The bottom line right from the start, Space Marine is a damn fine game. Both in single player and multiplayer, there, Iíve said it. Now you can skip to the score if you want.Story
You are cast in the role of one of the Emperorís finest, a Space Marine, Captain Titus...a man who interprets the Codex Astartes of the Space Marines a little loosely compared to many of his Battle Brothers. Titus and his Ultramarine brethren are called in to stop Orks from looting Titans, massive war machines that stand hundreds of feet tall. I wonít say any more about the story, you have to play the game for yourselves and see the way it unfolds. Itís told with some pretty well directed cut-scenes using the in-game graphics engine.Gameplay
Space Marine is a third person action game, thereís no cover mechanic and health doesnít regenerate unless you earn it by performing an execution move on a stunned enemy. The combat system is simple enough and there are combos to learn, only thereís not a book full of them and itís pretty simple to pick up, tricky to master. There are several combos that leave your enemies stunned and even on the easy difficulty, one wrong move can spell disaster for you and your campaign. Youíre usually deployed with two other of your Battle Brothers but they donít get in the way and youíre always doing the brunt of the work, which is to say, slaughtering the Enemies of Man in their hundreds.
There are different classes of Ork to deal with and some of them are tougher than others, fortunately as you progress through the story you unlock new Wargear and equipment that ranges from a Kraken pattern Bolter to the Iron Halo, a powerful upgrade to your normal energy shield. Space Marines are protected by these energy shields, which regenerate and absorb a lot of damage. However, once those are gone you will lose health.
Hit zero and itís over, back to a checkpoint (which can be pretty unforgiving at times).
Your arsenal is pretty solid with Bolters, chainswords, power axes, thunder hammers, melta guns and more unlocked as the game progresses. One button performs an attack, another a stun and a third allows for an execution upon a stunned enemy. Whilst the A button causes you to roll out of harmís way.
Then later on youíll unlock a Jump Pack that lets you boost upwards, dropping down on your foes Death From Above style. Itís a game changer and one that really shows the power of the Space Marines as the ground pound move can send a dozen or so Orks in close proximity flying all over the place.
Ranged combat is good, the guns are well designed and they have the right 40K feel to them. You can also earn Fury and go into a berserk like state allowing you to regenerate health and cause massive damage to your enemies. In ranged combat you can slow down time and place effective headshots.
Thatís pretty much it for the combat system, thereís a quick time button press with some of the bigger enemies and thatís basically the B button as you struggle with them for a few short seconds before you end their miserable existence in a brutal and messy way. There are also emplaced weapons which can be removed and due to the power of the Space Marine, wielded outside of their tripods. There are also ample places to restock ammo, swap out weapons and keep your arsenal stocked.
Combat is fast, brutal, furious and fun with a nice visceral edge. It proves that Relic can step outside of their RTS space and enter the third person action genre with both Bolter and chainsword humming.
There are three difficulty settings, Easy, Normal and Hard. On normal and hard, the game really punishes you, on easy, youíll get away with things lightly for the most...but even then, a wrong move will cause you a lot of pain.Graphics
Relic has really nailed the look and feel of the 40K Universe in this game, theyíve been getting better and better as each new 40K game rolls out and Space Marine, is the best looking 40K game to date. The graphics are bold, bright and colourful in terms of Titus and his enemies, the Orks Ė they are also highly detailed and have a great feel to them. They echo the gothic-space design of 40K perfectly in the architecture and itís great to see the 40K Universe brought to life like this. They remain rock solid in terms of framerate even when all hell breaks loose on the screen and the special effects are fantastic.
They got the Imperial Guard lasguns beautifully done, as well as the Bolters which basically explode an explosive round into the enemy and then detonate it a few short moments after.
The animated menu screen is also a great touch.
There are a few issues with the game camera from time to time, but for the most part it doesnít swing blindly into the abyss.