Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine - Xbox 360

  • Publisher: THQ
  • Genre:Action, Adventure
  • Developer: Relic
  • Release Date:Sep 6, 2011
  • # of Players:1 player
  • ESRB:M - Mature (Blood and Gore,Intense Violence)
  • Platforms:
Game Description:Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine takes place in the brutal, science fiction setting of Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40,000 universe. In the 41st Millennium, humanity faces extinction at the hands of horrific aliens and demonic hordes. Only one force offers salvation, the superhuman Space Marines. Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine is an intense Action-RPG featuring epic battles where players take direct control of the ultimate defender of humanity, the mighty Space Marine.
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Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine First Look Preview

Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine First Look Preview

By Miguel Concepcion - Posted Apr 27, 2011

Some game universes are fleshed out well enough that it's easy to fantasize how a specific game world would look from the perspective of a genre fans aren’t used to. While we never did get StarCraft: Ghost, we at least have been treated to the likes of Halo Wars and the Metroid Prime Trilogy. When you have a world like Warhammer 40,000, giving this RTS franchise an installment inspired from Gears of War does warrant some attention even if the gameplay fundamentals might feel a bit derivative.

Warhammer 40,000 Space Marine

When Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine was recently presented at a THQ media event, developer Relic Entertainment wasted little time in reminding us media guests how its franchise, one that originated as a table-top game, featured the “original” space marine IP. Bragging rights aside, the premise of this latest installment doesn’t diverge much from past titles: humanity is on the edge of extinction, and its only hope for salvation lies in the hands of these warrior-monks known as the Ultramarines.

One-hundred-and-fifty-year veteran Captain Titus is one of these soldiers, standing seven-feet tall and weighing exactly a ton. It’s easy to get a sense of how imposing a warrior of his stature can be, heavily armored with an intimidating helmet to boot. With all that metal, it was of little surprise that once I got to play the game, Titus moved less like a human and more like an agile mech, not that there's anything wrong with that.

I guided him throughout settings and art styles that should be familiar to any Warhammer 40K follower. The metallic twist given to the Roman Gothic-inspired architecture would be worth admiring if everything weren’t so trashed from countless wars. The overall mission for Titus is a standard issue “hold the line” directive, one that might very well last the entire span of this estimated eight to 10 hour campaign. Of course within each chapter are a series of more specific objectives ranging from activating switches to meeting up with misplaced platoons. The one mission type that really brings out the meat of the combat was when I had to stand my ground against waves of enemies. Think Halo’s Firefight mode with a plot.


The one gameplay element that the Relic spokespeople insisted I take advantage of is to approach battles proactively. It's the classic cinematic dueling armies setup, and that opportunity to charge into the thick of battle. So yes, you might sense a bit of Dynasty Warriors in Space Marine but there's definitely a lot more to the gameplay than that. It encourages you to mix up ranged attacks with close-up melee combat. While you can hide behind objects for protection, I didn't feel encouraged to rely on cover, and this is another way that the game tries to dissuade Gears of War comparisons.

As a third-person gamer used to playing conservatively with long ranged attacks and cover reliance, this aggressive approach to Space Marine was an obvious change for me. I initially experimented to see how long I could get away with distant, precise shots, but the game wouldn’t have it. Soon the first, second, and third waves of Orks were charging right at me.

So when I did trust Relic’s recommended gameplay style, I could see what they were trying to convey: a sense of chaos that you have every opportunity to control. I got used to playing exterminator, popping a few Bolt Pistol rounds into one low ranking Ork while slicing another with my Chainsword, the starting melee weapon that is pretty much a glorified and adorned chainsaw. Given the right situation, I’d find myself in a literal weapons clash against an enemy, which then prompted a button spamming mechanic, nothing that one can’t handle with these entry level enemies. While such bombastic cleanup jobs do not need much in the way of many abilities or moves, there was this sense of wanting more ways to kill. Perhaps years of creative killing from Devil May Cry to Bulletstorm have spoiled me.

Warhammer 40,000 Space Marine

The weapon selection is an unsurprising arsenal of assault weapons, pistols, as well as a laser, 15 weapons in all. It was surprising to see that the grenade launcher has a very high firing rate compared to other games. Then there’s the plasma gun, a firearm with an effective charged-up attack although I had to be sure to not let it overheat as it would actually injure Titus if it reached a certain temperature.

The final touch to giving this realized world a sense of character are the speaking accents. It's so refreshing that the good guys (assuming we are the good guys) for once have British accents. The guardsmen who address Titus call him 'milord' in a very Darth Vader-inspired manner. It’s a lightly humorous approach and certainly adds to the world of Warhammer.

Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine is due out August 2011 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.

Comments are Closed

  • Archangel554

    Well in an interview with the makers of GOW they them self's said that they played WH40k and that GOW heavily inspired by WH40k.

    Posted: May 2, 2011 10:57 AM
  • revkaine

    I am so excited for this and hope it plays well. True fans of Warhammer and Warhammer 40k just grin when the unknowing compare this to Starcraft or GOW. SC blatantly stole the Space Marine from Games Workshop, I'm still surprised there was never a lawsuit. Anyway SC is still fun.

    If you have ever spent hundreds of hours painting customizing and waging war with friends on a tabletop. You are not alone. One of the greatest games ever made.

    Blood for the Blood God!!

    Posted: April 28, 2011 11:09 AM
  • h0use0fc4rds

    Warhammer is the Tolken of modern Sci-Fi. Gears of War wouldn't even have it's trademark chain-bayonet without Games Workshop coming up with the idea in the late 80s as they have been copied ever sense the first Rogue Trader space marines came out.

    @ the writer; in Warhammer 40k shooting a plasma pistol can kill you if your roll is bad. People forget the full that in Warhammer 40k they have NO IDEA how technology really works. They literally pray their computers turn on before hitting the power thinking it matters.

    The Warhammer universe is probably the biggest sci-fi fandom in scale and detail. Just Google the Lexicon. Also, if you like Halo, say thanks to Games Workshop because a "spartan" is just a space marine. Period.

    Posted: April 28, 2011 5:32 AM
  • qulqu_nick

    I hate it how everyone thinks this is gears meet starcraft. starcraft is effectively 40k minus the girtty bits. gears is almost nothing like 40k excpet both of them have hulking super men as characters. I would like to ask why gear's people are so big because in 40k the super men have about 9 extra organs and most of their DNA swapped out.

    Posted: April 27, 2011 6:13 PM
  • Draconax

    Definitely excited to play this, although sucks they had to pick the Ultramarines chapter. Everyone knows the Space Smurfs are by far the lamest of the Space Marine chapters.

    Posted: April 27, 2011 5:45 PM
  • cadiman1983

    I used to play Warhammer and Warhammer 40k back in the day on the table tops. Some of the most fun I've ever had, just don't have the time to commit to painting/assembly the pieces these days. But I am psyched about this game, hope it delivers.

    Posted: April 27, 2011 3:15 PM
  • cracker1138

    I swear on all that is holy....if this game does not deliver.....I'll break down and cry..... Not much of a threat but hey what else am I going to do?

    Posted: April 27, 2011 2:56 PM
  • lowkevmic

    No matter how many pics and videos I see about this game I can't help but think Gears of War meets Starcraft. Not saying that's exactly a bad thing, because those are two great games to be compared to. Either way I can't wait until this comes out...Well maybe I can since Gears 3 will be out before this is.

    Posted: April 27, 2011 2:53 PM