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Not another Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine preview!

11:15 AM on 08.16.2011 // Jim Sterling
  @JimSterling

Both the single-player and multiplayer of Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine has been previewed multiple times. We're less than a month away from release and THQ wants another! I've been playing a preview build of the game this past week, and even though I'm really into it ... I don't know what else to say. 

At this rate, the final review is simply going to be, "Guh? Buh!" Admittedly, some will say such a review is an improvement to my usual writing style. 

With so much already said, and such little time before the review, this article exists in limbo -- a nothing-world where I'm duty-bound to write about the game, but I have nothing I can say at this time. I think it's time for a quick and lazy bulleted list!

THINGS THAT ARE AWESOME:

  • Space Marine Meatiness: The game does a great job of making you feel like a genetically engineered super soldier. Regular humans are tiny in comparison, and constantly look up to you, cheering for your arrival. Every time you stumble upon am embattled squad of Imperial Guard, you really feel like a hero who's arrived in the nick on time.
  • Ranged/Melee Attack Fluidity: Automatically switching between guns and melee weaponry is as simple as pressing two alternate buttons. The triggers are for shooting, the face buttons are for hack n' slashing, and both methods work pretty well. Neither side is really nerfed, either. You'll need to use both bullets and chainswords in order to deal with enemies, usually requiring the gun to thin the herd before the survivors surround you. 
  • Jump Packs: These are, to be blunt, freakin' awesome. I was expecting them to be quite sloppily implemented, but they work really well. You press a button to boost into the air, then a target reticule appears on the ground. If you hit the melee button, you'll whizz down toward the target and deal huge damage to anything caught in the impact zone. It's incredibly fun, and very tightly controlled. 

THINGS THAT NEED WORK:

  • Movement Controls: Strangely, the gimmicky jump packs control really well, but general movement isn't so hot. Captain Titus is rather hard to steer left and right, and I noticed he had a tendency to clip on bits of scenery. It's nothing that makes the game unbearable, but it can be annoying. 
  • Rocket Launchers: It took less than twenty minutes to determine that rocket launchers are the worst. Be it Orks or Chaos Marines, anything that explodes will deal huge damage to Titus, and things that explode are everywhere. Missile troops are great shots, too, so they'll nearly always hit their target if you're in range. They're everywhere, too. It's hard to feel like a badass when you're afraid of charging into combat before of all the rockets. 
  • Camera Shake: The camera shakes when the player sprints. While it's a cool effect in limited doses, having it happen every time makes for some headache-inducing visuals. I can see it getting quite annoying over the course of a full game. 

These are a few quick mental notes I took away from the preview build. Right now, it's looking like a very solid game, albeit one with a few issues. We will have a full review coming in the near future (probably!) and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the full experience holds up.


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Jim Sterling, Former Reviews Editor
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