Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine Review

Justin Clouse | 19 Sep 2011 10:15
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Warhammer 40,000 lore has had a long history and has served as the progenitor for many of our modern interpretations of "Space Marines". Surprisingly Relic Entertainment's Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine is our first time actually playing as a Space Marine outside of the strategy genre recently, but this entry certainly makes up for any previous lacking of action games. The gameplay of this third-person shooter perfectly captures the spirit of being a 7-foot armored titan, wading into your foes with sword and axe just as effectively as you bring them down with a hail of gun fire.

Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine tells the story of Captain Titus of the Ultramarines and it's up to him and his battle brothers to secure key assets on the Ork-invaded forge world before the rest of the fleet arrives to retake the world. Titus is joined by a pair of AI controlled marines, Sidonus the veteran sergeant, complete with scars, and Leandros, only recently elevated from novice, who still fervently clings to the Codex Astartes rulebook. Eventually the forces of Chaos, comprised of traitorous Space Marines, Imperial Guardsmen and Daemons, also jump into the fray to further complicate matters. If all of these terms leave you scratching your head, Space Marine isn't here to drop decades' worth of tabletop backstory on you. For fans of the series it will be enjoyable immersion with lots of little details and call outs, but even if you don't know what the Codex Astartes is, Space Marine does a good job of laying in enough context for you to get the gist.

Overall, the story is enjoyable and will continue to compel you to want to play more, and Mark Strong lends a calm and commanding voice to Captain Titus. There are some great epic moments like jump-packing onto an Ork ship, a massive aerial battle as you race to reach a key location first and fighting down a bridge shoulder to shoulder with squads of space marines. The overall story arc does ring annoyingly similar to previous Warhammer 40,000 videogame narrative structures, i.e. Orks invade, Space Marines are sent in and then Chaos gets involved. In the end, the single player campaign will take you around 8 hours to finish if you scour all the corners of the levels for audio logs. Though it's for the most part a linear progression through each level with only the occasional side area or passage containing some extra ammo or audio logs. Space Marine will have you fighting from room to hallway to room again.

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