Sep 10, 2011

Space Marine Review

In the 41st Millennium there is only war, but how does that war play with a 3rd person action shooter?

I am a big fan of the war-hammer series. It's a massive well devolved world with an incredible amount of lore and history behind it. War-hammer took all the classical races (elves, undead, demons) and redid them, making them there own. So when the opportunity arose to step into the massive tread like boots of a space marine, I was all over it.

Story: You play as Captain Titus of the Ultramarines chapter. One of the massive forge worlds of the Imperium (the one's responsible for creating the great titan war machines) has come under attack from an Ork invasion. You and your Ultramarines are now responsible to hold off the orks and secure key positions until a liberation fleet can arrive to drive the orks from the planet.

If you've played a war-hammer game before than the story is nothing new for you. It's a retelling of the classic tale full of deception and betrayal. However the ending of the story is very unique. I won't do any spoilers, but Captain Titus has a unique ability which goes unexplained in Space Marine. The game ends with you asking yourself why it is that Titus can do what he can and sets up for a squeal.

Gameplay: Space Marine is a third person shooter with melee hack-and-slash combat mixed in. You'll spend the course of the game firing massive weaponry (anything from bolters and plasma guns to lascannons and melta guns) on tiny foes who's heads will explode after about 5 rounds (pistol rounds that is). The main focus of Space Marine is keep combat fast and moving. Your health works like Halo Reach: you have a regenerating shield layer and health which will not regenerate over time. The only way to get health back is execute a enemy. This is done by damaging them to a certain point and then stunning them with the Y button. After doing so, you can press B which will cause Titus to brutally murder said enemy with whatever melee weapon you happen to have at that time. (Either a chain sword, power axe, or thunder hammer)

I played the game on it's easiest setting (i wanted to beat it quickly and get the story) and I spent most of the time diving into enemies power axe first. However, when playing it on normal I was forced to rethink my strategy as I found that the enemies had become a lot tougher, so there can be a large gap in the difficulty settings. Combat flows smoothly, watching  Titus swing a Thunder Hammer around looks and feels great. Graphics are good, from staring at the huge, epic scenery of the game to ripping an ork's head off, it's all quite stunning. (although there were times when in executing an enemy they might disappear into a wall and if you do it on a slope they'll almost always fall through the ground)

Space Marine's campaign is short, roughly less than ten hours on the easiest difficulty, however there is multiplayer in which you can level up and upgrade your Space Marine to fit your own combat style.

Your allies are very combatant and they can actually do something is combat. I never found myself  waiting long periods of time for them to get into an elevator, or begging them to do something if i was low on health and couldn't get to the enemy.

there are two boss fights in the game one of which consists with burying the boss (Warboss that is) in empty ammo shells, and the other is simply a button mashing quick time event.

Closing Thoughts
So here's the question: should I buy Space Marine? I can't tell you to be honest. If you want the multiplayer go pick it up there are 41 levels and you spend several hours killing  other players on line. If your not a fan of multiplayer, (or you don't have online play) i would suggest renting the game. While there are collectables and things of that such, I really felt no need to back and find them all. Bottom line is: even if you don't want to buy Space Marine it is a game worth playing. At the very least rent it or borrow it from a friend. You won't be disappointed.

Space Marine-8
Gains points for awesome combat, epic scenery, and really doing the 40K universe justice. Loses points for short campaign with no real replay value.

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