Warhammer 40K: Space Marine Review

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Different enemies require different means of dispatch. Smaller Gretchins charge in massive numbers and can be killed in one hit, while larger Big Shooter Nobz (not making this up, swear to God) require evasive maneuvers and a little Fury mode (take that, Kratos). Explosive Bomb Squigs can take you out in a single blast, so they become a priority; turn the tables and blow them up in a crowd of Orks for a bit of payback. Like the games it borrows from, Space Marine is combat-heavy. The efforts made to shake it up, however, can't excuse its button-bashing combat (which, granted, looks the business), and a tactic-less approach to shooting that doesn't give you a cover system but puts loads of waist-high walls in your way. You know, just to rub it in.

Expect to find plenty of orks to slaughter throughout the game.

Bizarre penchant for building little walls aside, levels look gorgeous - but they're flawed. The Imperium's Forge World is a paradise of industry damaged under an orange sun. Buildings tower like monoliths above, and multi-mile bridges stretch to the horizon. Skyscraper-sized Titan (think mechs by Wall-Mart) and the view across the gigantic Maufactorum are astonishing. But it's all background stuff. You're funneled from one area to the next, down war trenches, up elevators, through factory floors and across narrow train stations, and though it's framed nicely, it all gets a bit predictable.

Occasionally, tedium is disrupted by a Massive Action Set-Piece. You know the one. You're on a speeding train, or you're shooting a tailing drop ship, or three mini bosses take you by surprise - or maybe all three happen at once. They're well-needed and well-executed. As are jetpack levels (take that, Halo Reach). Hovering for a moment and then slamming down with meteoric impact breaks up the monotony nicely, even if those levels, stuffy and narrow, do seem like they were built for jogging quite slowly with an armory on your back than careening towards the heavens.

At least he's got an axe to protect him from the giant explosion...

If you're a Warhammer: 40K fan this is the game you've been waiting for - the franchise you love on the scale it deserves. Though constant combat gets repetitive, for everyone else this is satisfying Ork genocide - a third-person shooter that looks the part and borrows from the best. Come on, marine. Do you wanna live forever?


Ben Griffin

 

Gameplay:

Shooting and fighting both feel polished, but there is a lack of depth on both fronts.

Audio:

A forgettable orchestral score is saved by cockney Orks (one of them called us a nonce).

Graphics:

Combat looks stunning and runs smoothly, and there's a massive sense of scale.

Longevity:

The five-chapter campaign will take around 10 hours, and then there is the multiplayer (not available at time of review).

     

Final Score:



What Space Marine lacks in nuance and depth it more than makes up for in massive-gun badassary. It is bloody, sometimes bloody repetitive, but mostly bloody fun.

 

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THQ
Relic Entertainment
Out Now
PC PS3 360