Warhammer 40k: Space Marine

Space Marine


I’m going to start off with a quick statement. Warhammer 40k: Space Marine is my most anticipated game of 2011.

Now why you may ask is a game that you may or may not have heard of my most anticipated game of 2011 when the likes of Gears 3, RAGE, Forza 4, and MW3 are all scheduled to come out this year? That’s a little bit of a story for you.

Let’s go back to the late 1980’s when I was in Jr High School and a friend of mine introduced me to this little known tabletop game called Warhammer 40,000. One day while sitting at lunch my friend pulls this small plastic box out of his backpack. Inside are 3 metal figures, each about an inch or so tall. “They’re Warhammers”, he tells me as I pick up one of the small figures. I’m instantly hooked. The Sci-Fi geek in me comes out in full force as I observe for the first time the soldiers with the massively oversized shoulder pads and huge guns in hand. My friend then proceeds to pull out this tomb of a rulebook that has nothing less than what appears to be a full color artful cover with said soldiers fighting for their lives.

I grew up with Star Wars, Robotech, the original Transformers and other sci-fi and anime geekery so seeing Warhammer 40k for the first time was almost more than I could handle. That afternoon I was on my way down to the local comic book store to find out what I could about this new game (I know it’s hard to believe, but there was such a time when there was no internet). I still remember that little comic shop that was not much more than a broom closet but was the only place within distance of my bicycle that I could actually get the figures, a copy of the rulebook and White Dwarf magazine, which was put out by the creators of 40k, Games Workshop.

So flash forward to the present and now we are on something like the 6th edition of the rules, we’ve had a Space Hulk PC game sometime in the 90’s (Space Hulk is an offshoot of 40k), a couple of Dawn of War PC games that were pretty cool, a pretty accurate version of another of GW’s tabletop games called Blood Bowl (available for Xbox 360, PC, and PSP; don’t get me started on that one, the PC version makes the console versions look sad); Blood Bowl being a super violent version of football, well sort of. Anyways back to the present and now we have the imminent release of Space Marine.

You may have heard of fairly popular PC games called Dawn of War and Dawn of War 2. Both of these games are Space Marine games in the 40k universe. Now Dawn of War is a cool game, don’t get me wrong, but you’re really just playing a PC version of the tabletop game, which is to say you’re just a general commanding your troops. In Space Marine, you are the troops. In SM you are Captain Titus of the Ultramarines Space Marine chapter, the games main protagonist. No, you’re not some lowly recruit or even some feeble Imperial Guardsman, you are a Space Marine Captain. You are playing as one the galaxy’s most bad ass warriors and THQ and Relic Entertainment are striving to make you feel like it.

Captain Titus already knows how to kill and you’re being put into his already oversized shoes and sent off to defend an Imperial Forgeworld from an Ork invasion. Things are going to get messy with the inevitable horde of Greenskins that will be meeting their end at your hands. But that’s not the end of it, there is something more sinister going on here than just an invasion and surely the forces of Chaos will turn up to muck up all the works.

Space Marine is a 3rd person shooter; the big difference here is that instead of using cover and taking pot shots at your enemies you’re going to be wading into the thick of things and getting your hands dirty, or bloody depending on how you look at it. Remember that bad ass warrior thing? Well not only are you a genetically engineered super human soldier, but your equipped for it as well. A Space Marine wears a huge set of oversized power armor, making them look a bit like a hulk. But it’s this armor that keeps them alive and the reason why you don’t need to hide behind no sissy cover. Space Marines don’t feel fear like the rest of us mortals, and this is one of the reasons why. The other? The Bolter and Chainsword.

What’s the Bolter and Chainsword? Well a Chainsword is exactly what it sounds like, think chainsaw meets sword. I can hear you say it now, “Oh like in Gears on the Lancer”. Well yeah sort of, except that the Chainsword and chainsaw type gun attachments like the Gears Lancer were part of the 40k universe before Marcus Fenix was even a sparkle in his daddy’s eye. Remember that the Space Marine and 40k franchise is going on something like 30 years old now, so let’s just quit anymore Gears references you might have.

Ok, so what’s a Bolter. Well that’s easy, if the Chainsword is your basic blood and gore creating, melee weapon, then of course the Bolter is going to be your basic ranged weapon. Except for one small thing, it shoots rocket powered, mass reactive shells that explode inside your enemies. Seriously, I couldn’t make this up if I tried. The Bolter is a devastating weapon, and last I checked it comes in 4 flavors: the standard Bolter rifle, the Bolt pistol, the Heavy Bolter (think the futuristic belt fed version of an M60) and the Storm Bolter (basically 2 belt fed bolters mounted to a gauntlet). The Storm Bolter is probably the only version not going to be in the game, mainly because I don’t see it being used in context with the characters.

Other weapons announced are the always fun Las Cannon (yes it pretty much means laser cannon), the always fun to vaporize your enemies with Plasma Rifle, Power Axe, Thunder Hammer and the awesome and usually glowing blue Power Sword. The Axe, Hammer and Sword are all power field encased melee weapons that are more of the surgical cutting type of killer as opposed to the brutal butchery of the Chainsword, well except the Hammer, that you can pretty much just bludgeon the hell out of anything that gets in your way. Regardless, they all do the job of separating your enemies from their body parts incredibly well.

So let’s talk about extra bits for the fans. If you pre-order the game from Gamestop, Amazon, Best Buy, or Walmart you get a nifty little bonus item. There’s also the Collector’s Edition of the game that comes with a full size purity seal, an artbook, and some playing cards, but for $99 for the console version, most people might find that a bit steep. Also just recently announced if you buy and play the soon to be released on XBLA or PSN game, Warhammer 40K Kill Team, you will unlock the Power Sword for use in Space Marine, which is another reason to get on the game and get your kill on early.

So what does all this mean? It means Space Marine is geared up to be one of the bloodiest and goriest shooters of 2011, not to mention the amount of fun you’ll have stomping and killing aliens. Add in 40k’s massive library of cannon (and I do mean massive), and the possibilities are endless for the franchise. A successful debut for Space Marine can only give THQ and Relic incentive to expand on the entire 40k range in the form of what could be massive amounts of DLC, both in single player and multiplayer. Not to mention the added incentive to go forward with other aspects of the 40K universe.