Thursday, 5 September 2013

A Review of Space Marine

Well for the first time on this blog dear readers I will be reviewing a video game! This time I am going to be reviewing the video game, Space Marine!

Now I have written about the idea of Space Marine's and the Games Workshop franchise of Space Marine. Here I'm going to be reviewing the 2011 game of similar name, Space Marine! Set in the grim darkness of the 41st millennium, where there is only war, we are thrust into the hellish landscape that is the Imperium of Man playing as its premier super soldier, the titular space marine. You play as Captain Titus of the Ultramarines Chapter (the poster boys of 40k) following him as he attempts to unleash hell on the xenos enemies of mankind.

The Orks have invaded Forge World Graia, a planet devoted to military production, especially that of the massive war titans which protect mankind. Titus must stop the Ork invasion by any means necessary, even if it means teaming up with some of mankind's more brutal agents in order to do so.

The game is fairly well written plot wise, if pretty simple. You learn to love the dry wit of Sergeant Sidonus, not want to slap young Leandros and hope that poor Lt. Mira and her Guardsmen aren't overrun by the greenskin hordes. There are enough twists and turns in the plot to keep you guessing but it is straightforward with the whole theme of the grim future.

Now on to the important aspect, the game play!

The game is not your average third person shooter game. It instead devotes much of its time to close combat and amply rewards the player for doing so. For instance, the only way to regain lost health in game is to go in and execute an enemy. That really made me want to just wade in and start slaughtering the green menace.

It also gives you lots of wonderful weapons in order to do this. From the simple combat knife to the gargantuan Thunder Hammer you have a vast variety of ways to slice up Orks. You also get coated in gore while doing so and many times Titus's nice blue armor was just covered in a new layer of red!

Each weapon has advantages and disadvantages. The regular weapons allow you to fire your bolter and other weapons in accord or to quickly switch back to larger weapons for long range combat. The large weapons like the Thunder Hammer only allow you to use your bolt pistol since the Thunder Hammer requires two hands to wield and one to hold aside otherwise.

The trade off is fair though since the bolt pistol works just as well as a bolter (with a slower rate of fire) and the Thunder Hammer simply devastates anything in its path from the lowliest boy to the meanest Nob.

That's not to say that shooting is lacking either. The guns you are given are an impressive arsenal of closer quarters weapons, and long range firepower. Each can cut a swathe through Ork hordes with either masses of fire or with sheer explosive power. None of them are lacking but the way the game implements them is.

For a game with focuses so much on close quarters battle, the idea of having enemies who can stand off and blast you is a little jarring. You can answer in kind but I found that longer ranged enemies when employed in great numbers, were a slight game breaker. I could defeat them after one or two tries but being mauled by Orks with cleavers while being ventilated by Orks with guns (or rockets) became a serious issue. The worst part was of course the bomb squigs, which were an instant kill no matter the circumstances. Trust me I haven't let such profanity loose at fictional characters since watching Twilight.

While this doesn't diminish the game in itself, it does present a unique and irritating challenge to the pure flow of game play. While switching between weapons is generally flawless, the sections where one has to use a two handed weapons (or one forgets to switch and has no option of changing it) get absurdly difficult rather quickly and it becomes a series of innovative 'stay alive' ideas until you manage to kill everything in sight.

This doesn't ruin the game, but makes it just a bit more challenging and is hopefully a balance issue they will work out in the sequel.

The fun parts though are when you get to run around with a jump pack and smite your enemies from above. These are well place throughout the game and happily break up the tedium of run, hack/slash, and shoot. A number of other sections with vehicles and fun objects serve the games purpose well.

There are only two moments which could really be called boss fights. They tend to be wave attacks until you can smash at the tougher than normal boss. They're pretty fun but I have to say the final boss battle is rather anti-climactic.

That aside though this really is a wonderful game! It's well balanced, has no bug issues, and plays really well. Though many hardcore 40k fans disliked it I have to say they have no clue what they're missing! It plays well and is a barrel of fun, its also reasonable short with a campaign that can't be over a good 20 hours of game play.

All in all I say you ought to pick it up and try it out. So go, enjoy a romp in the grim darkness of the 41st Millennium!

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