Friday, September 30, 2011

Space Marine videogame, a review from a 40K player perspective

What is Space Marine videogame? It’s a third person shooter by the same guys that developed the Dawn of War Realtime strategy games series. It seems that the developers have a deep knowledge of the warhammer 40K word since there are tons of little details that fits perfectly in the 40K universe.

The game is a about a small space marines strike force, the captain Titus the main character and two fellow space marines of the Ultramarines chapter. They have been sent to the forgeworld Graia that is currently under siege by a massive Orks horde. During the game you will have to investigate about why the Orks invaded the planet and how to fix the situation.

The game is very respectful of the 40K lore, even if you play as a space marine there are a lot of details about other 40K races, you will interact with the imperial guard and its vehicles (they all look just like the miniatures) and you will have to deal with a lots of orks with all the various units taken directly for the tabletop game. Some details came even from the Forgeworld models! (like the imperial guards with respirators or some vehicles)

Even most of the buildings in the game looks just like existing GW terrain Kit, you will see around some familiar details like doors, vents and switches taken directly from the models available from the tabletop game.

The weaponry is very familiar to all 40K player, you will have to use chainswords, plasma guns and the familiar bolter. During the game you can carry just four different ranged weapons (one of witch can be changed during the mission) and one melee weapons that upgrades during the game. Most of the weapons behave just like you would expect but there are some minor changes here and there to balance the game (for example the melta gun works pretty much like a close range shotgun). There are also a couple of new weapons that doesn’t exist in the tabletop game like a long distance bolter (some sort of sniper rifle) and a grenade launcher with sticky bombs that can be detonated remotely.

From the technical perspective the game looks great and the space marines looks very heavy just like they are supposed to be. I think that the proportions of the marines have been changed a little bit since they are just huge compared to that average imperial guard soldier. All effects like fire, explosion and light seems just right. It is funny but the game looks much more better than the CGI movie they did some time ago! The game is also quite bloody, during close combat the main character gets soaked in ork blood constantly.

The game even adds some interesting elements to the 40K lore, the imperial guardsmen refers to the space marines calling them “my lord” and the game is full of collectible voice registrations (servo skulls hidden around the game maps) that add some details to the world letting the player understand how the life in the imperium is and the kind of sacrifice an imperium citizen needs to suffer every day.

Voices of the characters are great, the main character itself Titus has the voice of Mark Strong (at his first performance as a video game voicing actor) and pretty much every human has a mild English accent that suits the game. The game disk is multi language (at least in Europe) so if you don’t like the not English translation you can still switch back to English.

There are some minor problems here and there like I always feel that the environment are a little empty and also the gameplay might feels a little old-school (there is no duck and cover mechanics like Gears of war, the only kind of cover you can have is putting something between you and the enemy). There are also some strange design choices , for example the only woman in the imperial guard is the one that is commanding the IG after the chain of command has been wiped out by the orks… it would have more realistic to put more IG ladies around.

If you want to spend some extra money there is also a ultra-nerdy collector edition whit a magnetic purity seal (mine is on the kitchen fridge already!), a soundtrack and a box shaped like a codex. There were actually some hiccups with the shipment of the collection edition, outside UK and USA customers where not able to preorder one since they were available in stores in very limited quantities, I found out that it was available even in my country just when I saw it at my local gamestop.

Some retailer in UK and USA had some special downloadable items (like skins and weapons) but doesn’t items aren’t available anywhere else at the moment and it's not clear if they will be available for sale.

Of course the game is available for major gaming platforms like PC, Xbox360 and Ps3. I based my review on the Xbox 360 version.

There is also a multiplayer component that puts space marines against chaos space marines but I haven’t had the time to check it deeply, so my review It’s just about the single player experience.

Wrapping up: the game is funny and well done, you should buy it if you like third person shooters or if you are a WH40 fan. But If you don’t really like the 40K lore you might consider investing your money on something else since this time of the year is full of great videogames coming out!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I believe the sniper you were talking about is the stalker pattern bolter. This does exist in 40k lore, I think Telion uses one and I have seen references to deathwatch kill teams using them.

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