Space Marine Review

Chaos Lord Nemeroth

Recently I have been suffering from a paintersblock. A unit of Ork Stormboyz have been sitting half painted on my desk for ages. Hence the lack of posts here on my blog. So when I saw the latest THQ-Relic video game release "Space Marine" I thought it would be a nice way to get some 40K flavour and inspiration. I have played Dawn of War, Company of Heroes and Dawn of War 2 which are all from the same company as their latest release. I loved the first two games but was really let down by DoW2, it simply wasn't my thing but I still play it sometimes to get that 40K feeling. The enviroment in the game is stunning and overal I think the game looks pretty solid. Because I only had one slightly negative experience with THQ so I thought I'd bust my wallet to get the game.

Now for those of you that have been living under a rock, "Space Marine" is a third person shooter set in the 40K universe. You get to play a campaign as Captain Titus from the Ultramarines or play an online multiplayer game.
Captain Titus overseeing the IG defences
Let's start with the single player campaign. At first you have to get used the the third person camera view but once you hack and slash your way through the first wave of Orks you get used to it. At first you only get a bolterpistol and combat knife but as you progress you get to have a go with all the space marine weapons you can think of. My personal favourites are the Stalker Boltgun, Lascanon and Stormbolter but blasting away with the meltagun can also be a lot of fun. The close combat weapons like the chainsword, power axe and thunderhammer all work in the same way but each does a bit more damage then the previous.

The Ork Warboss
Now without spoiling the storyline for those of you that still want to play the campaign I can say that the storyline is pretty predictable but fun. In this game it isn't about the story or interaction with other characters, it's about killing as many xenos as possible and there are a couple of cool ways to do that. For each enemy you kill you get some xp-points and when you have enough you can unleash your "Fury". It either let's makes you ultra strong in close combat or gives you a kind of matrix effect bullit-time so you can pick off your enemy's one by one in slowmotion with your gun of choice.The other cool thing to finish off your enemies is to first stun them in close combat and then kill them with a special move like we first saw in Mortal Combat.The extra benefit you get from that is that your lifebar will fill back up when you're wounded if you use these special combo's.

Stormboyz on the attack
The campaign was a real blast to play through and takes you through different levels and setting. The game was never really hard but when you die you get to respawn at a save point that is never too far back. It also has a couple of different levels between the normal "shoot'em up"levels where you fly on board a Valkery or ride on the back of a train. The last level when you face off with Chaos Lord Nemeroth is also something different as well and I don't want to spoil it but the ending was a bit dissapointing to me. For me the single player mode was all about soaking up the atmosphere and looking at the cool scenery. The only dissapointing thing to me were the dead guardsmen lying everywhere but they all looking the same.

Then to the Multiplayer. This is where the game is a giant let down to me. I love playing MPG's like CoD Modern Warfare and Battlefield bad company 2 so I had high hopes for this game as I was going to be able to run araound as a Space Marine. But now that I have tried it a good couple of times I think I won't bother anymore and this is why:
1. You have to use steam....
2. There are only 2 MP gaming modes, seize ground and anihilation.
3. There are only a couple of maps to play on, I believe 4 or 5
4. You can't pick the game from a list, steam will find you a spot in some game.
5. It's lagggggggggy most of the times.
6. It get's boring pretty quick

Now I have a decent gaming pc and good internet connection but still I get very laggy games most of the time. I shoot someone in the head with my lascanon but instead of dying it disapears and the enemy pops up next to my and kills me... I really hate the the game fins me a spot in an ongoing game instead of letting me pick one that I like from a list that.

Now there is a cool feature called the customiser. You can play in multiplayer games as any of the main space marine chapters or you can create your own. If you want to unlock all the choices though you have to gain levels in the multiplayer game. Therefor you are very limited in your choices from the start. It's a fun feature for a short while and I liked to create a space marine simular to my own miniture DIY chapter but it's also a very confusing factor in the game. everyone in the MP is using different skins so it's hard to see if it's a thousand sons chaos marine, ultra marine or someones DYI customised skin.

All and all I think every 40K player should have this game but I think you shouldn't have it just now for top dollar/pound/euro. Wait for it to end up in the budget bin and get it cheap a couple of months from now. The game will still lool just as good and you'll have fun playing the campaign. The campaign is good but not hard or challenging so once you're done with that there isn't really anything left to play as I think the MP is just a pain in the neck.

My rating 5 out of 10 because half of the game (single player) was very good.



Angryhatter said...

Good review, although I feel I must stand up for the game in a few areas.
The 'laggy' games on-line can't really be put down to the game servers or the game it's self. I play the xbox version which runs great. Get the odd bit of lag as with any game, but nothing out of the ordinary. It's probably more to do with the fact that many people don't have good PC's, and as such their response times differ which results in lag. You get similar issues across all sorts of games. That's being one of the benefits of playing this style of game on a console, every ones machine plays it the same way.
There may only be two gaming modes, but this is no different to first generation games like COD and BF, which if you look to when they first released games there was usually only one. Even on some of the newer versions they only had the standard two.
The game does need more maps for multi-player though, that goes with out saying.

As for the campaign, what difficulty did you play through on? As I found that if you sling it on hard then things rapidly become more difficult and more than just a "hack here, slash there" situation. You need those good combos and executions to stay alive and the fluid switching from range to melee and back again help as well.

Here to hoping some DLC or another game become available with some other player races and/or more story and multi-player levels.

Warpaintguy said...

I played through the campaign on normal mode in a couple of hours. Then played some MP but then started a new campaign on hard which was more fun.

I agree with you that lagging is a pc problem and you see it in most games but I have not seen lagging like this since the first days of counter strike. Like I said I play other games but it's never really an issue then.

I hope they add some free maps soon and then I'll give the MP another go.

With the other games I play I play through the campaign once and then spend hours and hours online gaming in MP mode. with this game it's just the other way around.

So I stand by my opinion and for me it's not been worth the money...sadly


Angryhatter said...

It may be an issue inherent in the PC version. Perhaps with its ability to compensate.

It is a matter of opinion in the end of it all. As with most games. I personally enjoy a difficult and decent campaign, which this provides most effectively.