Wednesday, September 7, 2011

[Rogue Trader] Space Marine the review

What, you hadn't noticed this game was coming out?  You live in a cave with no internet access?

I've really enjoyed the Dawn of War series of games and even a few of the others like Fire Warrior and Squad Command so when I saw this one was being offered I couldn't resist.  A quick trip to Steam and a preorder had me playing the two demo levels and eagerly awaiting the full game to unlock.  Was I happy with it?  Just click below to find out.

And in case you don't like suspense, or have a weak heart, yes I liked it.  My painting table will sadly gather dust for a while.

Sure, I'm nowhere near completing it, it only came out about 24 hours ago as of writing this.  But that was enough to put a couple of evenings in and let people know what it is like.

The Campaign
I'm enjoying it, but the cheese is thick on this one.  You start by jumping out a thunderhawk wearing a jump pack and armed with just a knife and bolt pistol.  Guess the Ultramarines ran out of power swords for their captains.  After completing the first part you end up discussing whether the whole jump pack decent thing was really codex approved.  Odd seeing as I'm not sure your lack of armament is either.  Oh and Space Marines have super hair.  Descending at a great speed you thud to the ground and not a hair moves on your head.  Yes you are that awesome that even you hair cannot be ruffled.

OK I realize the crappy weapons are part of the game progression where I unlock cooler things (Oh, shiny, now I have a Bolt Gun) but couldn't they have just had the lead character be a sergeant?  At least then the equipment would fit a bit better.  Otherwise, it has been fun so far.  Firing the heavy bolter was cool.  Realizing I could break it off its mount and walk around with it was cooler.  The guardsmen are well done, and the orks are spot on.  The new weapon (whats the bet it shows up in 6th edition), the vengeance grenade launcher (actually they are mines) is cool, as is the sergeant Telion favorite the Stalker Pattern Bolt Gun.

The Multiplayer
I did OK on day 1.  Day 2 and I've ended up in games where the total of all the levels on my side is less than the level of 1 person on the other side.  A bit of balancing would be nice.  There are only two game types for the multiplayer, Annihilation and Seize Ground.  Really, no CTF? no King of the Hill?  There are also only a fairly limited range of maps and some seem to show up more than others.  Hopefully they'll add more later.  The game play is fun and helped by quick respawns and short journey times.  You start as a tactical marine but shortly unlock devastator and then assault.  Each is well differentiated so you can decide which fits your game play.  Not only are you leveling up, you are working towards a metric assload of unlocks by completing Challenges.  Win 5 times as Marines, unlock X.  Get 50 kills with the bolt pistol, unlock Y.  Fart in surprise when a havoc drops in front of you and you manage to somehow kill him by shooting him in the face, unlock Z.

The other part of the mutliplayer I was eagerly looking forward to is the customization.  They make you wait until level 4 to get this, but it is nicely done.  They have a good selection of premade chapters, and a nicely detailed builder to make your own.  And yes, it is awesome that all the color choices are based on citadel paints.  The only downer is no ability to upload your own chapter badge.  I guess if they had though we'd have penis marines running around by now which would be stupid.  Maybe they'll add other badges later as DLC?  The customizer also lets you configure weapon load outs and armor appearance.  Lots of cool looking armor from Mk4 to Mk8 with lots of alternates in there too.  Pity most is locked until I can figure out how to fart on demand and get the bonus there.

I'm enjoying it and would definitely recommend it.  The marines feel like marines, and the combat is cinematic and cool.  Only their complete lack of ability in climbing any wall over about 3 feet tall brings you back to 'reality'.  I'll certainly be working my way through the campaign based on the promise it has shown so far.  The multiplayer I'm also enjoying, but that may well wear off if they don't add some more maps and a bit of balancing.  Only so many times some dude with a las cannon can snipe you from halfway across the map before it gets annoying.

Addendum:  Graphics 
I'm adding this later as its been bugging me.  Maybe its a console/PC thing but that graphics on this game, at least from a PC players perspective, leave a lot to be desired.  I was surprised as to how little choice was offered on graphics options, I set everything to high and left it at that.  While you are in the middle of some action the game does look reasonable, the character models show a decent amount of detail, and the scenery is suitable epic.  Thing is, when you stop and look at the details they are flat with limited texturing and a huge lack of detail in some distant views.  Basically it looks like a game that came out 5 years ago, which probably makes sense.  I'd guess they didn't want to spend too much extra time and money on what it could look like on a PC compared to the now relatively ancient Xbox 360 and PS3.  I don't own either a 360 or PS3 so maybe the graphics look just peachy there.  As a PC player though, got to say I'm disappointed in the lack of detail in the visuals.

Who else out there is playing it, and what do you think?



  1. I played through the demo levels on my PS3 and despite liking the general look and aura of the settings I wasn't actually overly impressed. yes, it is easy to get a hobby hard on and be all "WOAH LOOK AT MY SPAZ MARINEZ GORE CREATING MONSTER HACKERS!" and whilst that was an initial reaction of mine I don't think it has the substance to be able to hold me.

    I'm not saying there's not fun to be had, but it's not going to make me part with my money for the "privelage".

    On teh face of things though, it suffers from similar flaws to Fire Warrior, most of which you have already commented upon. Importantly for someone as anal as me, the protagonists are really not arranged according to the background laid down in the Space Marine Codeces...

    However, I do LOVE the look of the overall settings. Even in the demo I found myself spending as much time looking around in awe as I did cutting down Orks!

  2. *hates Australian release dates*

  3. Gameplay is ok, but a little too frenetic for me. The atmosphere is that sells it for me. If it wasn't a 40k game I wouldn't buy/play it.

    Now, can someone please re-do the "Ultramarines" movie in that graphics engine?!

  4. I am loving the game. I have also trademarked the phrase "G*D D*MN SQUIG BOMBS!" at my house. It is beautifully done. I spent 5 mins looking a the Adeptus Mechanius symbol on the wall. The detail is amazing. Just the size of everything makes it feel like you are in a world and not just a small linear path. When you look out and see the Titan the first time I was like Eh. Titan. Then you get closer and realize it is HUGE. Standing next to Guardsman you look 7 feet tall next to them. And the best part is Gretchin run away and start whispering when they are about to "ambush" you.

  5. The campaign was very cool but had a pretty lackluster conclusion (and a weak-sauce boss). I'm eager for more and hoping this is a good jumping off point for a sequel, tweaking little things along the way (ala Assassin's Creed).

    Multiplayer is such a grind in the upper thirties, with big XP bonuses only awarded for big feats (like killing one thousand enemies, etc.) I love it though, and the armor upgrades are cool.

    Next month a new multiplayer option is released called exterminatus; you and three other marines versus waves and waves of aliens.