Branded as the game you never really knew you wanted, Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine clawed itself onto the bloody battlefield of Warhammer games, but unlike so many others, it planted its Ultramarine blue flag into the top of the mound, rather than falling short. Developed by the infamous Relic Entertainment, Space Marine allows you to throw yourself into the chaotic world of the Warhammer universe, whilst still holding onto the respect that used to follow traditional Warhammer games. Following Space Marine’s release, many disregarded it, due to the vast number of Warhammer based video games that had flopped; however, I found myself thoroughly enjoying the hacking, slashing and violent persona that the game carries through your experience.
You play as the mighty Captain Titus of the Ultramarines, part of a group of super human soldiers known as the Space Marines. You are immediately thrown into combat taking on hordes upon hordes of green Orks, a scourge that the Space Marines happen to have many disagreements with. This green plague is attempting to invade the Forge World Graia, a world mainly devoted to military production. On your journey through the devastated world, you are joined by two of your fellow Ultramarines: Veteran Sergeant Sidonus, and Marine Leandros. These marines act as the two extremes of the Ultramarine way, Sidonus featuring the older more traditional fight to the death style, whilst Leandros remains a very by-the-book marine, following every codex instruction. It’s a nice contrast to the somewhat repetitive personality of Titus, and thus allows relief from what is really a one-man show. As the game progresses, you are introduced to a Chaos Invasion, caused by an unreliable power source, and a corrupt mechanic, leading to the introduction of the Chaos Lord Nemeroth, a complete counter to the purity and rigidness of Titus. You and your companions are tasked with defeating both the Chaos, and the Orks, whilst still attempting to prevent further Chaos invasion. Towards the end of the game, you are thrown into an epic battle with Lord Nemeroth himself, resulting a spiralling fight through the air, which leads to the victory of the Space Marines. However, your victory is somewhat taken away from you, as your own comrade Leandros suspects you to be corrupted, and consequently you are stripped of your rank and taken away. It’s a foul ending, leaving you not really knowing who your true enemy is, but is still satisfying to see the huge seemingly unstoppable hordes put to an end.
Warhammer 40,000 Space Marine, is fun to play. The 3rd person aspects allows you to spectate every move and kill you make, and even the ranged weaponry within the game holds clout and power with every shot. I think the one thing Space Marine really does particularly well is representing the weight and rule behind these super-soldiers, the attacks are fast but are still carrying a vast amount of punch, and as the game progresses you are slowly introduced to newer mechanics, allowing the game to never feel stale, or repetitive. You are presented with a huge arsenal of ranged and melee weaponry allowing the player to customise their experience to the enemy they’re against, or just to how they enjoy playing; and the game even throws in a jump-pack to certain parts of the game to add yet another dimension.
Another excellent mechanic of the game is the ‘Fury Mode’ which fills up during combat. This mode allows you to become essentially impervious to damage, whilst doubling your output, something a Warhammer fan will have always wanted to do. Furthermore, whilst dealing damage in huge amounts, your character also has the ability to execute stunned or weakened opponents, regaining a small amount of health and looking fantastic in the process. Due to the nature of the Phoenix Engine powering the game, the executions are harsh, violent and bloody, and often create a small hospice of rest from the hordes attacking you, it’s a fantastic mechanic allowing the player to carry on covering themselves in green-skin blood whilst pushing through the never-ending hordes.
The game has multiplayer, co-op and versus, which both have flaws but are still extremely fun. The co-operative experience is a wave based survival game mode, which allows you and a group of friends to frenzy and work together. However, the versus game mode hit me with a punch in the gut, the feeling of power and invincibility is immediately gone, as everyone has it, so no one does. There is a huge skill gap between players finishing their campaign moving to multiplayer, and those who have already logged many hours into the multiplayer experience. Saying that, 2 Space Marines is always better than one, superior team-play and strategic planning can easily overpower a more skilled, lonelier player. It features DLC, most of which is only cosmetic: no pay-to-win heresy.
In conclusion I would recommend Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine to everyone, more so to Warhammer fans, if it’s sat in your backlog, pull it out! The easy to grasp gameplay accompanying a rich story with carefully placed twists and developments, leads to an excellent experience for all players. Even the finer taste multiplayer will be able to find a place in the heart of any team game fan. Furthermore, the constantly evolving experience, pure power and violence in the gameplay itself can lead to hours of enjoyment. Whilst the cutscenes might feel a tad too long and tiresome in places, and the character of Titus himself can become a touch dull, it’s saved by how enjoyable and incredible you feel whilst massacring foes beneath you.
FOR THE EMPEROR! Or something.
- Graphically Impressive
- Solid Campaign with developing plot
- Huge variety in weapons and gameplay
- "Bloody" good fun
- Movement in multiplayer can feel restricted