Spotlight: Warhammer 40K: Space Marine Demo

Right out of the gate, Relic and THQ have once again managed to capture the feel of the 40K Universe, from the gothic-styled architecture of the Manufactorums to the roar of an Ork bellowing a disconcerting WAAAGH right in your 3rd person Space Marine face. You are cast in the role of Captain Titus and for the demo there are 2 particular missions from the campaign, and no multiplayer component. It may be that THQ intends to release a separate demo for the game's multiplayer later on down the line.

The first mission, Inquisitor, sees Captain Titus and his men facing down hordes of Orks to discover the fate of an Inquisitor. The cramped corridors give way to large open areas where the Space Marines can dominate the battlefield with their ranged weapons. There is a mix of Ork combatants in the demo, with several Ork Nobs to spice things up. These large and very angry Orks are capable of taking Titus down, even on easy, with only a few hits of their weapons.

Titus is armed with a bolt pistol and a chainsword; he can switch between several other weapon types on the D-Pad. A missile launcher, a bolter and a sniper rifle style bolt gun that packs one hell of a punch. But for close combat, the chainsword is the king of up close and personal. It's a highly versatile and visceral weapon. There are several combos that you can pull off in the demo, and the chainsword provides Titus with ample chances to finish his foes in style.

The combat system is fast, its fluid and even from the demo we can tell that it\'s going to be a lot of fun. Titus can take a lot of damage, but he can't last forever and even with his advanced armour and weapons, he can be taken down quickly if swarmed. Fortunately there is a stun move available and once stunned; the enemy can be subjected to a brutal takedown. These finish moves replenish Titus' health and look cool to boot. Minor Orks can be stunned and then finished; gretchins can be finished right away and replenish a smaller amount of health.

Nobs take a lot more to put down and then require a minor button-mash to finish off in style.

The control system, even now, is easy to use and the combat system looks as though it should have a fair amount of depth to it. We're hoping that there's more to the system than the demo shows and hopefully the system gets deeper and deeper as you progress in the main game. Battlements is the second demo mission and it introduces the Jump Pack, a jet-pack device that allows Assault Marines to get around the battlefield quickly and perform devastating ground-pound moves.

The Jump Pack is easy to use, it can get you around the battlefield quickly, it can be used to smash your enemies from the air and it's great fun to roar up into the sky and then come crashing down on some Orks. Apart from that the mission itself is simple fare with you jetting around to higher ground and finishing off hordes of Orks. Good fun.

Where Space Marine really shines is in the portrayal of the Space Marines, 7 foot tall battle hardened super-soldiers with iconic armour and weapons. Captain Titus and his men look fantastic and the game's graphics are certainly some of the best we've seen from Relic so far. Titus is a great character and the lip synch in the cut-scenes is certainly spot on. What also impresses is the voice acting, especially for Titus since he's ably acted by Mark Strong, an actor who for once gets to play the hero...

Strong is usually seen in Guy Ritchie movies playing a villain, and was recently the bad guy in Kick-Ass. Mark Strong brings a sense of command and honour to the role of Titus and we're looking forwards to hearing more of the character and story when the game releases soon.

Space Marine looks to be the game that 40K fans have been wanting for a while, a chance to step into the 3rd person boots of a Space Marine and hunt some Ork. It's fast, fluid and fun, there's no issues in terms of graphics and everything plays at a solid lick in terms of frame-rate.

Definitely on our list of most anticipated titles this year!