Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine

Space Marine
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Gameplay: 9/10
Graphics: 8/10

Warhammer universe | Weapon variety | Ork executions | Online play |

Weak A.I. | Unable to take cover | Lacks boss encounters | Dissapointing ending |

Game Info

DEVELOPER(S): Relic Entertainment


PLATFORM(S): PS3, Xbox 360, PC

RELEASE DATE(S): September 6, 2011


Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine is a third-person action game developed by Relic Entertainment. They are responsible for both the Company of Heroes and Warhammer strategy franchises. Having made numerous Warhammer strategy games over the years, their knowledge of the Warhammer universe is exceptional, which is illustrated throughout the gameplay and story in Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine. Warhammer fans and newcomers alike are sure to enjoy the experience that is offered by Relic Entertainment.

Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine begins with an Ork invasion force on Forge World Graia, a manufacturing outpost. The Liberation fleet is sent to abolish the Ork threat, but will take several days to arrive, and so the Ultramarines are deployed ahead of the fleet to secure large mechanical weapons known as Warlord Class Titans. Their strategic value is of the utmost importance, and so leaving them for the Orks to possess is not an option. You play as Captain Titus, commander of the second company, and he is joined by Sergeant Sedonius and Leandros. Upon reaching the planet’s surface, you come in contact with the resistance who aide you en route to the Manufactorum Ajakis, the storage facility for the titans. You also come to learn that the Orks are not the only threats that stand before you and your objective.

The graphics within the game are exceptional. Even though many of the environments presented are dark, the lighting and shadows help define the detail and textures presented on all objects and character models. In several missions there are instances where earthquakes occur, causing cracks in the ground as well as smoke to appear. You also occasionally see both allied and enemy ships flying over head as well. Some of the enemy ships are enemy transports that crash into the ground, which then release a multitude of enemies to try and halt your advance. Much of the game is presented on a large scale; the stature and legend of the Space Marines, the Ork invasion force often being quoted in the millions, the size of the titans and several items and weapons being of the outmost importance as they can bring about the destruction of worlds. The graphics will not disappoint, but can the same be said about the gameplay?

The game is played in third person view, giving you more control during gameplay. This viewpoint gives you more control over your character’s movements as you can spot enemies from all sides. The ability to sprint helps in travelling across the large maps as well as charging into a group of enemies. Sprinting has a heavy feel to it due to being in a Space Marine battle suit. However, it is strange that you are able to sprint for an unlimited amount of time. There are no health packs or aid stations within the game. You regain health by stunning and then executing an enemy. All executions are extremely gory as you either cut through Orks with your chainsword, or other equipped melee weapons, by stomping the enemy’s head on the ground, or by ripping their jaw open. Try to avoid executions in the open as enemies can still attack you during the process. During the first chapter you notice that enemies have the ability of taking cover while you do not. Even though Space Marines are an elite unit, it would have been nice feature to have. The main issue with the game (if you even find it to be one) is its repetitiveness. While the environments do change, the Orks continue to mindlessly attack you as you slaughter them. Waves upon waves will continually swarm your position and meet a bitter end at the barrel of your rifles or melee weapons.

The controls for this third person action game are similar to others of the same genre. Similarities can be drawn with the Ratchet & Clank franchise, the difference being the maturity level as large amounts of blood appear when killing Orks. As mentioned above, you are able to sprint, which is useful when moving under enemy fire. You are also able to roll and evade enemy attacks, a feature that will be constantly used as you progress through the game. Depending on the amount of enemies and the difficulty that you have chosen, you can either engage the Orks using your rifles from a distance or head on with your melee weapons.

One of the best features of Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine is the amount of weapons and items that are at your disposal. As you start the first mission, you are equipped with a bolt pistol that has unlimited ammo as well as a blade. Shortly after, you come across a bolter weapon, which is a Space Marine’s battle rifle, as well as a chainsword. Using the chainsword to cut through a crowd of Orks is extremely enjoyable. You will also come across numerous other types of weaponry throughout the game, and the difficult part is deciding which weapon to keep and which to discard. You are able to carry four weapons at a time, including your pistol which has unlimited ammunition. The various weapons cover both short and long-range attacks. There is a stalker bolter, which is the equivalent of a sniper rifle, that will quickly become your best friend as it easily abolishes an Ork threat with well placed headshots. You can also use grenades, a melta gun, lascannon or the vengeance launcher when you are overrun for crowd control. Plasma weapons are also available towards the end of the game. The melee weapons that are available are a chainsword, power sword, thunder hammer and power axe. You can decapitate Orks with the weapon of your choosing.

