I will be starting a new feature titled: “How it should have been”. This feature will be my thoughts and opinion on how a game should have been made, I will go over its storyline and gameplay revising or changing things as I feel necessary.
My first game will be Space Marine, I was rather disappointed with Space Marine and all that Relic could have done with the Warhammer 40k license. I know some of you think Space Marine was rather good for just a Action Melee Romp. But, did you know that Relic worked on Space Marine for over four years? In that amount of time I would have expected a game longer than eight hours and with massive battlefields not just narrow corridors.
Sure, I could put down on the publisher THQ but seeing as they allowed them four years development when some studios are rushed to put out a game in less than two, I’m going to give the publisher a pass on this one. I have heard reports that one of the main reasons the game took so long was due to internal development strife over how to proceed with the game, after the core engine was developed. Regardless, I truly believe Relic could have done much better. Below is how I would have taken the story and improved upon the overall gameplay.
Relic’s Story: Captain Titus is sent to secure the Titan Invictus from a Ork Invasion. While doing so he encounters a Inquisitor Drogan who was building an experimental weapon called the Physic Scourge that could obliterate the Xeno(Alien) threat completely. Captain Titus accidentally causes a chaos invasion as Inquisitor Drogan is actually a demon possessing the inquisitor’s corpse and uses Titus to fulfill his plans. Finally, Captain Titus rectifies his error and seals up the chaos gateway and sends Lord Nemeroth back to oblivion by defeating him in single hand combat.
How it should have been: Rather than just have us go through a few cutscenes and tread a railline to the only game ending. Give me some options, I would have had the player choose not only how he would land on the planet but after each mission be given at least two options on how to proceed further along the liberation of Graia.
For instance, the game starts with Captain Titus already on descent by thunder hawk where he then chooses to strap on a jump pack and assault the Ork Warbosses battleship directly. Why not let us choose how he assaults that battleship or even to attack another target instead. It is a very nice cinematic and fun to watch, but this is a video game not a movie.
I would have also made saving the Imperial Guard and Citizens entirely optional as Captain Titus’s orders were to secure just the Titan Invictus. It should have been the players choice as to whether he saved Lieutenant Mira and her men. This would then have had consequences later on in the story were the Imperial Guard could have reciprocated and aided Captain Titus’s space marines.
The storyline regarding the chaos invasion and Captain Titus’s peculiar warp resistance is not bad. It just left too much unexplained and merely forced the player along regardless of how we felt. Especially with the servoskull messages we found along the way. We had no option to confront Inquistor Drogan with any of the information we found. Which may of given us more of hint about him already being dead and possessed by a demon.
Lastly we come to the gameplay. Overall it would have been better if they stuck with the RPG mechanics they had developed in Dawn of War 2. Being able to choose my armor, weapons, and other equipment before each mission was not only enjoyable but made more sense lore wise. Relic’s method of just throwing about weapons every few corridors was poorly thought out. Graia may be a forge world but thunder hammers would still not be that common. I was also disappointed in not being given an opportunity to wear Terminator armor or pilot the Titan Invictus. So many missed opportunities to enhance the gameplay and increase the fun level.
Really, any chance to pilot a vehicle would have improved the game. Instead we were only given a few rail shooter scenarios on a Imperial Guard Valkyrie. I’m also not fond of how much game developers use quick time events now. Thankfully regarding execution moves we are not forced to do them and can continue to bludgeon away at our foe until they simply die, the forced quick time at the end to defeat Nemeroth was disappointing. Then again I suppose all boss battles are since its always some form of pattern you must repeat until the boss is defeated.
That being said, one of the best action parts of the game was near the end when you encounter a squad of Blood Ravens holding the bridge to the Spire. Here you and two other squads of space marines assault the spire. If the game had more instances of battles like this everything would have felt much grander in scale. Quick time events and adding large scale battlefields are two things I would have changed immediately in the design and production of Space Marine.
Finally, I would have added a option to actually parry and have a real melee fight when engaging foes with other melee weapons. Like Ork Choppas, Chaos Marines, and Blood letters. Instead relic added a small auto block and insisted that rolling away would be good enough. Having fables melee combat system would have been better overall.
TL;DR More RPG less action, more choices less rails, bigger battlefields and less corridors.
Those are my thoughts on how Space Marine could have been improved. What do you think? How would you have made Space Marine? Tell me in the comments or shoot me off a email.