Could Master Chief survive in Warhammer 40k
Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine
Developer: Relic entertainment
Edition: DEFirst Edition
Publishing year: 2011
I'm a huge Warhammer 40,000 fan, even though I don't actually play the tabletop game myself. That was one of the main reasons why I bought Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine in the first place. Now the only question that remains is whether it's a good video game too.
In Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine you take on the role of a Space Marine in the 41st century. That may sound redundant at first, but both facts are important to understand the setting of this game. The 41st century is a very, very dystopian future in which a fanatical and incredibly fascist human race is fighting for survival on countless planets against the most diverse aliens. Their biological trump card are so-called Space Marines, especially loyally indoctrinated, huge super soldiers who are put in the best possible armor to bring death and ruin to the enemies of mankind as an elite unit. If that's too flowery for you, here is another variant. These are human tanks. And that's what you play.
The story is very simple. Orcs invade a world and because quite important war machines are being built on this world and which must not be lost under any circumstances, Space Marines are sent to fight back the invasion. History is unlikely to win a flowerpot, especially when checked for innovativity. It does have a few little story twists in the later game, but nothing that you have probably not seen anywhere else in this way or similar. The characters of the story also walk on familiar paths. The veteran does not take the danger seriously and the newcomer slavishly adheres to the regulations, just to name a few examples. There is one more notable exception, Captain Titus, the main character. It's not about his being, because he's more or less the archetypal hero, it's about his actions. The usual formula when you think of Space Marine or something like that goes like this. The main character is either silent or speaks very little and shows absolutely zero initiative, even if he or she holds a famous hero and / or the rank of military commander. Examples of this would be the Master Chief from the "Halo" series or Samus Aran in "Metroid: Other M". The situation is different with Captain Titus, who is both a commander and has to be a hero in order to even earn his current rank. Almost all operational goals are formulated by him and not, as is so often the case, by some “wise old man” or the person who is currently on the other side of the radio transmission. This is only a small thing, but a pleasant change from stumbling through the plot more or less blindly as occurs in many other action games or first-person shooters.
Speaking of action game. Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine is that, in my opinion, and thoroughbred. Not only is this the game's greatest curse, but it's also its greatest blessing. Let's look at the curse side first. Within the seven to ten hours of playing time that you probably need for the single player campaign, from start to finish you do nothing but go from A to B and kill everything on the way that wants to kill you. The variety is minimal. There are some passages in which you use a jump module and a very short rail shooter sequence, but everything stays the same in between. For those of you who don't know what a jump module is, it is the name given to a jetpack that is unable to fly. In my opinion, a little more loosening up through different game passages would have made the game a lot better. So why is this monotony also the greatest blessing at the same time? Firstly, because it works technically flawlessly and, secondly, it is a lot of fun. This is probably also due to the fact that after a long time the combat system is once again one that focuses on the essentials. There is no button to take cover and since the developers wanted to put combat in the foreground, there is no button to block. But to be fair, every opponent is also a potential "healing potion". Opponents who are killed by one of the very brutal finishers regenerate their own vitality. The only small weakness of this system is that you get injured even during the finisher animation, which, especially in tight situations, can lead to what feels like a millisecond longer to have survived. As with all console ports, you are then returned to the last checkpoint, kindly again with full life energy. Unfortunately, therefore, you cannot use more than one save and if you have to or want to repeat something there are only entry points set by the game. The selection of ranged weapons depends on the standard weapons and unfortunately there are only three different melee weapons, two of which only differed in their strength in the single player. But that's not really that bad, since the firearms in particular are pleasingly different from each other. Funnily enough, these standard weapons would be super weapons in other games, since the setting of the normal "MG" is an automatic grenade launcher.
Because of this setting, the environment is also very dreary. Graia is a factory world and you can see that everywhere. The colors gray and brown, which have almost become synonymous with action games and first-person shooters, dominate. You actually only walk through ruins or huge factory halls, which have some nice details especially for the initiated, but compared to the attention to detail in some other games, that's very little. What is perhaps a little noticeable is the fact that you can find quite a few audiologists about how much the civilian population suffered from this hurricane attack, but not a single civilian dead. From a technical point of view, everything here is from a single source. Unfortunately the mold is only mediocre. The character models are nice to look at and the textures also serve their purpose, especially if you don't look closely. The effects are also okay, but unfortunately there is no real “wow moment”. On the other hand, the frame rate doesn't fluctuate and apart from a few small clipping errors there are actually no bugs. The controls, on the other hand, sit between all chairs for me. With a mouse and keyboard, the problem arises that too many keys have to be assigned and melee and long-range combat cannot be controlled so fluently. For me in particular, it was the case, for example, that this game did not identify my mouse wheel as the third mouse button and therefore I had to assign an additional button just to create it. I had the usual problems with my controller. No recognition without emulation, no possibility to change the key assignment and the annoying problem that you cannot aim precisely at all. On the other hand, the control via the controller is overall rounder.
