Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine

Don't Confuse These Orks with Orcs

There's enough spilled blood in Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine to fill San Alfonso del Mar's swimming pool.
Author: Scott Rodgers
Published: September 26, 2011
page 1 page 2   next
First off I know this review is lagging a bit behind. However, there is a very good reason for that. For whatever reason I couldn’t get Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine’s online to work with me. This problem isn’t just with my router, either, in fact it’s a well known problem that prompted Relic Entertainment to quickly get a patch out the door which had to go through Sony before making its way to consumers. This problem starts out by saying your NAT is not open (even though I run on NAT Type 2) when starting up the online and then when you search for a game it goes through the potential matches and never connects. Some cases reported that their systems even locked up but I never had that occur, I just couldn’t ever get into a game.


So while I wait to get online I may as well tell you all about the campaign. I’m not a Warhammer guy so a lot of the references flew over my head (such as the different groups and enemies, but I did read about them on a Wiki afterward). I had a quiet admiration of the series, though, having enjoyed Dawn of War because I’m just a huge RTS nerd. I always thought the games were neat looking but besides DoW I never really cared to check out any of the other titles. That changed as I was reading about Space Marine and saw it in action. The very first thing you’ll notice and I’m sure many will point to, is the fact that the game plays and looks a lot like Gears of War without a cover system. Now I could sit here all day and dissect the back and forth argument that has been raged on the Internet (technically, Warhammer came first but I promised I’m not even going to go there) but let’s just say that I really don’t care. It doesn’t matter which came first or who invented the formula for giant marines with huge armor, killing alien dudes, and running around with chainsaw weapons (though I think it’s obvious since one came out on the 3DO [dammit I said I wouldn’t go there]).

Anyway, getting back to the original point, the campaign is quite expansive. You play as Captain Titus and you’re sent on a mission to mow down oodles (yes, oodles) of orks. Along the way you’ll be backed up by your own battle brothers and in some instances, other chapters of the Space Marines. It’s a massive war that constantly reminds you that you’re against overwhelming odds. The orks fight with ferocity in waves that out-man your group ten or more to one. Even as someone who was unfamiliar with the franchise I was eager to find out what would happen next to Titus and his men and the team at Relic Entertainment did an excellent job of making the story more than “man versus ork.” I never found the cutscenes to be a problem, and actually I looked forward to each as they advanced the story considerably. If there is one thing I would point to needing improvement for the campaign’s story it would have to be the pacing. Sometimes you’ll get overwhelmed with information before and during a chapter and then go two or three without much else.

Each weapon has a unique feel and has its own uses throughout the campaign. Most of the time it’ll pay to stick to the bolter or storm bolter, but the meltagun was my personal favorite. Even though it’s a close range weapon, it has the highest stopping power in the game with a direct shot. I would wager that I used those two guns for a good chunk of the campaign but the weapon I relied on the most was actually the thunder hammer. It’s a melee weapon, but unlike the other two (chainsword and power axe) you can only carry a pistol (bolt or plasma; your preference). The combat lends itself well to whatever strategy you want, though keep in mind that things are a bit clunky when you get in group and have to start swinging. The camera works against you in these instances and being unable to lock on is a big oversight. I understand that it would take out a lot of the difficulty but I lost track of how many times I started swinging, only to hit one guy in a group and whiff on everyone else.
page 1 page 2   next