Warhammer 40K Space Marine review by Honorabili
One Sentence Review:
“Finally, a game as good as Halo or Gears of War for the Warhammer 40K universe.”
8 out of 10
Overview, Fun Factor, & Replayability:
From Relic/THQ, we see yet another great game for the Warhammer 40K franchise. This time instead of commanding your space marines in RTS style they bring us the gore and grittiness of fighting for the Imperium of Man in a 3rd person kind of FPS style. Think of the game kind of like a mix of Halo, Gears of War, and Dead Space as far as gameplay goes.
There’s two modes to play as of this writing: the single player human Space Marine campaign and the online multiplayer capture and deathmatch games. The single player campaign lets you take the role of one of the top heroes from the Ultramarines Space Marine Chapter and fight off an Ork and Chaos invasion from one of the sacred and rare Titan Manufactorum Forge Worlds. The campaign can take you 8 to 12 hours to play if you play it at a good pace. The online multiplayer is pretty straight forward, and is sort of like playing games like Team Fortress 2 or Unreal Tournament. The gameplay for the multiplayer actually feels a lot like the game Transformers: War for Cybertron. You can either play the mode where you capture and hold points with the first team that reaches 1000 points winning or you can play for whoever gets to 41 kills on their side first. In the online multiplayer, teams alternate playing Space Marines and Chaos Marines against each other.
From what I heard there is a free DLC expansion coming out in October 2011 and it is supposed to make the campaign co-op multiplayer as well as they are supposed to be adding a Last Stand Mode for online multiplayer similar to The Last Stand mode from Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War 2. That should be great fun and that might make it more inviting for regular gamers to want to buy this game rather than mainly Warhammer 40K fans.
The game is pretty fun. You have to constantly be focusing on shooting enemies while knowing they will descend down on you at melee range and you’re going to have to start chopping everything down into a pile of meat as soon as possible. In the single player your character has access to a lot of special relics and wargear that makes him much more powerful than your multiplayer’s cookie cutter marine. Both are fun because even the single player is challenging enough that you will get killed even by a simple enemy (especially the squigs that have a pack of bombs attached to them… who ever knew that the orks were terrorists!). I give the Fun Factor overall a score of 7 out of 10.
I probably won’t be replaying the single player campaign unless I have nothing better to do. The meat and potatoes of the game mainly comes from the online multiplayer. I think it’ll add a lot with the upcoming update in October so that will add a lot of replayability to the game. The online multiplayer is pretty fun, especially when you are playing with friends online which is pretty easy because of the Steam integration that it has that’s almost as good as playing online games of Left 4 Dead. I give the current replayability a score of 7 out of 10. I’m just waiting for the expansion now to get excited about this game again.
Difficulty & Difficulty Versatility:
So far I’ve played the single player campaign once on the Normal Difficulty. There’s Easy, Normal, and Challenging, and even Normal was a little challenging for me. I wouldn’t say it was hard but it was hard enough that I had to pay attention all the time. If I were to play it again I would play it on the hardest difficulty but most likely I will wait to see how the campaign becomes after they add co-op and whether it will scale the difficulty based on the number of players. That’s all as far as single player goes.
As far as multiplayer goes, the matchmaking system is… well, not that good I think because I’ve had games where the high end players (your account rates on a scale of levels 1 to 41, which each level unlocks new wargear and perks for multiplayer in the style of COD:MW1 and COD:MW2) all got bunched together and beat the living shit out of the low level cannon fodder characters. I hope they’ll fix that!
The game is currently sold for around $50 US. I got it mainly because I’m a huge fan of the Warhammer 40K universe. I’d say pay that much if you really like that universe that much. I’d say for a normal person to pay around 20-30 tops for this game if you are just getting it as a game.
Both the voices they chose for the Space Marines, Chaos, and Orks all sound as they should, again like in Dawn of War. All the weapon noises and the slashing and chopping sound great! You really feel the chaos of battle, especially when you play the game really loud.
My only complaint about the sounds in the game come from the multiplayer. If you have a microphone, it will automatically transmit sounds from your computer with your entire team. There is no push to talk as far as I know. So… you will get to hear people laughing or talking to other people. I even played a game where some guy was singing folk music over the mic. Yeah… WTF. FIX THIS SHIT!
I give the sound effects a score of 9 out of 10. Great shooting, great explosions, great voice acting!
The music is as good as I would say Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War 1. You really feel inmersed in the Warhammer 40K universe with it. I give the music a score of 8 out of 10.
The game never crashes and I usually alt-tab a lot while playing. Stability and Reliability get a score of 10 out of 10.
The controls of this game are streamlined when compared to Darksiders. The movement is based on the WASD system plus mouse. I haven’t yet tested it with an Xbox 360 controller but it should be the same to play with that on a PC as on an actual Xbox 360 console. Controls get a score of 7 out of 10. They get the job done but they are not as streamlined as pure PC FPS games.
Graphics & Performance:
Finally, we have an FPS action game that lets us see the Warhammer 40K universe up close in good detail. Everything in the game looks great, for all factions. I would say the graphics look as good as any game based on the Unreal 3 engine, which this game doesn’t use; instead Relic wrote their own game engine, the Phoenix Engine. I give the Graphics a score of 9 out of 10.
Overall the performance is pretty great. The single player ran like a champ on my new gaming PC but I did run into problems with the multiplayer. It may just be me but I did hit a LOT of lag spiking in the multiplayer games and I’m using a 3 Mbps DSL connection with no activing on the connection other than just running the game. I think a lot of this problem comes with the stupid microphone always on problem that I mentioned above. Maybe the voice chat client is really inefficient. I suffered less of the problem when I played it on matches where almost nobody used it. I give the single player Performance a score of 9 out of 10. I give the multiplayer performance a score of 5 out of 10. I just always expect this to lag until they patch it. Sometimes it works but hey, I’m not too much of an optimist.
If you love Warhammer 40K then get it. If you love the Dawn of War series and want to play something a little different but in the same twisted universe then get it. For most people I would say, wait until the price goes down unless the upcoming DLC expansion is simply bloody amazing. I wish they would have let me play as the Orks too in multiplayer… Most people right now are still playing the new Deus Ex instead but I don’t regret buying this one. Dead Island on the other hand… THE END!