Every once in a while a game comes along that you know will be a great game with good production values and polish but ultimately will fade into obscurity due to AAA titles being released to close to it. Such is the story of Space Marine.
The minute you start to play Space Marine you will be hit with a sense of Deja Vu; like you have played or seen this game before. Its true; this game does share similaritys with another 3rd person action shooter with larger than life heroes and dare I say it…weapons adorned with chainsaw blades. If you keep playing you will quickly realize that these are merely esthetic similaritys and at its core Space Marine plays very differently from said game.
Space Marine tells the story of a larger than life hero named Titus of the Ultramarines. For those of you who have played the table top miniature game ( Warhammer 40k) you already know all there is to know about the game world in which Space Marine takes place. For those of you who have never heard of Warhammer 40k you wont get a detailed explanation of said world from me. This review would be triple in size if I tried to cram all the back story into it. Suffice to say the lore is rich and deep and playing this game is only scratching the surface of the stories that are begging to be told from the source material.
The game starts with Titus descending upon an industrial planet to assist in an Space Ork invasion ( yeah I said Orks in space). There are some details that explain why he is there and what his motivations are but after the first 5 minutes that paves way for the sheer amount of carnage you are spewing all over your screen.Dont get me wrong; the narrative is finely crafted and moves along at a good pace but it is not the real reason anyone should pick this game up and play it.
Combat in Space Marine is fast , visceral, and downright bloody. Most of all it feels great. The controls are fluid and the options available to you are diverse enough to make you think about how you want to approach each encounter. You have the ability to utilize both melee and ranged attacks at a mere thought. There is no swapping of weapons here like in other shooters. Your Primary weapons are a bolter and a chainsword ( although both receive substantial upgrades as time goes on) and between widdling down Orks with Bolter fire and dicing them into bloody giblets with your whirling blade of death you definitely feel every bit the proverbial bad ass playing this game.
Graphically the environments and character models are top-notch. Titus has a substantial bulk to him as he is wearing a massive suit of power armor. The programmers wanted you to feel and know this every step of the way in the game to the point of your character making ” thudding” sounds when he walks or runs. Titus weighs more than a Pick up truck and it feels great!
Sound design and the accompanying orchestral score is very successful ion drawing you up in the moment to moment battles and epic nature of the conflict raging around you. Some of the guns sound very ” punchy’ and the chainsaw sword sounds just like an implement of destruction with Chainsaw blades whirring would sound. Overall the sounds does a great job of pulling you into the game’s atmosphere.
Multiplayer is where Space Marine starts to slip a bit and while it doesn’t feel ” tacked on” it definitely shows that there was not as much development time spent on this aspect of the game. The graphic engine has been scaled back as far as overall environment detail and character models but trades that off to allow an insane amount of customizing for the player. You can choose from a staggering amount of armor variants and color schemes to make a Space Marine that is unique to your tastes.
The downside to its multiplayer component is the lack of variety in-game modes and map selection. With only 5 maps spread over 2 different game modes the entire multiplayer experience starts to wear thin and only the most dedicated and fans of the IP will stick around for the long haul.
It is worth noting however that there will be a FREE DLC pack that adds co-op play in the form of a ” Survival Wave” mode that should cater to the players who want to play with friends in a non adversarial game mode.
Overall Space Marine plays it safe and delivers a straight forward experience that doesn’t take any risks from either a narrative or a gameplay point of view but has enough stand out elements that solidifies it as a shooter worth spending money on.
In a sea of games flooding into stores this year that is a powerful statement to make for a lesser known property.
Review written by : Dwayne “EVO Knight” Morash
Graphics: 8 Sound: 8 Gameplay: 8.5