Licensed games rarely live up their source material. Too often publishers will rush out titles to coincide with the release of a major Hollywood blockbuster or give developers too little time and funding, relying on the power of name recognition alone to sell units, rather than quality gameplay. Luckily, Warhammer 40,000 Space Marine bucks this trend.
Hit the jump for some hands-on impressions of what is shaping up to be one of the most exciting titles you’ll see on consoles this fall.
The world of Warhammer 40,000 has its roots in Games Workshop’s tabletop miniature wargame. The game has a rich, detailed backstory about a dystopian future set in the 41st millennium. Mankind has taken to the stars, forging a vast galactic empire. However, in the far reaches of space threats have emerged, both alien and from within, and they threaten mankind’s very existence. Forces such as the Imperial Guard and Space Marines, giant genetically enhanced super-soldiers, are all that lay between “Holy Terra” and annihilation.
Space Marine focuses on Captain Titus, the leader of the Ultramarine’s second company. Orks are invading an Imperial Forge World, essentially a planet that is solely dedicated to the production of arms. Titus, along with a company of his Ultramarines and Imperial Guardsmen, have been sent to stave off the invasion and prevent the Orks from stealing an important piece of Imperial military technology.
Space Marine‘s gameplay is most easily compared to that of Gears of War. Relic Entertainment and THQ’s latest title combines third-person shooting with visceral hack and slash gameplay. Titus has access to a wide arsenal of Imperial weaponry ranging from plasma guns, to bolters, and my personal favourite – the chainsword. The results? Absolutely fantastic.
Combat is fun but challenging. While at first it may seem like you can wade your way through enemies without fear of bodily harm, it soon becomes apparent that this is not Dynasty Warriors. Tactics are required unless you appreciate getting sent back to loading screens and checkpoints due to your reckless behavior. Captain Titus is a badass, but even mighty Space Marines need to use tactics in the face of such strong opposition.
The most glowing compliment I can give Space Marine is the fact that it has succeeded where Kuju Entertainment’s PS2 first-person shooter Firewarrior failed. Having played Games Workshop’s tabletop games in my childhood and imagined what it might look like to see a battle in action, I can truly appreciate what Relic Entertainment is doing with Space Marine. They’ve brought my childhood fantasies to life, somehow capturing my imagination and reproducing it perfectly in videogame form. I was excited for the game from its first announcement, but having played it now, I know one thing for certain: I can’t wait to get my hands on the final product this Fall.