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Warhammer 40k: Space Marine Review

This is a discussion on Warhammer 40k: Space Marine Review within the Game Reviews forum, part of the Trophy Guides, Reviews & Articles; Warhammer 40k: Space Marine Review by Gauss Basic Information: Developer: Relic Entertainment Publisher: THQ North American Release Date: 9/16/2011 European ...

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    Warhammer 40k: Space Marine Review

    Warhammer 40k: Space Marine Review
    by Gauss

    Basic Information:
    Developer: Relic Entertainment
    Publisher: THQ
    North American Release Date: 9/16/2011
    European Release Date: 9/17/2011
    Trophies: Yes, 1 | 3 | 5 | 42


    Space Marine takes place on the Forge World Graia during an invasion by Orks. A small band of Ultramarines lead by Captain Titus must stop the Orks at all costs. Just as the conflict begins to turn in the Ultramarines’ favor, a small relic will change the nature of the conflict and have Titus and the Orks facing a third faction.


    Relic did a phenomenal job here. Space Marine is a third person shooter, but the gameplay for Space Marine is different from typical third person shooters in that there is no cover mechanic. Instead, much like War for Cybertron, your Marine fights in several open environments and there is heavy reliance on constantly moving and simply over-powering your enemies. The main character, Titus, has access to both Ranged and Melee abilities and has a partially regenerating health-bar.

    Partially, in this case, means there is a base health-bar and a shield bar. When hit, Titus loses shield first, and once that is depleted he will begin to lose health. Once Titus has been out of combat a few moments his shield will regenerate. Health, on the other hand, can only be recovered by performing executions in melee combat. It’s a very brilliant mechanic because it not only forces the player to balance combat between ranged and melee, but it also highlights one of the incredibly fun aspects of the game: the rush that comes with brutally over-powering your opponents.

    Yes, Space Marine is constructed like it should be: in one-on-one combat nothing will stand in Titus’s way. The enemy’s only advantage is numbers, and they will throw wave after wave of Orks at Titus and his Ultramarine brothers in an attempt to overwhelm. It is incredibly effective because at no point does the game make the player feel anything other than ungodly powerful, but still manages to create intense gameplay because there is always so many enemies. Titus even has a way to combat that through a ‘Fury’ ability which charges as you kill, when enabled it will allow for a bullet-time-esque ability in ranged combat, constantly recharging health, and additional melee damage. It is the perfect way to construct this game.

    Space Marine is all about Mayhem

    On top of that ranged and melee combat are alot of fun. Ranged weapons feel powerful and heavy, and the gigantic cloud of red-mist that comes with bolter impacts or the flash of blue-smoke that comes with plasma bursts works. The shooting mechanics work well, and the weapons all feel like they have their appropriate roles.

    Melee weapons are a slightly different story; they have a somewhat strange hierarchy. Certain weapons cater to certain play-styles, and there isn’t a clear balance between them. Using the Hammer is an admission that melee combat is king; it does amazing damage but disables the use of several ranged weapons. The chain-sword and power-axe allow for the usage of all ranged weapons, but don’t do nearly the damage.

    No matter what the weapon selection, melee combat is still quick and brutal. Combos are simple, and the end goal is to stun the enemy so a quick execution can be performed.


    Space Marine starts up with an invasion of the Forge World Graia, which caught the entire Imperial Guard by surprise. It turns out the Forge World Graia is of the utmost importance tactically as it features the Invictus weapon, so the Ultramarines are sent in to stop the Orks at all costs.

    As Titus makes progress toward this goal, it turns out more is going on within the Imperium on Graia than he originally knew. An Inquisitor, Drogan, has the key to a secret weapon at his disposal that must be evacuated off world so it will not fall into the enemies’ hands. As the situation becomes more dire, Titus decides to use the weapon rather than evacuate its key. After using it, a third faction, the Chaos Marines, quickly enters the fray and changes the nature of the conflict.

    Titus, Sidonis, and Leandros

    The story takes place over 5 parts and 16 levels. The story is very well constructed, particularly for an action tale, and is longer than most of the trash that comes out of Activision. Space Marine is definitely not a character story though. Titus is well fleshed out, but doesn’t experience a lot of true character development, instead the plot is pushed forward by the connection with Titus as more of his character is revealed and the mystery behind what is going on and how to save Graia. The supporting cast is built to facilitate this method of storytelling as well, the two supporting Ultramarines, Sidonus and Leandros, serve to help drive the story and highlight some of his character traits.

    The villains aren’t anything particularly special. The story follows Titus’s group very closely and the villains only appear during plot-changing events. It works to build them up well, particularly once the Chaos Marines enter the equation and all 3 sides are fighting each-other.