Running out of ammunition is a problem rarely encountered. There is almost an ammo box around every corner, and you know when you are about to engage a sizeable enemy force by the amount of ammo boxes present. You also may be frustrated at the beginning of the game as you cannot jump. Thankfully, you discover a jump pack early on, giving you the ability to not only jump, but also to reign fury down upon any Ork that may be below you by smashing the ground.

During the first chapter, you acquire a purity seal, which allows the use of fury mode. Upon filling up the fury meter by killing enemies, you can then trigger fury mode, which enhances the damage done by your attacks as well as regains health. In chapter three you stumble upon another purity seal, which gives you the ability to enter marksman mode when fury mode is triggered. It slows down time, allowing you to place your shots with precision. Fury mode will more often than not save you when you are outnumbered and close to death.

Enemy artificial intelligence within the game is nothing spectacular. The enemies follow the same attack patterns. The melee Orks rush your position and attack you mindlessly while the Orks with rifles try to kill you from a distance, utilizing cover to avoid your attacks. The most difficult Ork units are those who possess shields. You have to use grenades or rockets to break their shield to make them vulnerable. The difficulty within the game is greatly increased upon encountering numerous enemies at once. One enemy offers little difficulty whereas you are forced to evade and take cover behind objects when engaging sizable forces. While your allies do provide some assistance throughout the chapters, the major benefit that they provide is distracting the enemies.

Both the sounds and music within the game help to bring about the Warhammer experience at its finest. The music sets the atmosphere of the game as you progress through the chapters, fending off countless waves of Orks. At times the music may present itself as being suspenseful, not knowing what type of enemy or how many of them lay around the corner, but then it will switch to a more engaging track when entering into combat. The voice acting is also excellent in Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine as it brings each character to life.

The sounds within the game are best illustrated with a surround system. There are moments in each level where you will see Orks moving around in the distance. With a surround system you are able to clearly hear all their movements and interactions with the environment. Movements, gunfire, explosions and other weaponry sounds are captured very well and help make the overall experience much more immersive.  There is, however, one annoying saying that is continually repeated by the Orks. It is the constant cry, “Space Marines!’ as you advance through each level.

While the single player campaign offers you a few hours of gameplay, the online experience offers countless more with both the versus and exterminatus game modes. In versus there are two game modes that are typical of all third person action adventure games; seize ground and annihilation. In seize ground your objective is to capture control points and defend them, gaining points as long as they are in your possession. Annihilation is a team death match mode where the first team to forty-one kills is victorious.

Exterminatus is the more enjoyable mode as you fend off twenty waves of enemies. You can have up to four players in each game and you share the number of lives within the group. You can also gain additional lives by increasing your score. The difficulty and the amount of Orks increase every wave. Fighting in pairs may increase your chances of success for the waves later on. You also have the option of playing both versus and exterminatus in private mode. You are also able to customize your load outs, which are used in both versus and exterminatus. You can unlock all the weapons that are presented during the single player campaign upon levelling up. Like so many other online games, the initial reaction may be daunting as you continually get eradicated early on, but as soon as you gain a few levels you will quickly come to enjoy the online experience. A lot of players choose to use jump packs, which can make their characters more difficult to kill. An impressive feature during versus online play is the ability to copy the loadout of the player that kills you. This offers much variety early on, as well as the chance to both see and use the load outs of the top players in each game.

Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine does an excellent job in portraying the Warhammer universe through the dark and rugged environments, characters, and weapons. The variety of weapons available makes killing Orks extremely enjoyable, especially when using a chainsword. Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine will not disappoint as it offers around ten hours of gameplay from the single player campaign and countless more online.

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Author: Dave View all posts by