Wednesday, September 21, 2011

SPACE MARINE! A Video Game Review

Greetings oh noble readers. Sorry for the month hiatus, I started at a new workplace and have been putting in quite a few 12-14 hour days while I get settled. Things are slowing down, so some blog posts should start flowing in again.

Before I get to the meat of this post, and my review of Space Marine, just a quick update in D-9's world. I've finished off my trencher chain gunners and the storm strider is about 70% done. That thing is deceptively difficult to paint. Look for some pictures sooner or later. Been playing Circle lately for a change up and am still trying to wrap my head around Kromac. Look for a Circle article sometime soon as well.

Ok, so video game review time! For anyone who's read this blog in the last few years it's no secret that my long love affair with Games Workshop has been on the rocks. I haven't bought a new GW model in almost two years and have only played 40k twice in the last 12 months. At times this makes me sad, I really do love the the fluff and the aesthetics of 41st millenium and I really enjoy my armies as well, but the game itsself just hasn't been there for me.

Enter Space Marine.

I heard about this game when it was in development, saw a few screen shots, meh. Then one of my gaming buddies said that he had downloaded the demo and we all had to try it. I had some Amazon points so I ordered it up and... wow.

First, this is not some great triumph in video game design. There is nothing new and interesting in this game that hasn't been done before. But what is there, is done exactly the way I want it to be. This is a fanboy's game. Cueing up that chainsword to lay into a mob of 15 orks and watching their bloody bodies fly to and fro is exactly what I needed in a 40k video game. You are an Ultramarine captain who, along with two other marines, have responded to a Forge World that has been invaded by orks. Too valuable for exterminatus or to be simply abandoned, you are the spearhead of an assault to get the planet back. The Imperial Guard and the inquisition both make appearances in the story as well.

The beautiful backgrounds and environments, the constant nods to the 40k universe, are all totally appreciated. The Forgeworld is a marvel to behold at times, and even in the nondescript trenchworks and sewer tunnels you still get a feel for the world you've read so much about. I'm 5 hours into the campaign and the story, while not exactly Abnett quality, at least has me interested and hooked. The voice acting is great and the score is suitably awesome. Sound effects are another big plus for this game. From the revving of the chain sword to the 'whump boom" of a bolter shell, if you've got a nice stereo, crank her up.

The bad? Things can get a little repetitive. With this said, at this point in my life I'm enjoying the mindless slaughter every night before bed. (see earlier statement about 14 hr. days.) From a 40k nerd perspective, some of the weapons seem a little underpowered for their fluff. (I'm looking at YOU melta gun!) The health regen mechanic is also a little clunky. You have to perform finishing moves on your enemies to regain health. The moves are a set animation and also become a bit repetitive (although I can't see the one where you get the power axe stuck in the nob's head enough times, Classic!) and performing them in big battle becomes difficult due to camera angle issues.  

All and all if you were and/ or are a 40k fan. Play this game. You will enjoy it. Now, I've got to get ready for Wednesday night Warmahordes, Cryx, Circle or Cygnar? hmmm.....