    The story defines the phrase: simple and effective. It wraps and highlights the gameplay perfectly, and coming from someone who doesn’t have a heavy background in Warhammer 40K, it builds interest well and brings me into the universe.


    Lets not beat around the bush, Space Marine has a heavy focus on Multiplayer. Now that doesn’t mean the Singleplayer was a throw-away and wasn’t fun, but this is clearly where Relic envisioned the majority of the time in this title being spent. That vision wasn’t necessarily incorrect either, as I can say this game has a great Multiplayer mode.

    The game modes are pretty standard for multiplayer nowadays, but that doesn’t mean the game is derivative.

    It’s a strange combination of class and perk-based shooting mayhem. Basically there are 3 base classes for each faction, but the classes are customizable with various weapons and perks. It’s very similar in concept to something like Killzone, and it’s a great way of doing it because over time the sense of customization makes it feel like progress matters. There is a lot of customization available for your Marine, and not only in weapons and perks, but also in your armor.

    My only real complaint is that there was not enough done to make the Chaos Marines and Ultramarines feel different, and this introduces a huge learning curve. Several times throughout my time in multiplayer a quick confusion between an enemy and an ally caused my death or wasted ammo. This is made worse by the customization system, which doesn’t necessarily change colors/looks based on faction. The end result is you have to keep track of the logos over your allies' heads, something that can take some time after playing games like Resistance and Killzone which do a much better job of making the factions look different.

    Its not worth avoid this game over, but I’d stress it will be frustrating up front.


    Warhammer is all about over-the-top.

    If the Gameplay is the primary driving force of this game, the Technical aspects are a close second. Relic built Graia so it feels like a sci-fi world; it feels like a Warhammer 40k world. All over there is a juxtaposition of medieval/roman-inspired stone architecture with futuristic technology, and even though Graia is falling apart thanks to the invasion, at no point does the world truly feel bland. I’ve said Dead Space is so great because it captures a sense of the future while not feeling foreign, and Space Marine falls under that same category. The game is not classically pretty in terms of numbers, but that’s not everything.

    The other aspect of this game that really works is the soundtrack. Much like God of War, Uncharted, Dead Space, Portal, etc, Space Marine does a wonderful job constructing its soundtrack to convey the feeling of the universe appropriately. It carries the appropriate sense of power and reservation to fit right in with what the Ultramarines are about.


    Space Marine is a pretty intensive plat. Not only do you have the typical trophies involving reaching various milestones in the story, beating it on hard, and various other challenged; not only does it feature a full complement of multiplayer trophies involving mastering every weapon and reaching level 40. It also involves a trophy which requires 40,000 kills across all game modes, a trophy which is one hell of a grind.

    Closing Thoughts

    Space Marine embraces everything a good Warhammer 40k game should. Gameplay is graphic, intense fun. Singleplayer features an easy-to-follow story that doesn’t rely heavily on set-pieces while still having a lot of action. Multiplayer is addictive and allows you to make your Marine unique. The Warhammer 40k universe is very much alive in this game. If you haven’t played this game yet, now is a great time to pick it up. I know I am hoping for a sequel.

    Gameplay: 9/10
    - Phenomenal gameplay. Titus feels like an Ultramarine.

    Singleplayer: 8.5/10
    - Story is classic sci-fi action, and a great way to build a Warhammer 40k story.

    Multiplayer: 8.5/10
    - Multiplayer is a lot of fun, only problem is it is difficult to tell the factions apart.

    Technical: 9/10
    - The universe feels like it should. The Forge World Graia has a lot of character on its own, and the soundtrack serves as the perfect compliment.

    Overall: 8.5/10 Great
    Last edited by Gauss; 10-26-2011 at 05:18 PM.
    Gauss's Piracy Uncertainty Principle: When you pirate a game, that act inherently changes the results of what is to come after your pirating. You can't make any statement with any certainty regarding what would have happened had you not pirated the game.

    Gauss's Rating Rationale:
    0-1: A game whose very existence is abhorrent to all things creative and intelligent.
    2-4: A just plain bad game.
    5-6: A game that has alot of mistakes, but is atleast playable and has some enjoyable sections. Good for a rent.
    7: An average game, should be played at some point
    8: A good game, should buy at some point
    9: A great game, day-one purchase
    10: A game that goes above and beyond the generation, its transcendent.

  2. #2
    kidson2004's Avatar

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    All Around The World

    Nice!! I'm glad I picked this up. Awesome review Gauss!!

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    thirtle1705's Avatar

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    Sep 2011
    Kansas City Missouri

    A truly awesome game and a fitting review!

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