Zero Lives Left – Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine

Game: Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine
Released: 2011
Available On: Xbox 360 (Review), Playstation 3, PC
Genre: Third Person Shooter

My best friend wants to become a hulking suit of armour. I wish I was joking here and just playing along with a gag that fits with the game on hand like I do with all of my other reviews. However, this time it is absolute fact. My best friend wants to become a hulking suit of armour. His love for cars and the like is probably because a car is the closest thing he can currently afford that resembles power armour. He saw Pacific Rim more times in theatre than I can count. He plays Space Marine in Warhammer 40K because he, as I have said before, wants to become a hulking suit of armour. He has gone so far as to buy an actual suit of 16th century armour– it may not be power armour, but it is half way there. As much as it saddens me to say this, I am quite sure he’d give up my own life in order to get some power armour he can wear in real life. Half of the reason I rented this game was so that he and I could relate to something. I’ll never be as important to him as power armour, but maybe one day he’ll let me give him a hug and for one, sweet, sweet, moment we can pretend that I am his power armour and I’ll protect him forever.

The storyline for Space Marine doesn’t necessarily hit hard and fast. You play as Captain Titus and you lead a small squad of Space Marines on a rescue mission to rescue an Imperial Inquisitor. After that there are numerous plot twists that leads to an exciting climactic battle against the big bad. As what kind of story would it be if there was no climax? Along the way to the fight against the big bad you’ll be continually taunted by Grimskull, an Ork warboss who will serve the game as the thorn in your side and the big bad before the big bad. You will get to face waves of enemies as you attempt to figure out exactly what happened to the Inquisitor and come out on top, as Space Marines are prone to do.

The gameplay for Space Marine is pretty standard. You can run, you can shoot and you can melee. You are given a variety of weapons are you progress further into the game. The melee weapons are the really cool additions you get, because the guns themselves are run of the mill. Now don’t get me wrong, one of the most rewarding things of the game is shooting off an Orks head with a sniper rifle. Sure, it may just be a sniper rifle, but no matter how it looks if it causes an enemy’s head to explode then it makes it awesome. Essentially, the guns may be conceptually plain, but in action they feel great. One of the coolest equipment pick ups you get in the game is a jet pack. You get it once or twice, but the times you do have it are easily the best part of the game. You will be jumping around with the boosters and landing on Orks, causing devastating impact damage when you do. It feels GREAT to fly across the map in a pinch to escape enemy fire only to launch where they were firing from and crushing them all like the puny Orks they are.

When I popped this game in for the first time I had a very difficulty time getting into the game. There was something about the dull looking world, average controls and samey gameplay that just turned me off of the whole thing. I am not the biggest fan of 40K, I find myself rooted more into Fantasy, but when I did play I dabbled in Tyranid. I was hoping the entire time that something would show up that wasn’t just Orks. I don’t find Orks interesting, I’d much rather be fighting something scarier than Orks. Maybe I am wrong, but Orks seemed like the easy enemy for the Space Marines to fight because that is just what they do. Maybe there is a lore reason for it, but I’d much rather have something exciting like Necron show up and have to fight them, even Tyranid would be amazing with all my bias aside. This is what made the game the biggest hill to climb at the start: I didn’t want to play the game. I play games because they inspire me to finish them, at the start this game inspired me to send it back to the place I rented it from.

Unlike Ninja Gaiden or Operation Raccoon City, I decided to man up and finish this game. It wasn’t terrible, it was just to me, at that point, uninspired. Somehow when I tried playing this game a second time something just clicked in my brain. I started… having fun. I started to enjoy the combat more, I started to get into the controls, I started to, as I said above, enjoy shooting the head off of those asshole Orks. Even the Orks started to become more bearable to me. When the second enemy type shows up in the game my disappointment in it not being Tyranid wasn’t even that high. I was just straight up enjoying what the game. The story even became compelling and I am disappointed there likely won’t be a sequel because the ending had a cliffhanger underneath all of its resolution. A cliffhanger that I would love to know how it resolves. I’m very glad that I took the second chance with this game, there was something about it I just wasn’t seeing the first time.

Although in the end I did have fun with the game, I can’t forgive my initial feelings on the thing. Even with all the positivity of the last paragraph I have to acknowledge that gameplay being standard and the world not having as much atmosphere as it could have. Also a big disappointment is the whole game culminating in a quick time event. I do not have the greatest love for QTEs and when it was happening, I felt that little annoyance trigger in my head. I recommend this game to people who like power armour or people who like 40K. Even if you find it for 10 or 20 bucks I say pick it up. It is probably the closest thing you will get to being a Space Marine apart from dropping twenty thousand dollars on all the miniatures needed to build an army in Warhammer itself.

Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine: 6/10

For next week’s post I’ll be stepping away from Zero Lives Left temporarily and posting a Video Game Rage about a game I think everybody needs to play.

As we wait for the next post of TUG follow Justin on Twitter at @KingCauti and like The Ubiquitous Gentlemen on Facebook.

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