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Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine

Knife and Ork.

The life of a Space Marine is not an easy one. Setting aside blood-soaked galaxy-spanning conflict and the fact that simply writing down the date in the year 40,000 is a bit of a faff, just look at that one-ton outfit they're clad in.

Doors are going to be a problem with that on. A trip through the living room of the average suburban home is going to turn into baggy-pants pratfall comedy. The prospect of just getting dressed in the morning must be utterly dispiriting. Darling, have you seen my half-ton ceramic breastplate with the flaming angel's skull picked out in Platinum? And my iPhone charger?

At least one thing is pretty straightforward: the day job. As humanity's last hope in a cold, hard universe filled with a half-dozen alien races gunning to put a size-15 boot through the last of the genome, clocking in as a Space Marine guarantees you a streamlined workflow composed of hacking people to pieces and then shooting up their corpses a bit to make sure they're dead. And the odd wash-up PowerPoint session afterwards, obviously. Just to make sure we're all still in the loop.

Relic truly understands the simple pleasures of the Space Marine's lot, by the looks of it, and it's put the alien splatter front and centre in its new third-person actioner. With the Orks moving in on a crucial Titan-producing Forge World – that's a factory planet that makes really big killing machines – you're there to hold them off long enough for an Imperial fleet to turn up and give them an almighty shoeing.

Chainsaws and hulking shoulder pads suggest thefts from Gears of War (and Dallas!), but that's only because Epic got its pillaging in first.

Luckily, a single Space Marine is worth 1000 Orks, according to the fiction (that's in old money, and explains why popping out to the shops for Pocky and a toffee apple is such a bad idea in the year 40,000. So while the whole event is probably a bit of a suicide mission, it's one where you'll get to take quite a lot of the enemy with you on the way out.

If you want to get a good understanding of the kind of game Relic's dreaming up, all you need to do is ponder its approach to two elements: snap-to cover systems and RPG upgrading. Both, while originally part of the plan, have been more or less removed: the cover because it broke up the action too much and didn't make sense in a world where the walls would be significantly flimsier than your own body armour, and the RPG stuff because the carnage-first approach to action didn't really need much in the need of finessing.

Both have left lingering traces, but even that is emblematic of the slaughterous gameplay you can expect: your enemies can still use cover ( you can bust through it with a smart shoulder charge) and your guns gain experience as you use them, leading to persistent unlocks like smarter designs and explosive secondary fire treats. Cowering behind rocks and sifting through tech trees, though? Not these Space Marines.

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About the Author
Christian Donlan avatar

Christian Donlan

Features Editor

Christian Donlan is a features editor for Eurogamer. He is the author of The Unmapped Mind, published as The Inward Empire in the US.

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