Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine review

July 15, 2012

/ by Tin Salamunic

Developer(s): Relic Entertainment
Publisher(s): THQ
Platform(s): PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC
Release Date(s): September 2011

Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine is a third person action game set in Games Workshop’s war ravaged Warhammer 40,000 universe.  As Captain Titus of the Ultramarines, the player fights to save the world of Graia from invasions of beastly Orks and the evil forces of Chaos.

The Good
- Wide variety of enemies
- Entertaining gameplay

The Bad
- Somewhat repetitive
- Story may be hard to follow if you're unfamiliar with the universe  

Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine is a worthy, if simplistic, action title. The game is essentially a string of vicious firefights, and considering how fun the combat is, that isn’t to be taken as a critical simplification. Part of the enjoyment taken from these constant shootouts is the sheer number of enemies the player will engage. As Titus, the player will fight warriors from the Ork and Chaos factions. Orks are a species of green skinned ogres of various sizes that make use of numerical superiority, and most Ork enemy types are close combatants. Chaos warriors are an interesting mix of sorcerers, traitorous space marines, daemons, and corrupted human soldiers who tend to be fewer in number, but generally possess heavy firepower.

The player will soon find that certain weapons and tactics are more appropriate versus one faction or the other, and the wide variety of close combat weapons, assault rifles, and heavy weapons all have their uses. In addition to the weaponry, the player has power-up abilities that are made available after a number of kills, which grant a short period of bullet time when used with ranged weapons, replenish health, and increase weapon damage for a limited time. Unfortunately, towards the end of the game, the combat gets tedious as the only deviation from the on-foot combat are short sections that make use of a jet pack and boss battles. Also, the lack of a cover mechanic was something I sorely missed throughout the game.

The plot of the game is fairly decent, with solid voice acting and well-constructed cut scenes. The use of Servo-skulls (simple robots created from machinery and human skulls that are used in the Warhammer 40,000 universe for various tasks) in a manner similar to Bioshock’s audio diaries is a great addition and reveals fear, thoughts, and pain felt by the planet’s inhabitants in response to the invasions. While the game’s plot is compelling, the lack of in-game exposition of the elements, terminology, and factions of the Warhammer 40,000 universe may confuse uninitiated players.

The graphics are on par with the average games of this generation. Character models are very detailed, and the environments perfectly capture the look of a planet under siege – rubble, fires, destroyed war machines, and dead bodies litter most stages of the game. The soundtrack effectively sets the mood, and sound effects do a great job of putting the player in the action, with impressive sounding weaponry and explosions.  
All in all, Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine is a solid game, and will probably satisfy fans of Warhammer 40,000. Other gamers can still enjoy the bloody good time, but may be turned off by the game’s reliance on players’ prior knowledge of Warhammer 40,000 lore.

Review by Jack Jacobs

Final Score “A Fun Ride” 8.0
Very nice and detailed character models, although the environments could use some more variety.
It’s a straightforward third-person shooter that’s a lot of fun, albeit a few strange design decisions.
Those familiar with the Warhammer lore will get a lot more out of the story, but it’s servicable nevertheless.
Solid voice acting and great sound effects, but there’s nothing particularly unique or new.

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