Space Marine!?

I’ve been playing that Space Marine game that came out recently. And it’s quite good.

It’s a hyper-violent little jaunt through a small corner of the insane Warhammer 40k universe – a universe I have more than a little soft spot for, since I used to play the real-life plastic and metal toys thingy when I was a younger lad. I’d say that the best thing about this game is that it’s really surprisingly faithful to the source material – Space Marines are capable of killing hundreds of Orks each, something that this game gets right where most do not: it remains true enough to the background (even, ironically enough, the physical wargame doesn’t) to allow Space Marines to be the insane post-human killing machines they actually are supposed to be.

The weight behind all your actions is really quite satisfying – you feel like you are controlling a big bloke in a big suit of big armour. The guns are all meaty and satisfying (especially some of the heavier ones – Heavy Bolters and Autocannons are insane), and melee is absurdly visceral. The health mechanics also work quite well – you have a regenerating armour bar, but the only way to recover health is to perform execution moves or use your rage ability – essentially, you need to get stuck into melee at least every once in a while, and I think that’s basically a good thing – how else are you going to cover your armour with ludicrous amounts of guts?

The story isn’t particularly inspired – although I will say that the ending is a fittingly bleak one, considering the setting. Voice acting is fine, and the CG acting is surprisingly good – faces look really nice in this engine, and they animate quite well. Level design is pretty lame if you ask me, it’s essentially a series of corridors connecting a series of arenas; perfectly serviceable, but nothing particularly inspiring.

It’s also a very short game with an oddly non-working multiplayer (although I gave up trying after it didn’t work once, so perhaps I just have no stamina). Not great value for money on the longevity front, true, but it does have the virtue of being the first game in a little while that I’ve actually completed. Yeah, go me!

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