The acoustic side of the technology is stronger here. I find the background music very successful and appropriate. So the theme of the game can also be heard without a game and there are also many other passages recorded with an orchestra that are very good. In confrontations with orcs, drum pieces are often used that sound like I imagine orc war music. The gun sounds are okay, but could have used a little more force with these calibers. So we come to the topic of voice actors. Everything is very solid in English. The only surprises of a positive nature are, once again Captain Titus, who doesn't sound like a testosterone-poisoned muscle mountain, but like a nice neighbor and an inquisitor who also has a very calming voice. It is similar in German. The speakers are all appropriately cast and do not attract attention. The translation itself is also well done, so I wouldn't have noticed anything that sounds really strange. I find the orcs and grots even a tad better in German. Unfortunately, a small chance has been missed here. The voice actor for veteran sergeant Sidonus (Rolf Berg) spoke to Captain Gabriel Angelos in “Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War” and then uttered sayings like: “I know no fear because I am the reincarnation of fear!” And it would be easy just absolutely brilliant if he had spoken to Captain Titus and the dubbed script had been rewritten to only say things like that. Well, you can't have everything.
In addition, you should know that you need a Steam account to activate the game. So a clear warning to everyone who, unlike me, cannot get used to it.
Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine multiplayer is also solid average. There are three different modes, one of which is cooperative and the other two play against each other. Here, too, there is the now established leveling system, this time the maximum achievable level is 41. In the course of leveling up you unlock weapons, perks and classes as usual. There are three classes in total, all of which play differently. One is the "tactical Space Marine", which plays like Titus in the single player campaign. Then the "Devastor / Havoc", which represents the heavy support and plays like when you tear a gun from a turret with Titus. And the third class in the league is the “Standard / Raptor”, who plays like Titus in the jump module passages. Why some classes have two names is also quickly explained. You always play in teams and these are divided into Space Marines and Chaos Space Marines. The different names of the classes only refer to the respective names that these classes have in the setting of Warhammer 40,000. Anyone who now has the secret hope of leveling a Space Marine and a Chaos Space Marine separately will be disappointed. You can unlock different armor, but perks and weapons are account-bound, so these are more like two different skins. You can't choose your side in the two PvP modes anyway, so this approach somehow retains its justification.
The two modes that you play against each other are very similar, although they are based on different game mechanics. In the "annex" mode, several points are distributed over the map that must be conquered and held, similar to the "Battlefield" series. The mode "obliteration" is a classic team death match. The side that has 41 kills first wins. The similarity stems from the fact that exactly the same maps are used for both game modes, of which there are exactly five, some of which do not even rotate properly. And the other big problem is matchmaking, because once again you can't choose who to play with unless you open a game for friends.
In the mode in which you play with each other, the matchmaking problem is the same. Here you have to survive 20 orc waves with three other players if possible. All players share a life pool and when this is used up you have to start again at the wave that is after a number that is divisible by five. Unfortunately there are only two maps here, but they change every five levels. In between, you can also fulfill some optional goals, such as "Defeat 15 opponents in close combat in 30 seconds!" Some of these maps also have nice gimmicks, such as the activation of stationary towers.
Even if that didn't sound really positive, the quality of the multiplayer is equal to the single player. And here you can also say that both complement each other well and increase the fun of the game.
Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine is a nice game. For Warhammer 40,000 fans it is pure playable fan service and for everyone else it is at least a solidly made action game without any particular highs, but also without any serious lows. If you are interested, my recommendation would be to strike at € 30 and everyone else would wait until it is available for € 20 or less.
The game will definitely find interested parties among Warhammer 40,000 fans. Those who could also have fun with it are fans of "Orks Must Die", if they can do without the traps, or players of Koei's "Warrior" series of games. Of course, everyone who wants to play an action game without too much ballast can also take a look.
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