Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine is now available in stores and the team over at Relic has done a fantastic job. Space Marine follows Captain Titus of the Ultramarines as you lead a small group of soliders across an Imperial Forge World. You need to simultaneously recover some sensitive items and wipe out the Ork population. As you were trying to land on the planet you came under attack and were separated from your team. Your first objective is to rendezvous with them and then, as you progress in the game, you will come across other teams that require your assistance before they get overwhelmed by the orks. Space Marine is a third person shooter and a lot of times the action is completely in your face. You have a number of weapons at your disposal ranging from standard pistols, a sniper rifle, a variation on a rocket launcher and more. Melee combat is also really important in the game as you come across a chainsword, power axe and more. The combat is incredibly visceral and there is something satisfying about slamming an ork to the ground and then curb stomping him. Some of the blood you spill will stay on Titus for a while which I thought was a nice touch. There are different types of orks that you will face ranging from the basic that you can dispense quickly to the more powerful orks which require a bit more strategy to take down. The more powerful orks each require a different strategy to beat them as one will have a shield, one will have a rocket pack strapped to them, another one will try and snipe you from a distance and more. Your ally A.I. is a bit of a mixed bag as sometimes they can help you out of a jam by taking out enemies before they get to you and other times they just stand there not really doing anything.
In addition to the campaign, Space Marine also offers some multiplayer options. There are two different modes to enjoy with the “Seize Ground” mode and the “Annihilation” mode. In “Seize Ground” you have to capture control points and the first team to 1,000 points wins. The Sezie Ground mode is all about taking over territory and then, once you have it, holding on to it and defending it from the opposition. There are a number of checkpoints on any given map for you to take over and/or defend and I had a lot of fun doing just that. While a lot of the other people there were concentrating on killing the opposition I would simply run over to a checkpoint and try to secure it for my team. If your opponent’s score seems to be climbing at a rapid pace then you need to quickly capture some of their territories. There is a really fine line that you need to walk here with defending your turf while at the same time advancing on the enemy and taking over their checkpoints. In “Annihilation” the first team to reach 41 kills is the victor. It is your basic team deathmatch mode. During my time with the Space Marine multiplayer everything seemed to run really smoothly. I didn’t notice any lag or any other type of performance issue. There are also different challenges to complete such as killing 150 enemies with the bolt pistol, perform five killstreaks with the bolter, perform 16 multi-kills with the Vengeance Launcher and much more. There is also a great deal of customization available to you so that you can create your own Space Marine or Chaos Space Marine.
Once to you get to level four in the multiplayer you will gain access to the Customizer. I have been really impressed with the level of customization that Relic has packed into this game. This level of customization extends to the loadouts that you will use in the game with some pre-determined classes being available and then some open slots so that you can essentially create your own class. This is where strategy is going to become a big part of your success or failure. Do you want to be someone who is light on their feet and can move around quickly or do you want to be more of a tank character and wreak havoc? Different classes obviously have different advantages so you will have to fool around with all of the different options to see what best suits you. According to Relic, Space Marine has approximately 1.8 billion combinations which means that there will always be something new for you to do or something else for you to tweak. If you are a huge Warhammer 40,000 fan this is basically your chance to make your perfect character with the perfect loadout. If you don’t have much experience with this universe then you can simply dive on in and see what kind of interesting combinations you can come up with. During a match if there seems to be one guy that is always killing you then you can simply “copy” his set up so that the next time you respawn you will have the same loadout that he does. This is a great way for you to learn about different combinations that you might not have ever thought about. Melee combat is also a big part of Space Marine and there is a pretty big assortment of weapons such as the Relic Chainsword, Thunder Hammer and more for you to choose from, depending on your play style or the situation that you are in.
These days a lot of multiplayer games have some type of “Perks” system and Space Marine is no different in that regard. Some of the perks that I enjoyed using was the Furious Stomp (Increased damage and area of effect when executing a stomp) and a perk that put a health bar over my opponent’s head so that I knew how close I was to killing them. There are two different types of perks with your character perks and then your weapon perks. As you level up your character will gain access to different perks. Character perks include things like improving your armor regeneration rate or allowing your character to take more special equipment. As you complete challenges you will earn weapon perks that are unique to the weapon you are using. Weapon perks include things such as improving the firing rate of your weapon or increasing the starting ammo. There is a pretty good selection here for you to choose from so you shouldn’t have any problems finding something that suits your play style. There are also challenges for you to complete which will give you more XP and the chance to upgrade your Space Marine character. There are 40 levels to complete in multiplayer. If you get to the 41st level you will unlock a special set of armor for both Space Marines and Chaos Space Marines.
Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine is a really fun title. It is going to be impossible for it to avoid comparisons to another game that is coming really soon, however, that is only because Space Marine is a lot of fun to play. If you are a fan of the Warhammer 40,000 franchise then you should have a lot of fun decimating hordes of orks with the wide variety of weapons at your disposal. If you are not familiar with the Warhammer franchise you should still have a lot of fun with this action packed third person shooter. The team at Relic Entertainment has done a great job with it and I look forward to more games from them in the future. The holiday season has officially begun for game releases so make sure that Warhammer is in your “to play” list.