E3: Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine hands on

My interest in Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine is well known. I love me some Games Workshop silliness, and I love big, meaty action games. A merger of the two can only be a good thing, right?

It’s certainly looking good!

 

My hands-on time with Space Marine had me coming away with a very positive feeling. The flow between shooting and slashing really is fluid, as you can instantly switch between gunfire and melee weaponry without any delay in the action. Blast away with a Bolter, run into the action with a huge shoulder charge, grab an Ork and chainsaw it in the guts. One can’t say fairer than that!

The game does a great job of making the player feel like a superpowered transhuman. The screen shakes as you run, with your power armor thundering on the ground. Attacks are heavy and hit damn hard, and the execution animations are thoroughly brutal. This is a beefy game for people who want to drink the blood of bears and wipe out anything that isn’t human with a hearty, manly laugh. 

The demo had a range of weapons, from surprisingly effective sniper rifles to the disappointingly ineffective Melta Cannon, which is not half as powerful as its name implies. Standard Bolters and Bolt Pistols are satisfying to use though, and are great for thinning the herd before switching into melee mode. 

Although you’re a superpowered marine who eschews cover and hacks Orks to pieces in seconds, the game is not a cakewalk. Chaos Space Marines and their aggressive Bloodletter demons are pretty tough opponents, and you’ll need to quickly identify powerful ranged opponents and take them out before wading into the fight. These battles in particular are fittingly chaotic and it is very easy to get lost in the unwavering carnage.

I had a blast playing the game, and was thrilled to see the seamless blend of ranged and personal combat pulled off with style and efficiency. Space Marine looks like it’ll be a terrific experience for fans of the series and a crazed carnival of carvery and chaos for all involved. At the very least, it’s a solid dose of antisocial fun, and you can’t really ask for more.

Jim Sterling