Thursday, September 15, 2011
Be A F@#%&ing Space Marine
The new game Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine is out for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.
Reasons why it is a good game:
Robust graphics engine better than it has any right to be from RTS developer Relic Entertainment.
Seems like a cover shooter, but changes things up a lot to emphasise close combat.
Emphasises close combat, including health ups from finishing moves.
REALLY smooth system for moving from shooting to close combat.
You get to learn why 40K Space Marines are THE Space Marines.
Decent voice acting and music. Cutscenes good and also pretty short.
No weapons really suck if you no how to use them.
Customisation in multiplayer quite deep.
Multiplayer maps tight, interesting, and well-designed.
Perks in multiplayer varied and useful.
Ability to copy an agressor's loadout a great balancing tool.
Reasons why it might not be such a good game:
Close combat strikes and facing frustrating when finesse is required.
No block or shield button. And you could really stand to have one.
Levels very linear, encounters mostly staged the same way through the game.
Limited enemy variety.
Little play variety beyond run 'n' gun action (no vehicles, only one 'shooter' section, etc).
Extremely limited starting weapons and abilities in multiplayer.
System for unlocking weapons and perks in multiplayer arduous.
Only two multiplayer scenarios.
Some significant lag issues at times.
Reasons why it is a great 40K fan game:
You get to be a fucking Space Marine.
Narrative mostly accurate to 40K universe.
Setting and trappings accurate to 40K universe. Effectively disguises simplicity of the levels.
Hearing Orks speak. Seeing Guard hold the Marines in awe.
Definitely feels like part of a bigger war, with lots of incidental NPC actions.
Good choices made on visualisations of potentially difficult ideas like Bloodletter daemons and various plasma and power weapons.
Deep multiplayer customisation includes tons of Marine and Chaos chapters, and many armor types.
Again, you get to be a fucking Space Marine.
Reasons why it is a not-so-great 40K fan game:
Three man Marine squad around a Captain. No explanation for rest of squad.
Titus cool, but pretty underwhelming compared to canonical Marine Captains.
Health restore mechanic really out-of-place for Marines (it's clever, but almost vampiric).
Plot will seem 'same-old same-old' to those familiar with 40K universe.
Effect of Chaos on people and places treated too casually.
So basically, good fun for run 'n' gun players, especially those who like the GW game worlds. Sticklers have to be willing to overlook some oddball things put in for 'video game reasons'... seriously Relic, you couldn't include a Marine medic in Titus' squad instead of the life-sucking Execution finishers? Probably the first multiplayer shooter that has trappings cool enough to get me onboard with that particular type of timesink.