Monday, September 12, 2011
Impressions of Space Marine on XBOX360
Like many other fanboys out there I bought the new Space Marine video game by THQ soon after it released. I have an XBOX 360 arcade which really limits my experience with the game (no online multi-player for this kid). As I have been playing it a bit I thought I would share my thoughts.
First of all you play a Space Marine Captain of the Ultramarines Chapter (I would love it if GW would leave the Ultras alone for once BUT I digress) who leads a partial squad of a few other dudes around a forge world under seige by orks. There is no mechanism for squad leadership in the game. You basically get a few gun drones to follow you around in space marine skin that provide covering fire where you go. It is possible to out run them in combat situations which depending on the situation can be very bad for your health. I would like to add that your buddies are basically invulnerable and you can shoot through them like they are not there with no chance of hurting them. This is fine and all but I have been playing too many hours of New Vegas and everything dies in that game.... Alot. I kinda like that.
The orks in the game are kinda dumb about when they charge... I get that orks mob up before assaulting. I guess it is just odd to watch in real time. I do like how the orks appear in a variety of types in the game and I like how these different types appear in groups that support each other. Just off the top of my head there are slugga boys, grots, shoota boys, bomb squigs, nobs, rocket boys, the list goes on and on. You will often see hordes of slugga boys charge that you will have to deal with at close range. While you are you will be getting shot by snipers on various structures all around you (Usually much higher up). It requires you to use some brains rather than button mashing (sometimes). There will also be more than occasional bomb squigs mixed into the hordes meaning you go boom if you wade in to deep.
I really like how the only way to heal yourself in the game is to be aggressive. While this is not usually the way I play games it does make for an interesting dynamic. When you kill enemies your "rage" meter goes up. When you hit the top of the meter you can activate your pent up "rage." This heals you and gives you combat bonuses first in hand to hand and later when shooting. The only other way you can heal is by stunning an opponent and using a fatality style attack ala Mortal Combat. These are suitably gory though I am usually hesitant to use this method of healing when I am wading through twenty slugga boys. By rewarding aggressive play the game makes you be as aggressive as space marines are hinted at in the Horus Heresy novels at least. True the violence is very "Movie Marines" (a great White Dwarf Article if you ever get the chance... issue 300 for US readers) sooo I really would not suggest this for younger players. Then again maybe I am just old fashioned.
As far as levels go I am alittle disappointed that there is only ever one way to get through levels which after playing the free range game of New Vegas almost feels a bit boring. There is lots of walking around between skirmishes by yourself. I imagine that all the cover holes and interactive scenery that you can roll over or jump off comes into play when you play multi-player. Once again I cannot do this so... It is all lost in the background, which to be fair is nice. There are good views in the surroundings and the graphics are nice to look at so as far as that goes THQ has surpassed my expectations.
As a marine I am pleased with the number of weapons that get kicked around. I am mid-way through the 2nd big mission and I have a stalker pattern sniper bolter, a bolter, a bolt pistol and a grenade launcher. I have also messed around with a plasma cannon and a hvy bolter. I am always fairly conservative with ammo in these things but reloads are so prolific that I have changed the way I play. I assume it is to once again reward a more aggressive style of play. Each weapon has its own role and you end up using them (at least I do) to fit your need at the time. Grenades are in there too and I really do enjoy using them as often as I can get my paws on them...
As a quick aside and this is strange for someone who lives in Australia to say but I expected the Marines to sound American... Clint Eastwood flavoured to be specific. Everyone has a British accent. Not surprising given that GW is a British company but still. It just sounds not quite right to my ear.
All in all I am enjoying Space Marine by THQ. Is it for everyone? No... But what is? It is generally mindless and brings the 40K universe to life. Which I always like. Good times.
Anywhoooo... Till next time gang!