Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine Exterminatus Co-Op Mode ImpressionsBy Kevin Kelly - Posted Sep 01, 2011
Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine really wants to be your friend. Why? Because the game isn't even out yet, and THQ is already touting the free DLC co-op "Exterminatus Mode" that will be coming to the game a month after the launch. The game comes out on September 6 in North America, and roughly 30 days later in October, you'll be able to download their Horde-esque new survival mode. We had a chance to play the upcoming addition to the game, and it's actually well worth picking up. And at the low, low price of free, who's complaining?
Exterminatus Mode has one to four players joining in via co-op, and in it, you'll be fighting against oncoming waves of Orks and Chaos units in one of two different scenarios: Assault On Hab Center Andreas and Escape From Kalkys Facility. Each mission has four different "arenas," giving you eight total that you'll have to battle through to claim dominance on the leaderboards. You'll also be gaining valuable XP while you play and unlocking weapon and armor abilities that you can use in both co-op and multiplayer throughout the game.
But don't get the idea that this is easy. I was playing with developers from Relic, and it was still a nightmare. The first arena isn't so bad, but as you move on, you'll face tougher and tougher foes while their buddies rain rockets down on you from strategic spots above. Those multiple levels are exactly why you're going to make sure that at least one person in your group has the Assault class loaded up, which gives them a jetpack with long enough bursts to allow you to reach upper levels, or traverse quickly across one of the arenas. Especially since you share a pool of lives, and if you're the Last Man Standing, you'll want to stay alive as long as possible and try to score enough points to allow one of your buddies to rejoin the match.
Luckily, you can gain extra lives by getting points, and that's something you and your team are always striving towards while killing the oncoming waves of baddies. Capture Points will appear on the ground from time to time, and if you're able to stand on them long enough, you'll get a huge point boost. Challenges will also occur in Exterminatus, offering you bonuses for things like killing five ork boyz in 10 seconds, and so on. But trust me, when you're tasked with "Get Five Headshots In 10 Seconds!" it's a hell of a lot harder than it sounds
Other loadouts include the Devastator class, which is good at tanking and dishing out tons of melee damage (the Assault only comes with the Chainsword, which is fancy, but not great when you're being swarmed) through the Thunderhammer or the Power Axe, and it also carries heavier weapons like the Meltagun or the Lascannon, both of which pack a stronger punch than the Plasma Pistol or the Bolt Pistol that the Assault class carries. Tactical can hang back and snipe, but when these levels start to get extremely hairy, having a sniper isn't your best option.
If you want my two cents, I'd say make sure you have at least three other people playing with you, and then load up two Devastators and two Assaults, letting the Orks and others swarm toward the Devastators, and then you swoop in from time to time with the Assaults and lead the enemies away from your buddies. Then they'll hit them in the back with the powerful weapons (especially useful on the guys that carry shield) and if things start getting too hot for you, jump out and let the mass turn back towards your heavy guns for a bit.
- VIDEO: Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine Melee Weapon Guide -- The Chainsword, Power Axe, and Thunderhammer
Also, let's talk about grenades. These are going to end up being your best friend in Exterminatus mode, and you only start with two of them, so use them sparingly. Occasionally an enemy will drop an extra that you can pick up, but they come few and far between. These will blind everyone nearby (yourself and allies included, unfortunately), but when the white glare dies down, you'll see a blue nimbus around the enemies it detonated near, informing you that they are stunned and won't be moving for a few seconds. Use those seconds to your advantage and pour bullets into them, or wail on them with melee attacks. These are best saved for those last ditch "We're all gonna die!" moments.
As with most co-op multiplayer, communication is key here, and you'll need to let your allies know what you're up to, where you are, if you need help, are running low on ammo, or have a much needed grenade. You'll also need to keep an eye on the remaining lives, and if you're the Last Man Standing, it's up to your teammates to keep you alive by letting you know when foes are sneaking up behind you. There's a lot of gameplay packed into Exterminatus, and while I wish that was included in the box when the game launches, I can't fault THQ for giving it to us for free. It's just that the month long wait will seem incredibly long.
Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine launches on September 6, and Exterminatus Mode will be available in October.