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WARHAMMER 40.000: SPACE MARINE™ is a Third Person Shooter from Relic Entertainment (the game-development studio responsible for the classic Space-RTS HOMEWORLD, as well as renowned RTS-series' COMPANY OF HEROES and WH40K: DAWN OF WAR) and was published in 2011 by the now-defunct THQ Inc.
The game is based on the Table-Top tactical wargame WARHAMMER 40.000 (WH40K) by Games Workshop and features:
A full-fledged SINGLE PLAYER STORY-MODE that will take between 6 - 10 hours to finish (depending on difficulty)
A tacked-on but insanely addictive COMPETITIVE MULTIPLAYER MODE (with way too few maps or game-modes; also the worst internet-connection system for mp-games ever conceived by humans: Peer-to-Peer connection. Like, seriously, Relic, FFS!!!)
And an even more tacked-on but also insanely fun 4 PLAYER CO-OP MODE (which suffers from the fact that it uses options and systems from the competitive mp-mode)
STORY & GAMEPLAY:
It is the grimdark future of space and there is only war, and as you may or may not know, war never changes.
What this means is that everything absolutely sucks for everyone, especially if you are a human worker or a human soldier amongst the billions upon billions of other, unimportant human beings on one of the many planets belonging to the Imperium of Man, such as the forge-world Graia for example, and are being attacked by an overwhelming planetary invasion force of one of the many weird, disgusting and/or brutal Xenos-races threatening the Imperium, like....say....the Orks, who like nothing more than to crush your skull and paint their cars red with your blood (to make them go faster, obviously).
There are, however, some people in the future of space who don't think that everything sucks!
These people are, of course, the Space Marines™, who are the very best of the best in the galaxy and have been genetically modified and outfitted to deal with the absolute worst that the future, space and beyond have to offer.
Space Marines™ enjoy nothing more than fighting (and eventually dying) for the God-Emperor of Mankind. And when they are not fighting or dying they are usually found praying to the Emperor for more fighting and the honour of dying a glorious death during fighting.
So now imagine an 8-foot tall, towering half-god encased in mighty, shiny power-armor, equiped with an assault rifle that shoots grenades in one hand, a chainsaw in the shape of a sword in the other, wearing a helmet that looks more badass than that of Darth Vader™ and implanted with, among other things, a second heart to withstand the most brutal of heartbreaks (and I don't mean the kind that you and I go through when Megan Fox or Ryan Gosling never answer our letters) and you get an idea of what it is to be one of the Emperor's finest.
Actually, stop imagining things and start playing this game because, quite frankly, there is nothing quite like it.
This isn't Gears of War™, where you cower behind chest-high walls, sucking your thumb until your health regenerates and then sometimes take pot-shots against ugly-looking freaks.
No, here you charge into a horde of said freaks and smash their heads in to regenerate your health back (your shield will refill on its own, though, no smashing and bashing required).
Use a variety of ranged weaponry, such as your trusty Bolter, plasma weapons, grenades or sniper rifles and shotguns that shoot flames instead of bullets, as well as various melee weapons, such as the iconic Chainsword, the Power Axe and the epic Thunder-Hammer (long, strong and throbbing with energy) to vanquish countless waves of cartoonishly villanous beasts and demons.
Please the God-Emperor by bringing death to his enemies and he will refill your FURY, granting you a temporary boost to your awesomeness with more head-smashing power for melee attacks and bullet-time™ for shooty attacks.
Enjoy fluid and seamless combat that allows you to run into a group of enemies, shoulder-barge the lot of them, slap one, stomp another, then grab another one, cut him into pieces and then spray the rest of them with bolter-rounds until they explode into chunky bits, all in the matter of seconds and through the press of a few buttons/keys.
The gameplay is solid, though repetitive; you'll spend hours upon hours fighting against the hordes of the Ork race, which, even though you continuously acquire new gear throughout the course of the campaign, can get tiring after an hour or two of playtime. This is especially true if brown, grey and more brown corridors and levels bore you quickly.
On the other hand, to mix things up you get to use a jetpack (or jump-pack) from time to time, allowing you to take to the skies and crush your enemies from above. And we all know that jetpacks make everything better in video-games, don't we?
Anyway, eventually you will get to fight some other enemies later on, but for most of the game it's Orks, Orks, Orks, big Orks, small Orks, bigger Orks, even BIGGER Orks and then more Orks.
The story is serviceable and nothing ground-breaking (well, this isn't exactly Shakespeare: The Video-Game here), just your typical WH40K-fare. However, the voice-acting is solid enough, with a strong central performance by british actor Mark Strong (which you may or may not remember from films such as "Zero Dark Thirty" or the first "K i c k - A s s").
Even though it is repetitive & brown I still I love this game more than any of the other repetitive & brown games that I have played within the last 4 - 5 years, simply for the fact that this game is unique in the way combat works; you feel like a walking tank and unstoppable when you cut through tons of enemies like a hot knife through kittens....er...I mean butter, yes....butter.
Though, the threat of death is always present and you can easily lose yourself in the adreanline rush of power-tripping, only to let your guard down and allow enemies to surround you, swarm you and then kill you in the matter of seconds.
You have to be mindful of your attackers, of your surroundings and you have to use everything to your advantage. Use your entire arsenal against your foes, think tactically, be mobile and never forget to user cover - but without having to sit behind it like a little girl crying for her dead kittens...
This is a flawed little gem of a game, but one that is definitely worth the price of admission.
Seriously, if this game happens to be on sale, like, right now then just buy the bloody thing! Why are you even wasting time reading reviews when you could be single-handedly performing awesome bloody grimdark-genocide already?
I would whole-heartedly recommend this game to anyone who enjoys action-games, especially players of classic shooters such as DooM, Quake, Blood, etc. or any other game that focuses more on mobility and diverse weaponry rather than staying stationary behind walls with marginaly different assault rifles.
And while some hardcore WH40K-fans may cringe at some of the design choices in the game (because some things in this game do not conform to the established lore of the franchise) everyone should just take this game for what it is:
A carnage-filled and action-packed power-fantasy (from an admittedly brown, bitter and boring-looking future).
A NOTICE ON THE DLC-PACKS:
Unless it is heavily discounted during some sort of sale (or as part of the Space Marine™ COLLECTION) it is generally not worth having any of the DLC since the weapon and armor skins are only cosmetic and the gamebreaking bugs on CHAOS DLC multiplayer-maps prevent them from being enjoyed by what's left of the community. The DREADNOUGHT DLC, on the other hand, is an additional VERSUS game-mode that, while awesome, generally just isn't being played.
You can find people playing the Chaos Invasion map for the EXTERMINATUS CO-OP mode but you have to decide if that alone is worth paying full price.