Warhammer 40k: Space Marine Review

by Stephen Heller Featured

13 Comments 14 Votes 4916 Views 12/09/2011 Back to Reviews

Warhammer 40k: Space Marine Review

When I think of Warhammer I imagine large scale tabletop battles with carefully painted figurines and books full of stats and critical hit information. I also think of sprawling conflicts across a detailed map, issuing orders with strategic point and click movements in an RTS envornment. These thoughts are exactly why I never got into Warhammer in the first place, and that is why I was so pleasantly surprised when I popped Warhammer 40k: Space Marine into my console. Instead of the well thought out, highly strategic game I had previous experiences with I was greeted with a blood-thirsty third person shooter that gives us a new insight into this highly diverse world. The question is will a change of direction alienate the die hard fans?

What Warhammer 40k: Space Marines Got Right

Brutal melee combat - Space Marine provides some of the most satisfying and gory melee combat you’ll find in the genre. Dispatching of enemies with any number of melee weapons is always a gory affair - and also quite beneficial. If you stun your enemies before executing a kill move you will regain some of your health, and watch as you slice some Orks in half with your impressive Chainsword. It’s a welcome change of pace that throws a little hack and slash into your shooter type gameplay to keep things interesting.

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Epic battles - Space Marine plays out like a Sci-Fi epic that features some truly spectacular set pieces and large scale battles. At any given time you will be facing off against swarming numbers of enemies that usually culminate in a bit of the old ultra-violence as Ork blood fills the screen. While these battles are quite intense and large the game never seems to stutter or suffer from frame-rate issues which is rather impressive.

Addictive multiplayer - It may feature the same weapon unlocks and perks that every modern day shooter seems to offer, but something keeps drawing you back to Space Marine’s accessible and frantic multiplayer suite. It’s the same hack and slash meets shooter formula you had in the single-player campaign but against real opponents. To put it simply - Chainswords + Jetpacks = pure carnage online.

What Warhammer 40k: Space Marine Got Wrong

Originality - what is that? - Space Marine may be fun at times but you can’t help but notice the obvious similarities to a certain other franchise that also features big burly Marines fighting off waves of enemies and also has a Chainsaw attached to their weapon. I’m not going to name names here (starts with G and ends in ears of War) but the similarities go far deeper than just character and setting.

The way the cut-scenes play out, the way that Captain Titus slows down to a walk while communicating between battles, right down to the chapter names and position on screen are all akin to Microsoft’s exclusive series. We’re not saying that you can’t pay homage - but there is a fine line between a delightful nod of the head and a downright carbon copy. However Space Marine features no cover mechanics and some awesome jet-pack action.

Pacing is off - It’s not uncommon for Space Marine to join two cut-scenes together with a ten second game of filler gameplay that has you walk from one point to another without anything happening. While the cut-scenes themselves look great and are usually full of action the fact that the game makes you stop, walk and then stop again is disjointed and breaks immersion at times.

Executions: Blessing or a curse? - Executions are your only means of regaining lost health is Space Marine which is fine, however it does cause a liability when in the heat of battle. Enemies can still harm you when performing the execution move, and with no way to cancel it mid-action it can often lead to your demise. This becomes problematic during many large battles, especially towards the end of the game when things get really intense.

The Final Verdict

Warhammer 40k: Space Marine may be a massive departure from previous games in the franchise, and while it is far from original it still provides some seriously satisfying combat and set peices. Whether it will appeal to die hard fans remains to be seen but if you enjoy fast paced shooters with a sci-fi story, melee combat that is intense and gory and you won’t have access to Gears of War 3 this summer, then Space Marines is definitely worth a look.

By Stephen Heller

7.5
Fun and satisfying yet lacks originality

Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine

Platform: PS3 / Xbox / PC
 
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Warhammer 40k: Space Marine Review Comments

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Tano
+
I'll have to check this out eventually, but at the moment I have way too many other games to be playing ahead of a Warhammer game.
I thought that was a picture of GoW 3 (Gears, not God). They both look great though. (*)
Warhammer 40k universe has been about "big burly Marines" fighting with "Chainsaw attached to their weapon" well before gears of war was thought of...

I played Warhammer 40k chaos gate back in the 90's. It was a great squad tactical game about the Space Marines.
In Fire Warrior you dont play as a space marine but you kill plenty of Chaos Space Marines.
So why is it that the game is a copy of Gears of War when the warhammer 40k fiction in book/table top/Computer game form has been around well before Gears of War.

Clearly the Warhammer 40k universe is a big copy of Gears of War.

If you talking about it copying Gears of War because its a third person shooter, There were plenty of third person shooters before gears of war.
My collectors edition just showed up.

And i scored the standard 360 version free aswell thanks to a broken ordering system :D
@tweekfu - I'm not disputing that Warhammer has been around long before Gears of War but it's the formula of the actual gameplay that is a carbon copy - not the lore of the game.

Before this release the series had NEVER been portrayed like this. If Gears of War came out with an RTS game, had the same style interfaces and gameplay modes, similar art styles, and similar presentation I'd come out and say it was a carbon copy based on GAMEPLAY and MECHANICS not on what has been around longer.
*knows nothing about this game*

Is this an FPS or third-person?
third-person my friend. If you've played GoW add in more melee combat, a jet pack and you've got an idea.

Heller said: third-person my friend. If you've played GoW add in more melee combat, a jet pack and you've got an idea.

Blerg.

Was considering picking this up and playing online with my mates, but I hate third-person shooters... so I'm just going to give this a miss.

Milky said:

Heller said: third-person my friend. If you've played GoW add in more melee combat, a jet pack and you've got an idea.

Blerg.
Was considering picking this up and playing online with my mates, but I hate third-person shooters... so I'm just going to give this a miss.



So you're not a fan of Gears normally?

Beta said: So you're not a fan of Gears normally?

Nope. Played through the single player of both (on co-op) and haven't touched either one again. I like the storyline and I am thankful that the single player is short in both titles so far.

I am not your typical Xbox lover, I hate Halo and Gears.
No one hates on Warhammer and lives, not even Heller.

FFS Warhammer inspired Starcraft.
played the beta of this is the final game any better ??

Pact said:
FFS Warhammer inspired Starcraft.


Ummmmmmmmmmmmm... No...

The 1959 Starship Troopers book did.

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