Time to smash skulls and cause chaos…with honour
The occupation ‘Space Marine’ is thrown around so much on our consoles nowadays that the career is practically the future’s equivalent of ‘Shoe Sales Assistant’. That’s not to say their career path is incredibly uninteresting, it just kind of takes the fun out of war if you can send down a couch potato to sort everything out. The cast offering up their services to rid a planet of inter-galactic menaces are thankfully a more modest band of brothers in Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine, yet still manage to pack a considerable punch. A heavily industrialised planet practically occupying nothing but rust has been heavily invaded by filthy Orks. With practically no innocents to easily slaughter, it seems a dim move on behalf of the bogey reminiscent nasties. However, enormous weapons of mass destruction called Titans lay just waiting for a hijacking. To end the conflict quickly without the need of possible universal way, Captain Titus and his team of Ultramarines are sent down to eradicate the problem before it escalates into something much worse. So it’s another ‘Take over (a) world’ scheme that’s sure to fall thanks to your hand-eye coordination, yet the characters you bear witness to aren’t the standard ‘roid pumped warmongers. The story evolves into a more troublesome plot, and there’s something refreshing about a band of brothers who don’t constantly splurt obscenities in their pals faces. They may look like they’re dressed up by their over-protective mother before setting up for war, yet their decorum is more than enough to show their experience in battle, and they truly act like a band of brothers. Their voices are also hilarious contrast to the cockney Orks, like Mr Darcy is unleashing hell on orphans. Although the clunky protagonist and gung-ho attitudes to slay slips Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine steadily into copycat Gears Of War territory, the game thankfully manages to stand alone with its own techniques in slaughter. Seeing as Captain Titus is dressed in a recycled tank, there’s no need for a cover system as real men should waver into battle with melee weapon in one hand and firearm in the other. Your right hand occupies an arsenal of guns and projectiles to massacre Orks from afar. Your left holds one melee weapon at a time, and can be traded throughout the game from a standard combat knife to an epic sledgehammer. With a deadly combo in both, it’s very fun to snipe off enemies from a distance only to tackle hordes of armies with a vicious melee weapon, and offers up plenty of blood spurting opportunities.
There’s something refreshing about a band of brothers who don’t constantly splurt obscenities in their pals faces
Unfortunately Space Marine does stumble into some uneasy patches here and there. Space Marine is one of the few games these days where you can’t wait your wounds away, and must nick health from others in order to survive. Stunning an enemy and tearing them apart in a special execution move will replenish drained health, but doing so barely helps you out. The animation that begins does revel you in gory glory, but leaves you open to the hoards of enemies attempting to bash the hell out of you. With no means of defence, you soon find that replenished health disappearing almost immediately after you’ve gained it, making you ponder why we couldn’t have just gone for a standard if slightly old school health pack system. Some locations you storm into have fantastic attention to detail, in terms of design and as miniature warring landmarks. Whenever a gun-fight occurs in an enclosed arena, it’s incredibly easy to be overwhelmed with grim enemies, and so you have to constantly keep your wits about you in order to survive. However, to get to these impressive locales you’re usually trundling along some dull environments and sludge brown hallways which reinforce the linearity of the title. Enemies barely ever evolve in variety, and so despite combat spicing up with gunplay, Space Marine can occasionally feel rather repetitive with the same old enemies marching down the same old hallways. The issues found in the single-player campaign are fortunately absent when you take the battle online. Your injuries cater to this gaming generations’ conventional logic and health regenerates over time. Huge battles take place over those immense war grounds mentioned earlier, and the mechanics work undeniably well to deliver satisfying multi-player action. There are only two modes on offer, a standard ‘Team Deathmatch’ and capture and hold game, but if you find yourself enveloped in the community online, there’s plenty of unlockable armour sets to earn and challenges to complete to keep you hooked. The problem I have with Space Marine is it has the tools to be extraordinary, yet never hits the mark. It has good ideas that separate itself from an over-saturated crowd of third person shooters these days, but doesn’t combine them into something truly epic. The story has its nice twists and turns, but takes so long to get off the mark and dwindles thanks to the repetitive gameplay. Switching your various methods of flattening Orks from afar or up close is fun, but the sheer lack of range in enemies and therefore tactics to use in battles is fairly limiting. It’s by no mean a bad game, but it has fantastic potential which just isn’t quite met. If you’re looking for a hapless bloodbath, or heavily invested in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, Space Marine is a brilliantly gory trek which will keep you seated from beginning to end with nice plot twists and gory executions that’ll see you looking beyond its faux pas. If you’re looking for something just a little bit more, however, then it’s a slightly bumpy, if still enjoyable hack ‘n’slash, third person shooter combo. It does enough to differentiate itself from a rather over crowded market, it just needs something to latch onto your bottom jaw and drop it through the floor.
The Bad: Doesn’t throw up too many surprises and ends up rather linear, Lack of variety in enemies, Some stocky animations constantly tip battles out of your favour, Only two multi-player modes