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Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine

It’s almost a year since the first footage of Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine escaped Relic’s offices, but what a difference twelve months can make. Originally pitched as a melée-heavy Gears of War with a speed boost (ranged weapons subdue enemies but you need to get close and trigger one of the ‘cinemaction executions’ to finish ‘em off) it’s now an action RPG with hand-to-hand combat.

If you’re unfamiliar with Games Workshop’s futuristic world it’ll take tomes of information to fill in all the details, so here’s our sixty-nine word slapdash version. Deep breath. In the future, galactic battles are waged between varying factions of good and evil: Humanity, Chaos, Orkoids, Eldar, Tau, Tyranids and Necrons. In Relic’s game you play as a Space Marine of a faction of your choosing (Ultramarine’s the default but you’ll likely have the main nine to pick from) and battle swarms of Orks, bio-engineered insectoid Tyranids and the evil Chaos armies in a fight to save humankind. Got all that? Good.

The three other space marines who fight alongside you are currently AI-powered, but online co-op is planned. If Relic is successful, their RPG-lite Space Marine effort will fill the four-player vacuum that Silicon Knights infamously failed to deliver with Too Human. There’s less focus on rare drops and swathes of enemies here though: each kill is delivered through a careful combination of face-button melée attacks and shoulder-button ranged hits, giving the humanoid bruisers a slight Devil May Cry quality (but only slight – crazy acrobatics are off the menu). With a jetpack strapped to your back you’ll even be able to hurtle around levels and clatter into groups of Orks to knock them flying.

Underneath this action lives a system of leveling up, gear upgrades and ability modification. The main focus may lie in beheading and disemboweling Orks with fisticuffs, but Space Marine is proud of its stat-crunching underbelly which brings more thought into the button-mulching action. Ready for war sometime in early 2010, this could be one to watch. No, really! Nobody knows how to make Warhammer games quite like Relic Entertainment, but the lack of experience outside PC RTS games – middling launch game The Outfit notwithstanding – is, we’ll admit, a tiny bit worrying.

Jul 16, 2009

15 comments

  • Battman17 - August 17, 2009 1:11 a.m.

    @walrusthewill: If you were playing as an assault squad or something then leveling up would consist of better weapons. I'm wanting to play as a Vanguard Squad.
  • tebbs - July 28, 2009 8:58 p.m.

    all-sorry for being such a nerdy know it all, but i am looking forwards to this game hugely. should be amazing if they get it right, as anyone who has played Dawn of War 2 would know, as this system was used there, a bit badly but hopefully relic have learnt from their mistakes-they did in their other games.
  • tebbs - July 28, 2009 8:50 p.m.

    candyman-when they say faction they mean one of the main 9 chapters of the first founding-space wolves, ultramarines, dark angels, blood angels, imperial fists etc. i would assume by what is written. infected123-of course their is going to be ranged combat, that is why a standard tactical marine and devastator are shown with two combat guys. best of both worlds.
  • McDoobie - July 18, 2009 5:01 p.m.

    This game looks gayer than boy george and got rock, your kinda creepin me out like trekkies do.
  • walrusthewill - July 17, 2009 7:42 p.m.

    @infected 123 i understand that but if you want to make it an RPG, little extras arent going to cut it. The whole point of the space marines is to have a more unified, effective taskforce, to be the opposites of the imperial guard. they make up for their de unification and un standerdization, so space marines dont change very much from tactical trooper to tactical trooper, and the experiance part is a good point, i actually hope that you start the game as an imperial guardsmen, and work your way up to mabey even chapter master.
  • infected123 - July 17, 2009 6:25 p.m.

    i hope you have the option to play more at a distance as nids orks and chaos are like the three most close combat armies. walrus the will i kind of agree about the whole how do u lvl up thing but for different reasons. they can have equipment and stuff like iron halos and purity seals but why would their skill increase they are often a couple hundred years old their not gonna have any significant change in skill over a battle or two. candyman the Blood Ravens, Imperial Fists e.t.c are not companys but chapters. their are ten companys per chapter. as long as you get to use a reasonable amount of ranged combat as well as close range it looks awesome! hope theirs a coop mode where you hold out against waves of nids nazi zombie style.
  • JosefRaikov - July 17, 2009 6:16 p.m.

    Glory to the Emperor!
  • walrusthewill - July 17, 2009 3:02 p.m.

    where in the hell is the WARHAMMER 40k mmo that was in development in, like, 08. Now that would be something awesome, but mabey they were scared away by what happened to WAR, its a shame what happened. This game looks like dynasty warriors in space for christs sake, and how are you going to level up, leveling up means that you will have development, but how are you going to develop if your a space marine? they all basically look the same until your at the very top of the chapters ranks or if your an apocathary of a tech priest. Not looking promising.
  • shockolate - July 17, 2009 1:23 a.m.

    kinda skeptical about the "leveling up" though
  • shockolate - July 17, 2009 1:22 a.m.

    sounds sick, always like the 40K universe
  • tebbs - July 28, 2009 8:56 p.m.

    infected123-they arent going to get better on the whole, but they would learn which style of combat the enemy prefers and can better adapt and get better specialised equipment, like a rosarius, crozius arcanum, relic blade etc etc etc. the chapters all have lots of specific weapons with extra upgrades, so the level up and weapon upgrade system could work really well, if they do it right. walrus the will-you are thinking of scouts. however, as infected said, it is a several hundred year process to become chapter master, if the marine manages to outlive the current master and be high enough to replace him. not one games worth of work there, but many series worth.
  • Ninja-KiLLR - July 21, 2009 2:49 p.m.

    i hope this turns out good the warhammer universe is one of my favs
  • Gotxxrock - July 18, 2009 2:53 p.m.

    REDEEM THEIR SOULS WITH SONG AND FIRE!! FOR THE EMPEROR!!
  • Apocolypse - July 18, 2009 6 a.m.

    Imperail guard do not become space marines. They are 2 different armys
  • candyman - July 17, 2009 1:16 p.m.

    When you say that you join a faction, do you mean that you can join one of the other factions (T'au, Eldar, etc.) Or one of the Companies (Blood Ravens, Imperial Fists)?

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