The Warhammer universe is huge, with years of extensive lore. The series encompasses Real Time Strategy games, RTS, books, and a tabletop version similar to D&D. The series has rarely delved into shooters of any kind so the developer behind this, Relic, decided to give it a shot. And Warhammer 40, 000 Space Marine may be flawed, but it’s also fun.
The game puts you in command of Captain Titus, an Ultramarine: 7-foot super soldiers garbed in large power armor. In response to a distress signal, Titus, and two of his Ultramarine brethren, is sent to the Forge World to stop an invasion of Orks, yes with a K. Amidst a sci-fi fantasy plot filled with honor, betrayal, and whole lot of killing, the story comes off as interesting if not somewhat confusing. For a newcomer to the series, some of the terminology was lost to this reviewer, but they do an admirable job nonetheless.
Space Marine plays like a third person shooter. Armed with various guns and melee weapons, Titus will face off against hordes of Orks. The combat will get heavy and there are obvious situations where players will know which weapon to use especially when overruns with Orks. The game does get hard early on and players will probably die a lot even on the easiest setting. Thankfully health is easily regained with a quick melee combo. The constant combat can be repetitive, but it’s also very satisfying to kill Orks.
The history behind Warhammer is quite extensive. Even if players are new to the series, like here, it will easily hook them in. From the honorable crusader-like Ultramarines to the space Orks, this world is cultivated with lore. All factions of this world also have British accents, giving it a good fantasy vibe mixed with sci-fi. If fantasy Ork killing sounds strange, then this probably isn’t going to stick for some.
Everything isn’t golden here though. The game is a great introduction to the Warhammer universe and slaying Orks is fun. Other then that there isn’t much here. Players can’t upgrade, the multiplayer is lackluster, the graphics aren’t impressive and while the voice work is excellent, the score is easily forgettable. It’s hard to say if fans of Warhammer will like Space Marine, but from a newcomer’s perspective, it’s worth a quick, if not short, look.
Score: 3/5 Stars
Special Notes: This article was originally published on October 1, 2011 via my Examiner account before the website shut down.