Warhammer 40.000: Space Marine
Warhammer 40.000: Space Marine doesn’t arrive at a good time as there’s something called Gears of War 3 that’s laying next to it on store shelves. At least, if you’re looking for a game on Xbox360. What also doesn’t help is the fact that the Warhammer 40K universe may have the first and more archetypical space marines, other games have gone forward quite some time ago already, making it all feel very déjà-vu.
Where you expect originality, the gameplay feels equally familiar, just like your weapons arsenal. Although you don’t need to pay as much attention to taking cover, you move in the same way as in Gears and its hostile hit-animation is very similar. You often switch between melee- and long distance weapons, with a good balance. Too bad that the melle quickly ends in a mess where the Orcs try to overwhelm you while you surround them and bash their brains, while at other times you can take all the time of the world to shot them from distance.
Well done is that you need to replenish your health by unleashing your Fury, a special attack, and executing your enemies. This makes that you need to weigh your risks to go full on into battle and replenish your health, or die. Unfortunately there are often so many opponents around you that you lose controle and will need to count on some luck. A tight combination betewen God of War and Gears of War was the intention, but the result shows this ambition was a bit to achieve.
What also gets noticed is how linear the levels are. A bit of walking while having a chat, following a couple of corridors until you end up in a larger arena where the enemies whirl in on command. The depth, variation and refinement of the game by Epic is far to be found making deadly boredom starting to rise after about half an hour. On top of that, the ending is quite the downturner, something painful for someone who wrestled himself through the game, hoping for a satisfying climax.
That the gameplay falls short for those who love more than repeating the same tactics over and over again is most disappointing for fans of Warhammer as the developers have managed to bring the franchise to life succesfully in other domains. The characters may suffer from over-the-top toughness (something made even worse by the rather bad voicing), there’s a world recreated that makes sense and will no doubt be enjoyable for the fans. Also the graphics are more than ok and manage to convince, even if they don’t impress.
Personally I didn’t understand one iota about how the story was put together, the sometimes immature script couldn’t intrigue me one bit, and I lost interest within the first hour. However, if you do appreciate the story, the uninspired gameplay will be a bit easier to digest in order to reach the next cut-scene. All in all, however, it still looks like a missed change that the rich setting wasn’t used in a better way, both on story as well as gameplay level.
There’s also a small multiplayer part you can check out but in the end this game is made mostly for those who love everything that’s got to do with Warhammer 40k.
For the neutrale gamer who knows nothing about the background all that’s left is a mediocre game with sometimes clumsy gameplay and lots of repetitive and linear sections.