Published on September 21st, 2012 | by NickSoD1
PC / OnLive: Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine Review
Summary: To stack it all together into a tasty sandwich of Human flesh with Ork cheese in between two toasted Khorne bread slices, this game is a brilliant game that any avid gamer should own. The singleplayer campaign is entertaining all the way through and the multiplayer experience is something worth getting in on. It may not be blockbuster hit, but anyone who says this is not a solid, fun third-person shooter needs to be purged in the name of the Emperor or slain for the Blood God
In the Grim Darkness of the Far Future, There is Only War…OK, it’s not exactly “In a galaxy far, far away” but any longtime Warhammer 40,000 fan most likely gets a little excited when they hear or see this phrase come up. For those that are not acquainted with the 40k universe, let me start off this review by introducing you to my bloody, gory, beautiful friend.
The universe is set in the 41 millennia and mankind has become the ultimate power throughout the galaxy. Now united as the Imperium, mankind has found an abundance of other enemies to fight, for instance, the innumerable hordes of the Orks, their greatest enemy however lies in the forces of Chaos. The Dark Gods are the antithesis to the God- emperor, holy leader of mankind, so they focus most of their hate and destruction on man preferring to corrupt and use the easily manipulated humans to wreak havoc throughout the galaxy.
Mankind’s greatest weapon against their enemies are the genetically perfected super soldiers created by the Emperor himself; the space marines are not innumerable, as there are no more than 100 Chapters of about 1,000 men, but what they lack in numbers they make up for in awesomeness…To sum it all up, it is all-out-war all the time. The game, Space Marine, stays true to this Ethos, pinning you (and your fellows) up against the forces of Chaos and the always battle-hungry Orks. The game offers a fleshed out single player and multiplayer experience, but does it all deserve the Emperor’s seal of approval?
The singleplayer experience is one anybody who preordered or bought the game early on is probably very familiar with already, but for those who still haven’t experienced it, here’s a taste: You are Ultramarines’ Captain Titus, the ranking officer within the Ultramarines chapter, sent to investigate an Ork invasion of a key Imperial war-manufacturing planet. Being that you are a total bad ass, elite space marine, you spearhead the relief force with your command squad of just three marines, including Titus. Thousands of Orks will fall to the wayside as you blaze a trail through the horde to one objective or another. Saving Imperial Guardsmen, the disposable bulk of the Imperiums armies, and Inquisitors, psychic, battle-tested “secret police” agents, along the way, Titus soon realizes there is more going on down on this world than first thought. Without giving too much away, you find the forces of Chaos (surprise!) are here for a good beat down. For any 40k fan, the story is pretty generic, even with the few curveballs it attempts to throw, but most would agree that it is an enjoyable ride to the end.
Gameplay is fairly uniform between the singleplayer and multiplayer experience (which will be discussed later), but there are a few differences. The campaign is linear, so players make their way through the game picking up new weapons and perks as they go; there are plenty of ammo and weapon dumps along your path and you can hold up to 3 weapons (not including your sidearm and melee weapon), so there will always be plenty of stuff to shoot with. Also, in the campaign, there is no health packs/medigel/Hello Kitty band-aids/what-have-you; space marines have no use for that stuff. All they need is to bash in an Ork’s skull or tear it in half with a chainsword to feel better. Seriously though, to gain health in this game players must use the execute moves on a stunned enemy. These “finishing moves” are spectacularly gory, so enjoy them to the fullest, as they are, unfortunately, not present in the multiplayer modes.
Speaking of multiplayer, players will find three modes currently available on the OnLive version along with a fully equipped customizer for all your personal space marine-creating needs. The first two modes are “Seize Ground” (map control/take and hold the points) and “Annihilation” (death match/first to 41 kills wins), both of which are, of course, Space Marine versus Chaos. Teams are picked randomly and there is no preference setting, so you will likely play as both sides during the course of your experience.
There are three varied classes that are shared by both factions with the only difference being appearances and names. The Tactical/Chaos Tactical Marine is your jack of all trades class; they have the unique possibility of carrying multiple guns that range from long range bolters to short range, face melting melta guns. The Devastator/Havoc Marine is the heavy weapons expert; they provide great support rolls as artillery, entrenched uppressing fire, and even snipers. The final class is the assault/Raptor Marine; they excel at one thing: close combat. There are a variety of weapon loadouts that can be used and the different classes can be utilized in a number of ways with a variety of selected perks. (Not so much for the Assault/Raptor class, but there are plenty of different weapons to tear apart your enemies with). This game is very newbie friendly, unless said newbie decides to start out with the co-op mode or is playing in a 1v1, 2v2, or even a 3v3. A normal team match, though, gives even the most green of players plenty of opportunity to score big.
Exterminatus is the third multiplayer mode. This is your (now standard) Co-op/Horde mode that pins you and three space marine allies against waves of increasingly difficult Ork adversaries. Using your customized loadouts, players can choose from the three classes for each new arena, aka every 5 waves. There are 20 waves in all with a bonus wave that features a secret, chaotic set of foes that I shall not reveal here. This mode is no cake walk, so putting together a good team is essential if you want to reach the end. There are also challenges presented throughout each arena, some being mandatory, such as capturing a point on the map, but this mode is all about purging the endless hordes of enemies knowing your buddy is right there to watch your back. If you are looking for good, clean (well, it’s pretty messy), sometimes, mindless slaughter than this is mode was made for you.
In terms of the OnLive version, there are actually quite a few perks. Everyone who gets this game on OnLive will receive 5 chapter skins, the power sword, the relic/possessed chainsword (both for the Assualt/Raptor class), and the relic/possessed bolter (for the Tactical class) to use in the multiplayer modes all for free. All are cosmetic upgrades (save for the power sword) and some might say it is still not enough, but it is still an impressive haul that the people at OnLive deserve a little gratitude for after all this game has gone through. The game also happens to play great on the service, giving you good visuals, great audio, and limited lag, at least for this reviewer’s experience.
Getting personal for a bit, I’ve only had a small amount of heavy artifacting and little to no lag. Also, I believe it’s worth mentioning that the voice chat is fully functional with this game and is highly suggested especially if players are looking to make a deep Exterminatus run. However, the downside to this game, unfortunately, does not only reside in the fact that the multiplayer was so delayed. (Visit the OnLiveFans forums for more detail) The multiplayer has yet to be patched, so there is quite a bit of content missing. This is not to say the game is buggy, quite the contrary actually, but the multiplayer is missing game modes and chapter skins that are available on the other systems. The game also does not include a private match system giving us the ability to form a team of friends for either the versus modes or Exterminatus, which would be nice to have as this is a smaller, growing community.
To stack it all together into a tasty sandwich of Human flesh with Ork cheese in between two toasted Khorne bread slices, this game is a brilliant game that any avid gamer should own. The singleplayer campaign is entertaining all the way through and the multiplayer experience is something worth getting in on. It may not be blockbuster hit, but anyone who says this is not a solid, fun third-person shooter needs to be purged in the name of the Emperor or slain for the Blood God.