- Publisher: THQ
- Developer: Relic
- ESRB Rating: “M" for Mature
- Genre: Third-Person-Shooter
- Pros: Nice presentation; melee combat; solid multiplayer
- Cons: So-so shooting; odd health system; bland story
You play as an Ultramarine known as Captain Titus whose squad is sent to a world overrun by Ork forces. It is basically your squad of three against a million Orks, which are pretty good odds for an Ultramarine. The story, in typical fashion, evolves from "take back the planet" into something bigger, but never seems all that interesting because the characters are surprisingly bland. Everyone is very stoic and calm and rather hard to get attached to. In short, you don't really care about what they're doing, you just want to get back to the gameplay.
There are a couple of snags, though. While the melee attacks feel great and even feature gruesome executions that are fun to watch, the shooting is only so-so. As visceral and meaty as the melee feels, shooting isn't nearly as satisfying as enemies take an inordinate amount of shots to go down. You go from feeling powerful and unstoppable to being just another grunt when you're shooting.
Online multiplayer spices things up a bit since humans are always more fun to take down than mindless A.I.. There are only a handful of maps and two game types - variations of team deathmatch and king of the hill - but they definitely can provide enough extra fun to be worthwhile after you finish the campaign. The game uses the now common XP and progression systems in most multiplayer games. In an interesting touch, when you die you can actually respawn with the loadout of the person that killed you, which means you get the chance to use better weapons even when you're a low-level player.
Visually, Space Marine is a nice looking game overall. The war torn environments look appropriately destroyed, and character models are nicely detailed.
Aside from super dry and British-y voice acting, the sound is quite nice as well. Great sound effects for enemies and nice loud weapon noises really stand out.
In the end, Warhammer 40k: Space Marine is a solid third-person-shooter with plenty of content. Fans of the franchise will obviously get a kick out of it, but it is good enough at explaining things that it can stand on its own even if you've never ventured into the Warhammer universe before. It isn't super original, and some gameplay snags do ding it a little, but it is definitely fun and worth playing.