Well after some UK Mail order shenanigans failing to let us Buy a Steam copy and my mail order company missing launch date by a week I ended up canceling my “pre-order” and buying a digital game code then installing it via steam anyway. Whatever backward fool company thought it was clever keeping a Steam required game off Steam for UK needs a kick in the head.

I’ll preface this review with the disclaimer that I am a huge Warhammer/40K fan and am perhaps slightly biased.

“So what’s it like Frosty?”

Funny you should ask….I thought I’d tell you below.

Relic have a good history of getting Warhammer 40k, with their Dawn of War series they proved they understand their license material and have the talent to produce quality. Space Marine is in good hands, the environments are grand in scale and suitably gothic not to mention war-torn. Perhaps the colour palette is a little brown but given the entire game takes place on an industrial world dedicated to factories it probably polluted the atmosphere and killed any plant life a long time ago, so is forgivable.

Not much is mentioned about Space Marine background during the game so you either already know what they are or hopefully, are suitably impressed enough to find out for yourself. As Captain Titus of the Ultramarines you charge about the levels with some hefty weight to your movement and the often grateful guardsmen add to the feeling or superiority quite well.

For a game that boasts no cover system “because space marines wear armour that is actually better than most cover” doesn’t work as well as they let on. It is the very fact you are surrounded by enemies that makes a cover system useful, it’s all well and good charging into combat to slaughter all those orks in melee but while you are busy being a hero those orks way off in the distance get free shots at you with rokkit launchers capable of reducing you from hero to zero in a couple of hits.

Add insult to that by letting you take damage during an execute animation which you are required to do to heal up and you realise what this game really needs is a cover system, or more health……or the ability to parry with your melee weapon. Strangely, for the most part, despite that being my main frustration, the game doesn’t feel too difficult. While you may end up replaying a section a few times you usually end up progressing and before you know it you’re back to full health and have no idea why you had trouble in the first place.

The switching between ranged and melee combat it smooth and jumping about from sync kill to sync kill is relatively easy once you learn the fairly basic melee weapon combos. The enemies mostly consist of guys you can take your time killing by the masses and guys who are a priority or you’ll die in the blink of an eye. Orks really shouldn’t be as accurate as they are in this game but its a minor niggle for the sake of challenge I suppose.

There is a decent selection of melee and ranged weapons to choose from, you are limited to a pistol and three other guns while only carrying one melee weapon. All of the guns feel nice and with the exception of the melta gun, are lore accurate. The vengeance launcher is Relics own invention but is essentially a grenade launcher that can fire up to five sticky grenades and then detonate them in sequence. The melta gun acts more like a shotgun with a wide but short-range spread as opposed to its actual short-range focused microwave beam cooker but unless you are super nerdy like me you probably won’t care. It’s a shame they didn’t include a power fist it would have been cool to punch some faces with it, although there is a thunder hammer, so perhaps the slow to use, massive damage melee weapon slot was already covered.

As you play through the game you encounter a few alternative styles of play but they are very brief and sadly lacking. There are three times when you get access to a jump pack to fly about stomping heads from above but unfortunately they don’t last long and then there is a single trip on a Valkyrie(Imperial Guard transport aircraft) where you get to man the heavy bolter and shoot Ork Stormboyz (flying orks) out the side door as you travel along. Again its fun but is fairly brief and leaves you sad its over.

The storyline is pretty good, definitely fits into the 40K universe and has an interesting twist at the end. Some people have criticised the number of cut scenes during the game but I didn’t really notice it, they are always using the in-game engine and usually just after a big fight so I just accepted it as a breather between smashing ork skulls.

The multiplayer, admittedly I’m not the best judge is a little simple in scope. I suck at it, which no doubt impacts my viewpoint but it is fast and action orientated with little room for mistakes or slow reaction times. The ability to customise one of three classes with unlockable equipment and armour types is very cool and add to that the option to paint your space marine or chaos marine in your own colours or choose from a selection of lore based chapters is very nice.

There is a free dlc, co-op game mode due out for multiplayer soon, a team based arena survival game. Much more my style of online play and from what I understand most of the competitive multiplayer progression will also be possible via co-op which is nice.

The game campaign isn’t very long, I finished it in about 8 hours and that includes trying to find every servo skull collectible in the levels (I still missed about 5 unfortunately). Perhaps that is a good thing, by the time I was finished I was still enjoying it but if it had gone on longer I probably would have needed some additional locations and enemies to stop the combat getting stale. The cliff hanger ending suggests a sequel with some more meat to the story and given how much fun I had playing this one I’m looking forward to it.