explosions at every turn, however there are also several effective spots overlooking large sections of the maps to please snipers. One potential problem that I did find when playing was that it is very easy to spawn trap an opposing team once you have all of the other bases on the map, and the results aren’t pretty. Enemy players can also continue to spawn on a base whilst you’re capturing it, which means that you will often find yourself robbed of a capture by sudden unwelcome visitors.

All in all though, my experience with Warhammer 40,000 Space Marine has left me wanting much more, and any shooter fans should waste no time with checking it out as I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.
The game clearly takes elements from other popular shooters such as Halo: Reach and the Call of Duty series to ensure it’s own success, whilst the Warhammer universe is also represented in a satisfactory way. The thing that worries me though is that the three shooter titans mentioned earlier will simply eclipse this game with the majority of people opting for the others, and whilst I’m not so sure that it’s going to be a “Gears of War killer”, it definitely needs to be played.

Warhammer 40,000 Space Marine will be released onto the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC starting from the 9th of September.

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