Game Review: Warhammer 40k: Space Marine (Steam)

Title Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine
Platform: Steam / Windows
Available on OS: Windows
Genre:3rd person shooter, shooter, Gears of War-like
Game number:3 of 1005 steam games (< 1%)

Summary review:
Graphics: I thought the graphics were passable. I think high-end XBox 360 grade: 4/5
Music: I don’t think the music itself was memorable as either good or bad: 3/5
Controls: Best with an actual gamepad, no complaints: 5/5
Replayability: Ultimately I can’t think of a reason to play this again. 1/5
Total score: 65 / 100 – I couldn’t get away from the feeling the game was very Gears of War-like. It doesn’t have the snap-to cover mechanic or the mini-game with reloading of Gears which are two of the best elements. It also has many segments consisting of endless, lifeless, colorless hallways that don’t seem to exist for any particular reason. And the story arcs don’t have any resolution. It just kind of ends abruptly.


Not sure if it’s necessary to say but I was not even remotely familiar with the Warhammer 40k mythology going in. And I don’t think I’m even that familiar with it now.

I couldn’t help but compare this with Gears of War because it seems really, really similar to Gears of War. Same camera angle, same sort of bloody visceral violence, same nameless, mindless hordes of monsters. I just couldn’t shake that comparison that I was playing a one-off of Gears of War.

If that is the starting premise what are the major differences? For one thing the famous snap-to cover mechanic in Gears of War isn’t there and I for one missed it in quite a few situations. I could say the same for the timing-based reload feature from Gears of War. Neither of those are a really deal breakers though. Those things are nice bonus features but they don’t make a whole game.

The other major difference, a good thing this time, is the addition of melee weapons and the power-up system. As you progress through the game new and more powerful weapons are unlocked and you can choose to switch or not from one to the next. There’s also new skills and finisher moves that get unlocked the game is progressed.

The melee weapons like the gaint two-handed hammer are quite entertaining to use and effective.

As with Gears of War there something of a story arc to the game. In fact there’s a revelation and something of a secondary arc half through the game. The problem the story doesn’t have resolution to it. I even looked to see if there was DLC or a sequel but as far as I could find there is not.

There is also an issue with the apparent filler content: there are several sections where you’re simply wandering through completely empty dark hallways with no signs of life. No NPCs, no enemies, no decoration or personality as if there once was life there, now just endless corridors. Maybe I’m missing something. Maybe if I upped the difficulty level those hallways would be full of something. Or maybe it’s part of a multiplayer map although I don’t see how that would work. What I do know is these hallways were extremely boring and pointless and this annoyed me.

The negatives are the bland filler hallways/corridors, the lack of a coherent cover system and the no-ending story arc. The positives include the variety of weapons and hints to the larger Warhammer 40k universe. And I really did appreciate the performance quality and the controls worked quite well.

At some point you have to boil it down: play or not play? Worth the money or not?

For me personally I don’t think it was worth the time and effort to go through the whole game given the negatives. Perhaps someone intimately familiar with the Warhammer 40k universe would find it much more interesting and entertaining. But don’t think it was really worth it. Perhaps if it was under $5 and you had nothing else to play and Gears of War for Windows wasn’t an option for some reason…maybe.


Metadata

Method of control used XBox One gamepad (USB/off-brand)
Controllable via both one analog stick or digital four-way (“HAT”) yes
Hardware requirements: Ran on low-2012 era discreet graphics GPU
PCs tried on ~2013 era core i7 laptop/nVidia GPU at 1080p (full screen) running windows 7
Works with 4:3 screens untested (no reason to test)
Initial setup required Had to initially set the game to “full screen” but after that 100% enter game -> play -> exit out entirely with gamepad.
Steam UID 55150

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