Monday, September 26, 2011

Review: Warhammer 40,000: SpaceMarine

I used to play Warhammer, mainly the fantasy game but I had my time with the futuristic 40,000 as well. I played Dark Eldar and Necron so I'm not that into the Spacemarines themselves, but I figured I'd still give this shooter/hack-n-slash title a chance. As for whether or not it was worth it, well head on after the jump to find out!

Warhammer 40,000: SpaceMarine - Reviewed by: Tobbii Karlsson 
Developed by Relic Games
Published by THQ
Played on PC - Also available on: Xbox 360 and Playstation 3

At first glance I thought SpaceMarine would play like Gears of War or other cover shooters like it, but there I was mistaken. there's no health regeneration and no cover mechanic. The game also features just as much melee combat as it does ranged gun-blazing, and does both very well. Your melee is upgraded as you find better weapons throughout the game, you start off with a simple short-sword, move on to a massive chain-sword and so on. You can carry up to four guns in total, but there are a total of thirteen guns to choose from, fourteen if you have the collectors edition DLC and it allows for some variety in combat.

Captain Titus, or your online multiplayer character, have a limited range of manuevers. You can do a combat roll and chain together various combos, but there's nothing too complex to master in these apart from the standard hit-stun-exectute combo that you will end up using a lot.This is because of executing being your way of getting back health when you're in danger, you have a simple shield that recharges, but it only lasts a few good seconds before the enemies are back to knocking on your healthbar. This is refreshing since I'm really getting tired of every action game adapting the same health-regen mechanic, it's getting stale and does not work for every game. I'm talking to you, Fable III and Duke Nukem Forever.

Unfortunately the lack of moves in Titus's library the movement tend to feel a bit stiff, put that together with the various invisible bumps in the ground that forces you to side-step around the smallest objects on screen and you have a problem. It falls worse when you combine it with, quite frankly, really bad controls. Undestand that I played SpaceMarine on the PC rather than on a console, and that might be part of the problem, but the controls do not work well. Even worse is that there is no setting to change the controls, you're stuck to the pre-set key-set and it takes a good time getting used to.

The game is pretty, with great shading and details really capturing the feeling of the Warhammer 40,000 universe. The same can not be said for the animations however, they look really sub-par and when it comes to the cutscene lip-sync it's in every way pathetic. However, thankfully the good outweighs the bad and the game is a pleasant sight even if the brown/grey colour-scheme is starting to feel a bit done these days. The HUD is well-made and easy to follow even with all the action going on and that's great when you have a regular health system since the last thing you want to do is losing track of your life-span.

The music in the game is phenomenal, absolutely great. From start to finish you feel like you're living a action movie and it just feels right in every aspect. The voice acting is good as well, especially Mark Strong (Sherlock Holmes, Kick-Ass) as Captain Titus, great work from great people, as expected. The sound effects are also powerful and helps the feeling of a war-zone, this is not Kane & Lynch 2 where the guns sounded like petty toy-guns, no-no, the guns are heavy and so is the sound of your chainsword slicing Orks into tiny pieces. No complaints from me in the audio-department.

The story does not have much going for it, it's not bad, but it's just not very interesting. If you're not into Warhammer 40,000, you might be best off just focusing on the great action at hand rather than trying to comprehend what the characters are talking about. You play bad-ass Captain Titus who follows his own strategies over the ones stated in the Codex Astartes, the rule-book basically. It's your classic action-movie plot with some great moments, but nothing that will be remembered as a masterpiece of writing.

The multiplayer takes form of an 8-v-8 team deathmatch along with a CoD-esque level system with perks and unlockables to go along. Once you reach level 4 you get to customize your own spacemarine with colours and armor-sets. The customization progress is very rich and engaging, something that more games should look towards adapting. Also, starting next month you will be able to take part in a coop horde mode, more details on that is still being awaited, but from what I've understood it will be free for every person owning the game.

Story: 7/10 Gameplay: 7/10 Controls: 4/10 Replay Value: 8/10 Visuals: 7.5/10 Audio:9/10
Total Score 7/10.0 - Truly Great
Recommendation: Buy This Game

Play Info: Tobbii played SpaceMarine on PC for about 8 hours total.
First campaign playthrough took about 8 hours. Tobbii finished the game once.

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