Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine for PC Reviews
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Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine for PC

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Space Marine: Brutal Satisfaction

Jan 25, 2012 (Updated Jul 26, 2013)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Excellent plot and lore, wonderfully brutal and satisfying gameplay, great graphics and music

Cons:Online play is a bit rough

The Bottom Line: It is the perfect choice to rent, and not a bad choice to buy! It's a fun challenge.


"Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine" for the Xbox 360

There is much to be said about a game based on the illustrious Warhammer 40,000 universe; almost too much, sometimes. Luckily for the casual Warhammer fan and diehard 40K pro alike, Space Marine is built to be perfectly playable without any knowledge of its tabletop predecessors, while still maintaining a high dosage of the lore W40K is so famous for.

Everybody has heard of the ever-famous tabletop game Dungeons and Dragons, a notorious creation of Gary Gygax (and Dave Arneson) that has garnered both high regard, and high infamy. In a nutshell, Dungeons & Dragons is a game where the players make the game, setting up models, maps, and miniatures (a.k.a. minis) to their own specific needs and desires. The focus on the Three M's of Tabletop Games was duplicated in another very popular sci-fi tabletop (perhaps DnD's only true foe in the tabletop world), going by the name of Warhammer 40,00 (or Warhammer 40K/W40K), based on the DnD-style fantasy tabletop Warhammer.

Warhammer 40K takes place thirty-eight millennia in our future, which has apparently inspired the name's "40,000" part. In this future, original Warhammer races come back as space-faring factions, each of whom (along with other, smaller groups) worship themed gods, such as the god of Chaos, or the god of Justice. Through these gods, they directly receive power, and harnessing this power, factions such as the Imperium of Man, the Traitor Legions, and "Xenos" races (including Orks, Tyrannid, etc.) strive to dominate the galaxy.

The armies of the Imperium are known as the Space Marines, composed of Legions, Chapters, and further, smaller categories. The Space Marines of the Traitor Legions are the Chaos analogue to the Imperial Space Marine, also usually possessing Legions and further categorization. Space Marines are the genetic heirs of the Primarchs, who themselves are the diverse genetic heirs of the immortal and omniscient Emperor. Thus, Space Marines are highly capable and referred to in a reverent tone.

One such Legion of Space Marines was that of the Ultramarines, under the imperial loyalist Primarch Roboute Guilliman. The Ultramarines are infamous for being strict-to-code, battle-bred Space Marines that are among the toughest in the galaxy. In Space Marine, the player character is in fact an Ultramarine by the name of Captain Titus, leading the veteran Sergeant Sidonus and the strictly formal, but green, Leandros.

On the opposition to the Space Marines for much of the game are the warlike, mongrel-race known as the Orks, who form the base of a loose "alliance" between the Orkoids (which also include tiny Gretchin). The Orks were created for one purpose by their masters: war. They unleash unbridled, senseless fury upon any and all targets they come across. Though their numbers are vast, Ork's lack of unification and coordination have brought their worry-factor down considerably with the Imperium, who now view them largely as an annoyance that must be controlled by a higher power.

The Orks have decided to wage war on the largely unsuspecting inhabitants of the Imperial Forge World of Graia, catching the military off-guard. To stall for time to allow for reinforcements, Titus, along with Leandros and Sidonus, orbital-drop onto Graia, where the must take back strategic positions, save monumentally important Imperial secrets from falling into the hands of the Orks; or worse, the hands of whatever mysterious power is controlling the Orks.

To start off discussion about the gameplay of Space Marine, I would first like to take a look at the game engine. Relic, owned by the game's publisher THQ, has made a deceptively simple game engine that allows for a very enjoyable game. Though the game functions very smoothly, it also features only one deviation from the brutal massacre of your foes: activating objects (which is just another permutation to the engine common in most games). This is not necessarily bad, though, as it allows the player to really focus in on Orkish slaughter.

The most noticeable form of combat is the melee, which is not only a practical method of dispatching enemies, but also heals you when used to perform executions. The hack-n-slash portion of this game is extensively merciless, featuring such moves as putting a chainsword through the jaw of your enemy and stomping your foe's head into a red mist. Brutal.

A more refined enjoyment comes from the ranged combat, which utilizes so many different types of machine guns, pistol, launchers, shotguns, and more, in a futuristic and definitely unreal style. Shooting down your enemies instead of barreling into the center of the fray will keep you alive, especially when faced with the terrible Screechers that will take your face right off.

What isn't absolutely terrifying in this game are the graphics. They are quite beautiful, as a matter of fact, and present a wholly destroyed but still awesome environment. I often found myself quite lost in the style, paying less attention to the story than I should have. What can I say, though? I was enthralled by their style, which I would say is quite a good thing!

Another great factor to the game's development is the audio, which is impeccably high-quality and well-recorded. Voice actors were perfect for their characters, and the epic background music (whether it be battle music or that of the calm) was really fitting for the type of game Space Marine is. I think that Relic hit the nail on the head with the audio.

So this game has a lot riding for it that I did not mention above. For starters, the Warhammer 40K universe is especially diverse and expansive, so even after a crash course in W40K lore, I was still not quite prepared for even the small dosages they included in the game. Which, I would think, is a good thing, since I was motivated to go discover more of this wonderful universe.

Secondly, the Hard Mode on the game seems to be so perfectly balanced. It is a real challenge for casual gamers (though hardcore gamers may find it a bit tedious or easy), yet it is still quite doable. My satisfaction from single-handedly destroying thousands of difficult adversaries over the course of a single play-through, combined with the attractive cinematic scenes and plot, drew me in to the point where I could not bring myself to stop playing it until I had finished.

Inevitable, the game does possess a few features that are less than great. Though the system is great for single-player, the multiplayer can be quite frustrating much more often than not. In all fairness, however, there is a strong playerbase for the Space Marine online multiplayer (at least, on Xbox Live) and I may simply not be suited for this particular type of online game.

~Score

Plot: 10 out of 10
Gameplay: 10 out of 10
Graphics and Visuals: 10 out of 10
Sounds and Music: 10 out of 10
Online Play: 6 out of 10
Overall Average: 9.2 out of 10


Recommend this product? Yes


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