The tabletop game Warhammer 40,000 is a well known property when it comes to video game culture. I believe it has had a major impact on many games, and the property has spawned a few itself. But I have had no exposure with the property outside of reading previews and reviews for past Warhammer 40,000 games. But the demo for Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine just released for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 and I thought I’d try it out. It combines third-person shooting with brutal hack and slash gameplay and does so well, but it just wasn’t for me.
There were two missions to undertake in the Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine demo. The first was titled The Inquisitor. I fought a lot of orks in a battle-ridden industrial area as I made my way to a crane, and eventually to an elevator out of the area. There were a ton of enemies and I wasn’t sure if I should use melee attacks or fire my weapons. Using my melee attacks did a lot of damage, but I lost health very quickly and died a few times. On the other hand my weapons were fairly strong, but the orks advanced so fast it seemed like I was always walking or jumping backwards as I fought them.
The second mission was titled Battlements. I very quickly found a jet pack that my character equipped. With it I could launch myself into the air and then come crashing back to earth by doing a ground pound. If any enemies were immediately nearby they would explode in a gory mess, any stragglers that were close enough to be affected were stunned and easy prey; I could perform absolutely brutal executions on stunned enemies.
Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine from the outset played like a very familiar game. In the wake of Gears of War, the third-person shooter genre has come to life. But there are many games that can’t compare and Space Marine is one of them. The characters had a great sense of weight. They were bulky and wore these huge suits of armor, and they moved like it, which is a great quality, but not for me. The design of the game is consistent with the Warhammer 40,000 universe: a blend of futuristic and industrial aesthetics, but it looks like many other video games and didn’t pique my interest. Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine seems like an adequate third-person action game, but it didn’t strike a chord with me. Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine is developed by Relic Entertainment and is being published by THQ, scheduled to release September 6, 2011 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.