Space Marine Blends Shooting, Melee, And Ork Slaughtering - Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine - Xbox 360 -
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Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine

Space Marine Blends Shooting, Melee, And Ork Slaughtering

Relic Entertainment's original take on the Warhammer 40,000 universe aims to seamlessly blend third-person shooting and melee combat into an adventure that packs all the action and bravado of a summer blockbuster. But can it deliver? We went hands-on with the game and killed more than our share of Orks to answer the question.

Players step into the boots of Captain Titus, the lead space marine tasked with saving the human race from hostile aliens. In our demo, this involves protecting a war machine facility from invading Orks. Relic's game director Raphael Van Lierop demonstrated the titular space marine's suite of moves, which includes a rush move that takes down enemies in a slow motion eruption of blood, a fury attack that knocks back ambushing enemies, and over-the-top execution moves that shift to a cinematic camera angle. While all of these moves look great, they also serve a strategic purpose: Fury attacks can save you when you're overwhelmed by melee enemies, while execution moves will replenish your health. Titus has some additional tricks up his sleeve when brandishing projectile weapons as well, including a slow motion aiming mechanic, and secondary fire options for most guns.

Van Lierop's demonstration certainly made switching between guns and melee attacks seem smooth, but it wasn't until I took over the controller that I saw how seamless the transition really is. Without missing a beat, I was able to slice down an axe-wielding Ork, pull up my gun and pop off some medium range headshots, then dodge incoming attacks while throwing a grenade at my feet. Despite wearing an absurdly large metal suit, Titus is surprisingly agile, and I didn't have any aiming problems regardless of what attack type I was performing.

Thanks to Titus' superhuman powers and varied arsenal (Van Lierop says the final game will feature around 15 weapons, plus exotic set piece weapons), combat reminded me a bit of Bulletstorm, in that I didn't just want to kill my Ork attackers, but try out creative ways to dispatch them. It wasn't until I ran into a larger Ork class, which lets out a terrifying battle cry as it attacks, that I had to focus on survival. In Space Marine, however, surviving doesn't mean running away and waiting to heal: Relic is focusing on making the player feel like a complete bad*ss (what else would you expect when playing as a space marine?), so mechanics like healing via execution moves encourages you to push harder when you're in danger, not slink away. Expect the single player campaign to be 12-15 hours of nonstop action.

As someone who plays a lot of action games, I had become all but convinced that shooting and melee combat don't mix well in third-person games. Space marine has me rethinking that stance, and although I don't know much about the Warhammer 40K universe (despite the game's over-the-top action, Van Lierop says the team is working to create a compelling, multifaceted story), I'm eager to learn more thanks to Relic's fresh take on the franchise.

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  • Sounds cool, but the name reads so dumb. Why not just call this game Warhammer 40K: dramatic sub-title?

  • big warhammer 40k fan hope they dont screw this up also the idea of multiplayer sounds cool when they show it i hope you play as imperial guard if not then space marine on chaos space marine sounds cool
  • I dunno, there are various units in the RTS...this game focuses on the space marine...seems pretty good to me as far as names go.

  • Mod
    seamless transition between shooting and melee, plus healing through executions? sign me up. ;)

    btw, jeff, did you really "dodge incoming attacks while throwing a grenade at my feet"? might not want to make that boast lol
  • This game is cool.

  • Orcs really need to get more armor, because that chainsaw looks dangerous.
  • Day 1 for me. Orks are going to die.

  • I was originally planning to pass this game over despite being a 40k fan, but if the combat transitions are as seamless as you say they are, I might check it out. I won't pre-order it though; waiting for a review seems like the best idea.

  • I cant wait for this game

  • Big fan of the 40k universe and this does look good.  However there are so many great titles coming out this year I think I will need to wait for it to go on sale on steam.  

  • This seems like something to look at, even if I'm not a huge action junkie. If it's really well received, I might buy it.

  • I hate this art-style, possibly equally or more than my hate for Gears of War's artstyle.

  • Sorry, but I could never play a game from people who spell Orc with a k. The Forgotten Realms have spoiled me.

  • Looks bad-ass.

  • I love Warhammer 40k.

  • I wanna smash some Dark Eldar and Tyranid heads. Orcs are the fodder of the 40k universe imo lol, though i will be buying this just so i can demolish every last one of them.

  • cant wait!

  • DAKKA DAKKA DAKKA!!!!! ( WH40K reference FTW!)

  • So it's Darksiders with guns?

  • The video looked fun as hell I gotta say. Never played too much of the RTS games though. This looks like a cross between Devil May Cry and Gears of War. So something like 40k Gears May Cry is what it should be called.
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