Warhammer 40k: Space Marine Preview

By on February 7, 2011

All in a day's work for a Space Marine

The games industry seems clogged with uber machomen wielding big guns, shouting obscenities about what they did last night with the mother of the poor unfortunate bastard they just so happen to be fighting for some reason unknown to practically anyone playing the game… That doesn’t seem to bother games publisher-developer combo THQ and Relic Entertainment one bit though. No sir, Relic, the company behind the popular Company of Heroes and Dawn of War series has taken up the challenge of bringing the original badasses of space to life in their latest conquest, Warhammer 40k: Space Marine.

While the title leaves something to be desired, Space Marine is a 3rd person shooter that revolves around an Ultramarine called Titus. For those of you who may not be familiar with Warhammer 40k, Space Marines are essentially genetically enhanced super human badass xenophobes. Set on a Forge World, which in layman terms is a planet colonised solely for mass production of war materials, leading to a planet totally encompassed by factories with an atmosphere thick with smog and pollution. As usual, the pesky Orks have decided to invade. This means that you’ll be fighting 7 foot tall green killing machines who’s only joy and purpose in life is to literally fuck you and your buddies up. Orks in Warhammer are alot meaner and greener than in your usual fantasy games so expect tough close combat encounters throughout with vast numbers of Orks swarming you from all sides with gnashing teeth and great metal clubs.

While you might already be rolling your eyes in disapproval, considering that the plot is a little on the simple side, Space Marine does certainly show potential when looking at the few gameplay videos that are available so far. While the gameplay style may feel like Gears of War, it features one subtle difference. Space Marines simply will not take cover. Ever… And why would they? With power armour from head to toe and shoulder pads that could stop a freight train, Space Marines are essentially walking tanks. This should make for some pretty interesting gameplay all round. Rather than focusing on ranged combat a la Gears of War style, Space Marine is all about charging head long at the enemy and issuing a quick chainsaw to the face, so much so that Titus can even smash right through solid cover as if it were tin foil.

Chainsaws and Strawberry Jam, not as healthy as you might think...

There are apparently 15 different weapons to choose from, such as the explosive round firing automatic Bolter gun and the armour melting plasma rifle, each of which level up throughout the game, changing their appearance and damage dealing capabilities. However, it seems that Relic has chosen to focus more so on the close combat side of things, including such weapons as the Chain sword and skull crushing Power-fist. These are the weapons that you’ll make use of most if you feel like making some fresh Ork mincemeat as each weapon features a variety of gory finishing moves to satisfy your taste for Ork blood. Relic Producer, Raphael Von Lierop, emphasises the aim to create a seamless flow between ranged shooting combat and melee action; something that’s definitely done too rarely in 3rd-person shooters as melee takes a backseat in favour of cover based shooting. While alot of the gameplay footage shows Titus literally tearing through wave after wave of Orkish rabble, let us hope that Relic have the skill to add a little more flavour to the game instead of creating a repetitive ‘hack and slash’ title.

While multiplayer elements have been kept secret so far its been revealed that Co-op and competitive multiplayer will feature in the final game. Here’s hoping for 4 player co-op with other players taking on the roles of Titus’ 3 squad mates. However, unless Relic can bring more to the mix than just pure mindless carnage as you rip through waves of Orks like, well, your average Space Marine, it’s hard to see at this stage how the promised 10 hour campaign will be able to keep players entertained for long. I hope my doubts are proved wrong when Space Marine is released later this year for Xbox 360 and PS3.

About David Scarpitta

I am a critical guy, and love to review and give my professional opinion on just about anything. Though have a love for tech/gaming and music alongside the cinema. You can catch me consulting and developing the net any day of the week.