Reviewed: September 19, 2011
Released: September 6, 2011
Growing up it was almost impossible for me to not hear about Warhammer 40k. Between the novels and more importantly the tabletop games, Iíve always loved the whole idea and scale behind the Warhammer 40k universe. The transition from tabletop to video game has been an interesting one, with several decent real-time strategies for PC released over the last several years. This year however brings us a new look at the Warhammer 40k universe with the release of Warhammer 40k Space Marine for PC that is easily my favorite to date.|
Set on the Forge-World Graia, the industrial war backbone for the Imperium of Man, you are put in the very large Space Marine shoes of Captain Titus. Titus isnít just any Space Marine, but a decorated Ultramarine veteran of the Ultramarine 2nd Company. Graia is under attack by the seemingly endless Ork force that wishes to loot everything including the fortress sided walkers known as Titans. It is up to Titus and his fellow Ultramarines to secure the Titans while containing the situation and wipe out as many green skins as they possibly can until help arrives.
Unlike previous iterations of the Warhammer 40k series, Space Marine takes the third person action perspective allowing for an up close and personal battle experience that is brutally satisfying with its combination of gun and melee combat. From the moment I stepped foot on the Ork warship with a Bolt Pistol and Combat Knife I knew I was in for a real treat. Combat can switch seamlessly between close combat with the weapon of your choice, like my favorite chainsword, to a ranged weapon such as the Bolter or Bolt Pistol. Usually I tackle PC reviews with a keyboard and mouse but for Space Marine I went with the controller. It was a lot easier to execute stuns and attacks with a 360 controller as well as character movement and execution QTEís against the Ork Nobz. I know I died more times than not during a fight with one of the Nobz.
The Orks, despite their brutish looks, are worthy adversary for the Ultramarines as their tenacity is only matched by their tactics to regroup and attack in force when they are low in number. It is easy to get overwhelmed if you just wade in swinging your sword. Your character has a shield that once taken down will deplete your health when attacked. I know Iíve died more than a few times because this. You can regain health however only by stunning and executing your foes.
If you think that the 8-foot tall visage of Titus is daunting, then youíve never seen the factories of Graia or the towering Ork Nobz. Warhammer 40k is all about scale and Space Marine shows that in spades. The environments that you traverse such as the towering cathedral-factories are absolutely huge and nicely detailed. The detail on the Ultramarines suits are also nicely detailed to show the wear of conflict upon them. I also like how you can tell the different clans of Ork from one another thanks to Relicís detail on their war paint. They also do a great job of showing how overwhelmed the ground forces where before you arrive as you see the bodies of comrades amongst surviving troops that stand at your mere presence. It kind of reminded me of another space marine I know.
To go along with these harrowing moments between bouts of badassery, Warhammer 40k features some pretty good voice acting and sound effects. Titusís demeanor with Mira and the rest of his troops come off as that of nobility and praise despite their situation with his soft spoken voice. The Orks banter is also quite good as they constantly shout in glee that they have someone to kill. I also love the sound of the weapons in combat especially when I hear the rev of the chainsword as Iím cutting some Ork in half. The heavy brutality of each execution or stun makes you feel like your right there in the fight. I also like that the collectible audio logs that you find via Servo Skulls hidden throughout the levels. These serve as a bit of back-story of the events that happened prior to the gameís start.
For those looking for a bit more than just the story you can take your fight online in Team Deathmatch and Point control matches. While this is nothing new to the world of shooters, I applaud the customization choices for your Chaos or Space Marine. The action is very fast paced and upon reaching a certain level you can create your favorite loadouts. Itís definitely a lot of fun and the levels are just as cool as those seen in the single player experience.
Warhammer 40,000 Space Marine is a title that I knew that I was going to like from the moment I started playing. Itís not the perfect Warhammer experience but itís a good start. The action is brutally intense, the story is well driven and Titus is a character that I would gladly step into the shoes of again. If youíre a fan of the Warhammer 40k machine or just looking for some good old fashioned action then look no further than Warhammer 40,000 Space Marine for PC.