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E3 2011: Warhammer 40K: Space Marine preview – don’t call it Gears of Warhammer

Plenty of haters lately have railed against Warhammer 40K: Space Marine, saying that it just looks like a mash-up of Gears of War and Dynasty Warriors set within the 40K universe. To this we’d like to say: What on Earth is the matter with you that you can’t appreciate a game that’s a mash-up of Gears of War and Dynasty Warriors set within the 40K universe?

That’s a pretty apt comparison, too. Space Marine takes the big guns and giant, armored sci-fi soldiers aspect of Gears, complete with formidable bullet-sponge enemies (mostly orks and Chaos troops), but adds in brutal up-close melee options that seem more suited to a Dynasty Warriors game. These come courtesy of your chainsword, a long sword with an embedded chain saw, which should specifically point existed in Warhammer’s universe before Gears of War existed at all. So before you accuse it of copying from Gears’ locust-carving lancer, shut up.

And that’s largely the whole of it, from what we’ve played so far. Bad guys stream in, you fire away with your gun and if they’re still standing by the time they get to you, you gut ‘em with the chainsword and blood flies everywhere. Still, there’s something to this simple, adrenalized strategy that’s appealing, and Space Marine is nothing if not capable. It gives the player a forum for sawing off orc heads, chewing through bodies with a heavy bolter and melta-bombing chaos marines. The game’s control scheme is a little weird and takes some getting used to, but the space marine himself is just a joy to control. He lumbers from place to place like a mobile tank, which is exactly what a space marine should feel like.

Our only concern is perhaps that the game may be missing the tone of the Space Marines a bit. The marketing trailers show them talking altruistically about saving a world like traditional American badass heroes would. That’s not really what the Space Marines were about. The world itself would have been merely a tactical point of interest in the war. They would have fought to their dying breath, but not for altruism. Rather, for the glory of the Imperium of Man. It’s a small quibble, but fans really want them to nail the feel of the series. But when the bullets start flying and the chainswords start revving, most players won’t care about that kind of stuff. They’ll be too busy focusing on the satisfying combat, which produces sprays of blood non-stop.

Even if it’s not the be-all-end-all of unique and innovative game design, Space Marine still simply seems like an absolute blast. It doesn’t look to be super polished so far, and it won’t be in the running for Game of the Year when December rolls around. But dammit, we’ll get to chainsaw some orcs and Chaos marines, and frankly, that’s more than enough for us. We’re looking forward to the final version of this action shooter when it releases in September.

Jun 14, 2011

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E3

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13 comments

  • Ipriest54753 - June 15, 2011 12:09 p.m.

    I think i Might just Be Obliged By law To play this...
  • Sevej - June 15, 2011 7:48 a.m.

    It's the Ultramarines, of course they're altruistic.
  • SkyNet - June 15, 2011 4:03 a.m.

    My favorite is when they completely ignored the fluff.
  • DKmanden999 - June 15, 2011 2:53 a.m.

    no surprise at the altruistic dialogue, relic has been sucking at W40K dialogue since dow 2.
  • Mortis - June 14, 2011 11:20 p.m.

    i'm just bummed that you have to play as a boring stick in the mud pragmatic Ultramarine...the most boring of all the Astartes chapters. i would have gone with the Space Wolves, by Russ! or even the Salamanders. other than that...game looks sweet.
  • Maverik770 - June 14, 2011 9:14 p.m.

    @RedOutlive10 You're a fool. Dawn of War 2 is NOT a reskinned version of CoH by a LONG shot. They are completely different RTS games. I own both and all fo their expansions and the original DoW with all of it's expansions. All 3 are great games including all of their expansions. Yes DoW 2 uses basically the same cover system that CoH did but that's about the only similarity between the 2 games. Did you really expect Relic to design an incredibly awesome game mechanic such as the cover system in CoH and then not use it in the future RTS games? I bet you're one of those damn DoW 1 purists that trolls about how much "DoW 2 sux because it's not identical to DoW 1". Get over it already. It's a different and imo, better game. I love DoW 1, CoH, DoW 2 and all of their expansions. They are all amazing RTS games. Relic has never made a bad game. You sir are just a hater because DoW 2 was not what you wanted it to be. Just cause you don't like the game does not make it a bad game by any means. Good day sir. ;) Oh and btw, SpaceMarine looks F'ing amazing! I can't wait!! :D
  • slimjim441 - June 14, 2011 9 p.m.

    People who think Space Marines is a Gears rip-off are almost as bad but just as stupid as people who think Metroid is a Halo rip-off. Or that they even compare. Space Marines are so badass (minus 'squats'), you can't even say, 'What if a Space Marine fought *blank*?' If it's not 40k, the Space Marine will win. Done. No questions. I am rather excited for this one if I do say so muhself. And uh... CHAINSWORDS!!!!!
  • RedOutlive10 - June 14, 2011 8:52 p.m.

    @Hank34 Yes. Dawn of War 2 was just Company of Heroes reskinned, plus anyone knew they would milk it with almost every single faction released as "expansions", fuck that.
  • RedHarlow - June 14, 2011 8:50 p.m.

    Warhammer 40k has been around since 1987. 40k created the huge space marines, "There is only war" mentality, and similar weapons found in Gears of War. Looks like a solid game.
  • jackthemenace - June 14, 2011 8:35 p.m.

    Hey, it looks like Gears of War with awesome Melee combat. What's not to like? Because, let's face it: The melee options in gears were very limited, and pretty shit. Yes, the lancer was bloody awesome, but c'mon; FUCKING CHAINSWORDS! As long as the melee combat feels fluid, instead of clunky like most FPS's melee combat does, then I'm looking forward to it.
  • Ninja-KiLLR - June 14, 2011 7:17 p.m.

    Really hoping this is going to be good but i doubt i will be able to play it at all when it releases
  • db1331 - June 14, 2011 7:12 p.m.

    More like Gears of Warhammer.
  • thelostmc - June 14, 2011 6:38 p.m.

    WHY DOES IT LOOK LIKE GEARS LOL EVRYONE KNO THAT CHAINSAW WAS IN GEARZ FIIIRST!!! Just kiddin', I can't wait till it comes out

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