Thursday, August 25, 2011

Space Marine Video Game Demo: Review

Alright folks, I think we have a winner. I downloaded and played through the Space Marine demo on Xbox 360 tonight. I’m more than a little happy with it.

They give you two levels with what seems like full features and options (sound/video/controls/skill/etc.)

I won’t ruin anything by getting into the levels, though I don’t think it spoils much. Still, skipping some give-away details, I’ll just say that I’ve never wanted to be a Space Marine more in my life.

The sheer power that the Ultramarines have comes right across as you romp straight into mobs of orks. There are practical mechanics to the melee, like restoring health, gaining better attacks/weapons and combos. Granted, I played it on easy to get the controls but I did die to the press even then. There is little detriment to going hand-to-hand, since it is actually necessary to maintain martial honor and stay alive.

The camera gets some getting used to, that is to say, knowing that the more you melee, the more combat slows down to a flow-like slo-mo, allowing you to pan the camera, sweep your zone and redirect attacks around you, including to your six, which always has a flanking greenskin in it. Also, evading pig iron choppas via 700 pound combat rolls works well too… deliver that charge, never take one. You will thrive on learning the combos.

Grenades aren’t overly powerful, they soften up mobs the way the math works in 40k, like a buff/debuff. Rapid firing your bolter into the closing throng then going to bolt pistol/chainsword/power axe is fluid and satisfying. I think this is one thing I really love about this game. So far, I haven’t seen anything that I’d say, “there’s no way that would happen on the table.” The moment is probably coming, but who am I to judge? You play a Space Marine hero and this is true to what we know already about them by years of buckets of dice (and the occasional train of 6’s.) Some incredible things are bound to happen. Departures will afford some surprise.

I played through the first level with bolt pistol and chainsword before I realized that he had a loadout of bolter, sniper-style bolter and some sort of time delay grenade launcher I’ve never seen before, useful for laying ambushes.

Players familiar with traditional shooters like COD and Halo will get the ranged aspect fast. Players of God of War and Gears of War will appreciate the CQB ability the marines have and the role cover plays… as well they should since the grim darkness of the far future has wet work across everybody’s resumes, the marines most of all. There is room for Devastators holding ground and Blood-for-the-blood god.

The environments are epic and illustrate so much of the atmosphere we’ve come to love on paper. The level design is solid; the voice work and sound effects pretty damn solid too. The story is about what you’d expect and it looks like most of the popular kids are at the dance in terms of races/usual suspects.

I think I have two gripes at the end here. One, ork blood is black, not red. Two, I don’t own this game yet. This will definitely be a rent and play-through if not a flat-out buy, (which it will be for me.)

We can now forget Firewarrior!

As a 40k fan and video game fan, I give the whole deal a provisional A, pending the quality of the rest of the game upon release.


Anonymous said...

Ork blood is red - it was chapter approved and can be even more red than human blood as the orks genetic abilities allow it to carry more efficient haemoglobin and all that kind of thing ;)

Yeti's Yell said...

I reject your chap app reality :)

Finn said...

This game will be a "BUY" for me. I am very interested in the multi player and coop functionality, which gives you multiple ways of customizing your space marine, depending on the mission/roll he is about to undertake.

Finn said...

Multi player footage:

Jason said...

I'm really looking forward to trying this one out.