Today I will be reviewing Space Marine. This review will merely be a expanded post and a final score based on my opinion. I will reveal some of the story so if you’d rather not have any spoilers revealed just scroll to the bottom.
In Space Marine, we take Captain Titus of the Ultramarines. (One of my favorite Chapters by the way.) To the remote forge world of Graia to stop a Planetary Ork Invasion and to secure one of the valuable titan weapons. This one called Invictus. A giant Walker, very similar to a Metal Gear that solid snake would end up destroying. Just ten times larger and more or less a relic now then a functional battle walker.
Why are we determined to save this relic when it’s barely even used? Because Orks have a nasty habit of disassembling any piece of technology the Imperium has and using it to enhance their own technology. That and the ability to recreate or even repair Titans has been lost to the Imperium of Man since the Emperors slumber. So protecting these relics is of great importance for the Empire as losing them makes it that much easier for the Xeno scum to wipe humanity from the stars. Afterall it was these Titans under the hand of the Emperor that carved out the Imperium that still lasts to this day.
The game starts out with a rather heart pumping airborne assault onto the Ork Warbosses Battleship which we proceed to take down rather swiftly. Captain Titus even rides it planetside like a surf board for extra flair. Once finally planetside, it is time to clear out the orks and do what we can to save the remaining imperial guard forces that have been holding out for aid from the rest of the empire since the start of the ork invasion. From this point things start to look up for the imperial guard and the forge world of Garia in general.
But the good times are not to last. After meeting and rescuing Inquister Drogan we are informed of a experimental weapon that could not only end the Ork invasion instantly. But could possibly save the Empire of Man from the threat of all Xenos forever. Without spoiling anymore of the story. Lets just say things dont work out quite as planned.
Now, lets talk about the combat controls. Having played the PC version, I can say it handles well. The controls are no different then the demo and you have the option of using any controller pad if you so wish and key binding. A space marine handles like you expect he would. A walking tank, a man covered in inches of plate armor. Just rolling around feels like you are a giant boulder that could knock down walls.
Of course that’s also part of the problem. The game features no cover system or target locking. Now this is partially personal preference. And I know some Space Marine diehards would be insulted at the idea of a Space Marine ever using cover. But having played Dawn of War and other 40k games. I can assure you there is no reason if cover wasn’t available they wouldn’t use it. Especially Ultramarines which are die hard codex Astarte followers. Tactics and strategy are key for them so just running around in open ground firing their bolter pistols willy nilly is not the Ultramarine way.
Honestly, I’m not sure why a cover system was not included. There were times on hard difficulty setting I was forced to hide behind a pillar standing like a statue waiting for my shields to recharge before I could pop back out and blow up a few more chaos marines with my bolter before going back into cover. Having a real cover system would have made this immensely easier and less awkward.
A lock on feature would have also been helpful since the game is third person. Instead melee combat is about timing combos which are rather simple and connecting them with a stun blow to open up a execution move. Otherwise, its just button mashing which is almost as effective. Unless you’re playing on a higher difficulty then its a necessity to use executions constantly for the health boost. As there are no med packs of any sort, Titus can only recover his health from using Fury and successful executions.
One other thing I cant understand is why they didn’t include a real squad command system. Your two squad mates Sidonus and Leandros accompany you for the majority of the game. Unfortunately all they do is follow along somewhat haphazardly and offer alittle sporadic bolter fire. Only engaging in melee when attacked by the enemy directly.
Heck, once I had Leandros fail to follow me into the elevator but he magically teleported next to me half way up. Sometimes when doing executions the game simply doesn’t care where you are and can drop your foe beneath the ground completely or suspended them in mid air while you perform a killing blow. There were times that the orc or chaos space marine I was killing simply flew off the screen but Captain Titus still went through the motions. Thankfully these glitches are just comical and you should not expect your squadmates to be more than decorations. It would have been nice to use commands and tactics like in gearboxes Brothers in Arms. Its odd that Relic a maker of RTS games would choose not to allow any strategy.
As for the game’s length and difficulty. It is quite short, you could blaze through the single player campaign in under 8 hours if you so choose. Playing on a harder difficulty may elongate it. Collecting every servoskull message and trophy is quite simple. Little effort is needed to complete the game as it is entirely set on rails and offers no reward for exploration.
With all that said, Let’s give this game some numbers since that’s what reviews are for. SCORE!
Gamplay: 72/100 See my complaints above about Cover, Targeting and Squad commands.
Graphics: 80/100 Its hard for me to judge graphics. Sure its not Cyrsis 2. But so what. It looks fine, Relic captured the feel of the Warhammer 40k universe with no problems. Some may complain of the drab forge world cities. But that’s how the future of the Warhammer world is. Its not pretty, everything is dark and grim and built to be functional. Only some buildings are given a Overall Gothic architecture.
Story: 75/100 Lacking or light. Regardless they could have done so much more. And audio logs are always a poor substitute to pad story lines. I wish developers would stop.
Audio: 80/100 Voice Overs are good and the sound effects match well.
Overall: 76 out of 100
Recommendation: Yes, but only once it hits the bargain bin or for rental. Also, note this review is just about the single player portion. I have not covered and am not including the multiplayer in this. If you enjoy playing multiplayer games I’d throw another couple points on and pick it up if you enjoy third person death match games.