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Hands On With Warhammer 40,000: Space Marines Singleplayer

Recently, Platform Nation was lucky enough to be invited to a Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine Community event, and while at the event we spent a good deal of time getting ourselves familiar with the game. I am going to be up front here, Platform Nation: I had no idea how vast and how much history was involved with the Warhammer series, and as I was being briefed by members of the Warhammer community, I was drawn in immediately!

First up I will brief you on the game itself, and when the story takes place.

In Warhammer 40,000 Space Marine you are Captain Titus, a Space Marine of the Ultramarines chapter and a seasoned veteran of countless battles.

A millions-strong Ork horde has invaded an Imperial Forge World, one of the planet-sized factories where the war machines for humanity’s never ending battle for survival are created. Losing this planet is not an option, but a darker and far more evil threat is lurking large in the shadows of this world.

With an Imperial liberation fleet en-route, the Ultramarines are sent in to hold key locations until reinforcements arrive. Captain Titus and a squad of Ultramarine veterans use Bolter and Chainsword to take the fight to the enemies of mankind.

I won’t spoil the story’s plot and, besides, if you are a fan, you’re probably already up to date with the story anyway, and want to know more about the single-player gameplay. So here we go!

You play as Captain Titus, an Ultramarine that has fought for the Imperium for over 150 years. Now, 150 years seems like a long time, but Captain Titus is considered a young Space Marine.  Don’t let that fool you, however, because he is one bad dude that has a reputation for being one of the mightiest Ultramarines, and he is mankind’s last hope for survival in this third person shooter. The story is an interesting one: along with his comrades Leandros and Sindonus, you lead a detachment of Space Marines into the Forge World of Graia. There, you quickly discover that the fight against the Orks is not all that requires your attention; an Imperial Inquisitor named Drogan needs help securing an experimental Power source, before the Orks do so themselves. And this is when the epic battles begin.

At first, as I was familiarizing myself with the controls, I noticed one thing right off the bat: there was no cover system. While I was shocked by this at first, as I started to progress in the game, I realized, “Who needs a cover system, as I am Captain Titus!” The controls also felt just right, with the button assignments being exactly what I would expect from a third person shooter (and they were responsive when I would change from my ranged weapon to my melee weapon).  The environments in the game depict a world that has seen war, is shrouded in darkness, and has been overrun by hostile alien races; pretty much what you would expect from a game set in the 41st Millennium.  As immersive as the environments look, however, aside from  picking up weapons and ammo, or opening the occasional door or gate, there is limited interaction with the game environment.  Of course, there always seemed to be red barrels strategically placed to wipe out a swarm of enemies with one well placed round from your favorite weapon.  The graphics for such a large game are pretty impressive; I often found myself taking time between battles to check out nooks and crannies found in the game, and soon realized that the details throughout the game told their own story.  After talking with some of the Warhammer community members, I found that some of the symbols and other markings signified certain things that had transpired prior to this game, and if you are familiar with the Warhammer books, the story and environment unfold and look as they imagined.

Here is a quick look at the weapons found in the game. There are a lot of great tools of destruction in the game, and I found that I used melee weapons a lot more than I would have in other games. Don’t get me wrong, you will need all of the weapons to eliminate different threats throughout the game, such as the Stalker Pattern Bolter to pull off amazing headshots from afar (while the Orks are firing at you). But I found myself using the chainsaw to cut my way through the single player portion of the game when possible, as the hordes of Orks swarm you and, let’s face it, a good execution move is always a pleasure to watch.


The combat system provides you with a lot of possibilities, from momentum combat to executions. Momentum combat, allows you to utilize both types of weapons to take down the opposing hordes that are coming at you. Execution moves are spectacular, and you will find yourself using them more often than not, as they are essentially your health pack; no need to search for them, just stun your opponent and use the execution move to gain health. But beware, using these moves can come at a hefty price, as you become vulnerable to other attacks from nearby enemies. One other move I would like to touch on briefly is the Bull Rush. As a Space Marine you weigh in at more than 700 pounds, and when you start off on a sprint, you can imagine the carnage left behind. Bull rush proves to be a handy combat move when swarmed with Orks.

If I had to say at this point whether I would buy this game for the single-player campaign, I would have to say yes, without a doubt. To be honest, I truly liked the game, knew nothing about it when I went in, and thought others may want to know, as it seems like it is flying in under the radar. The game world is also one you can get lost in; I frequently found myself taking in my surroundings and capturing what was going on in the Warhammer world.  The single-player is no easy task though; I played on easy and it proved to be a pretty good challenge (I wasn’t just breezing through the levels we were given to play). The single-player campaign will provide an estimated 8-12 hours of solid gameplay, but that isn’t the end of this game, as multiplayer will provide endless hours of gameplay on top of that. But that is for another day; keep an eye out here at Platform Nation for my impressions on the multiplayer side of things coming soon.

I want to thank THQ’s Space Marine Community Manager Mathew Everret for inviting me and allowing me to play this awesome game so I could pass along the information to our community. I would also like to extend a warm thank you to the Warhammer community members, you guys and gals are awesome and proved to be a huge help by passing along some of your knowledge of the Warhammer world.

Want to know more about the game, or some of the features? Was there something I missed? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll do my best to give you what information I have!

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  • Some of the earlier reviews on other websites stated how repetitive the combat could become in certain areas in the levels they were given to play. Did you find that to be a problem?

  • Some of the earlier reviews on other websites stated how repetitive the combat could become in certain areas in the levels they were given to play. Did you find that to be a problem?

  • NinjaGabe

    Very psyched for this game. The combat looks good, visceral and satisfying.

  • Good question.  I did not find it repetitive at all.  I found each level balanced and progressively got a little more challenging and that is were the variety of weapons comes in.  You could switch up from lets say your thunderhammer to your heavy bolter but the next area may require you to change out weapons and use some other weapons as the enemies would come from maybe above on a higher tier to blasting through and hitting you in a swarm, they managed to keep each level fresh in my opinion.