As you may be aware, the demo for the upcoming game by Relic Entertainment and THQ, was just released yesterday. After reading the post announcing the demo, I immediately went onto Xboxlive and downloaded it myself to give it a run.
I was blown over.
I have been a long time fan of the Warhammer 40k universe, having read many novels, played the various games released and used to play the table-top game as well (Marines, who’d have guessed) but when Space Marine was announced I didn’t put much stock into it.
While I was interested, I didn’t have much faith that the game could solidly represent the quiet ferocity of the 700 pound Space Marine. I was mistaken.
While Warhammer 40k games are nothing new, there has yet to be a game that completely nailed the representation of these ancient warriors.
Dawn of War and it’s expansions were excellent Real-Time Strategy games that I enjoyed, however, they had the Space Marines as the generic infantry unit. While it made for a good concept in a strategy game, it did little to represent them. Dawn of War 2 came much closer, what with a squad-based concept, people were able to see just a few Space Marines rip through entire legions of the Emperors enemies.
While this was much more accurate, it doesn’t quite capture the feel of these titans while watching the battle from orbit. So when Space Marine was announced, needless to say I was interested, but I truly didn’t expect anything amazing, just a generic hack-slash involving a Space Marine.
I haven’t been so thankful to be proven wrong in a long time.
Space Marine is a beautiful thing to behold in action. From the moment you (Captain Titus of the Ultramarines) and your battle-brothers step foot from the crash onto the forge world of Graia, you get a wonderful impression of a planet under siege. The green tide is threatening to overthrow the Manufactorum, and you and your brothers quickly plot a course of action and wade into the fray.
Combat is great, Space Marine has forgone any since of a cover-based combat system and made it so you can only regain health by brutally ripping your enemies apart. Thank you God. As for the gameplay, its a surprisingly well done mix between shooting and melee, allowing for either at the touch of a button. Bolter fire feels realistic and is rewarding to watch the bolts tear an Ork apart and then detonate, blowing the unfortunate green-skin to kingdom come.
Melee combat, involving the Chainsword, is amazingly fun. Each sword slash leaves limbs severed and blood flying, giving a satisfying and visceral feel to combat. Health is only rewarded from executions which involve a short, violent cutscene which, thankfully, manages to not interfere with the flow of combat.
All in all, Space Marine is shaping up to be a blockbuster. Good representation of the Warhammer 40k universe, pegged the quiet ferocity of the Space Marines, and has a violent, fun combat system which won’t soon get old. Relic, I am anxiously holding my breath for September 6th. Bring on the Orks!
Anyone interested in more material regarding the Space Marines should look at the Ultramarine Omnibus, a collection of books involving Uriel Ventris of the Ultramarines and Storm of Iron, a Chaos Marine novel based on the Iron Warriors.
Take a moment to play the demo and maybe even expend your reading library in preparation for the release of Space Marine on September 6th. The Emperor Protects.