Game: Warhammer 40K: Space Marine

Developer: Relic Entertainment

Genre: Third-person shooter, Hack and Slash

System: PC

Rating: M (Blood, Gore, Violence)

At first glance Warhammer 40K: Space Marine may look similar to Gears of War, but once you start up the game, you realize that Space Marine is vastly different from Gears in many different ways.

Gameplay: Where Gears of War has you constantly hugging chest-high walls and taking pot shots as enemies pop up to shoot back at you, Space Marine focuses more on moving around, getting into the middle of the fray and up close and personal to anything unfortunate enough to get in your way.

Combat mixes Third-Person shooting with Hack and Slash gameplay satisfyingly. None of the weapons feel underpowered, and being able to switch between a Bolter to a melee weapon and then to a sniper rifle while in the middle of a fight never gets old.

My only big gripe with the game is having to do special melee executions on enemies during combat in order to heal. While it is a novel concept as opposed to hiding behind cover as your health regenerates, it doesn’t work that well in practice. Being low on health and then getting killed by a couple of Ork foot soldiers when you are in the middle of a takedown can be pretty annoying at times. It doesn’t actually break the game, and if you aren’t too reckless, you won’t be dying a lot from this, but it definitely could have been designed better.

Visuals: Space Marine uses the standard brown environments with the addition of some blue from the Space Marines, some green from the Orks and some red from all of the blood that flies around.

Story: The story isn’t exactly sophisticated. You’re sent downworld in order to free the planet from an Ork invasion. If you haven’t had any other experiences with the Warhammer 40K series, you may find all of the terms and references confusing. I had only played Dawn of War 2, so I only understood about half of what everyone was saying, but it’s still easy enough to follow what’s going on.

Sound: The sound design on the weapons is excellent and satisfying. The soundtrack is pretty enjoyable and gets the blood pumping at just the right moments.

Final Thoughts: Warhammer 40K: Space Marine excellently mixes Third-Person shooting with Hack and Slash melee combat which creates an enjoyable experience that is only hindered by its unfortunate healing system. As length goes it’s only around 7 hours long with a few hidden audio logs and some Jump Pack segments to break things up now and again. However, it’s well paced enough that it doesn’t make you feel empty at the end.