Warhammer 40.000: Space Marine (Or Spesh mareen, for Orks)
For PC, Xbox 360, PS3
I'm quite a fan of the Warhammer 40.000 universe (And Warhammer) playing an Eldar army, and a Tyranids army too. I also have all the Dawn of war 2's episodes (DoW2, DoW2 Chaos rising, and DoW2 Retribution) and even if i'm not really a Space-marine (The "race") lover, i was waiting for Space marine (The game).
I was not expecting anything from it though. No gaming-revolution or anything (Unlike Guild wars 2) and the demo confirmed what i thought. It may sound like the game is bad, the way i say it, but no. It's a decent game.
You play as Captain Titus, a Space marine sent to help a Forge world being attacked by Orks. And as a Space marine, subtility is not part of your training.
The whole game is a blood fest, and a symphony of brutality, so don't expect any puzzles, or anything like that. It would be more suited for an Eldar, Imperial Guards, or Inquisitor protagonist.
You will kill dozens of Orks in the first minute of your play, and so will you in the second, third... and the rest of the game (Almost). It may sound repetitive, and sometime it is, but there is different types of Orks (Gretchins, Boyz, Nobz, etc...) and even Chaos Spaces marines and Demons later on, so you will have to adapt, use different weapons, even some sort of strategy.
Enemies can be more dangerous than you think they are. It's easy to kill Orks, so you will probably run into the mass and try to cut them piece after piece. But if the said mass is too big, you will get a lot of hits, and probably be badly wounded, or die from it. Plus, if you are unprepared you may end up being charged by a Nobz, which is like being a poodle charged by a tank. So you will have to think a little actually, and use your weapons wisely.
There is quite a good amount of weapons which help you more or less against some types of enemies. While your basic weapon is a Bolt pistol and a Bolter. You will find a Vengeance launcher, great for crowd "control", and a Stalker bolter, a quick sniper rifle. later on you will find even bigger weapon (Lascanon, woohoo), with some of them being upgrades for your Bolt pistol (Plasma pistol) or Bolter (Kraken bolt)
You will also find Melee weapons. You start with a simple knife, then go for a Chainsword, a Power axe, and finally the mighty Thunder hammer (But no Claws dammit). While the Chainsword is the fastest, the Thunder hammer is the strongest (But you can only use Bolter and Pistol when equipping it). All of them are useful and somewhat balanced (Except the knife). So it depend mostly on your play style.
Soon you will find different way to have fun with your poor targets. Like simply running through gretchins without even attacking... but still killing them (Hell, you are a Space marine, which mean around 300kg of muscles and armor. You are the tank, they are poodles this time) or charging into one of them to see him explode in a mist of blood... literally.
The story is quite basic, a big enemy is attacking a key defenseless target (Because key targets are often defenseless, everyone know that), you go to save it and end up in deep sh*t because an unsuspected foe appear. But you will have no idea of how the game will really end before at least the 3/4 of the game. Which is probably a set up for a "Space marine 2".
There is also Audiologs, which add a little extra to the story, and are not that hard to find. Good addition.
The Warhammer 40.000 universe is pretty much respected. The Space marines armors are nice, the Heayv bolter sound like what a Heavy bolter should sound like. And the Orks dies as expected.
The Imperial guards looks quite useless though (Use a Bandeblade dammit, or at least some Leman Russ), pretty much because the game want you to kill orks, not the NPCs... But still.
Your Space marines AI-friends are also useless, for the same reason. But they are still more powerful than the Imperial guards.
There is some little features which make the game more interesting, like the executions, which give you health in a nice explosion of blood. The duels against big enemies (Nobz, chaos space marines) even if it's only about typing fast your left mouse button. Or the fury, which make you stronger, regenerate health, and give you slow-mo when using ranged weapons.
In the end, the Singleplayer campaign is good. When you will start to get really used to the Orks (And somewhat bored) the Chaos space marines will pop up and show you how they can rise the difficulty while fighting less enemies at the same time.
But i can't say the same thing for the Multiplayer.
While the Singleplayer is decent+, the Multiplayer is decent-.
It's not all bad, you are still a Space marine (Or a Chaos Space marine) so you still feel powerful. You can play as a Tactical space marine (Chaos Space marine), Devastator (Havoc) or Assault (Raptor) each of those class have different way to play.
The Devastator is the big strong guy, spraying bullets into bodies, and stomping the ground to stun peoples around him badly, and look like a bad ass.
The Assault is the quick, and agile melee guy, dropping from the sky with his Jet pack on the enemy, killing him quickly, before flying away as fast.
And the Tactical space marine have a little of both of those: Agile, but no jet-pack. nice weaponry, but no heavy weaponry.
All of them are fun to play, and are quite balanced.
You can customize the look and the equipment of your character. All the armor parts and weapons are unlocked through some sort of little achievements, or by leveling up.
The customization, while not as great as APB was, is nice. You can customize your Space marine the way you want, changing most parts of the armor independently (helmet, Left Shoulder, Right Shoulder, backpack, left leg, etc...) and edit the colors.
For a Warhammer 40.000 game, customization have to be important. And they did it right.
There is only 4 maps, and 2 game modes. Territory, where you have to control areas which will give your team points. And a Team deathmatch game mode.
It's really too low. Even more since the maps are really small. Most of the time it's 3 rooms, and 3 way to and from each of this rooms. In 2 hours you have pretty much see everything.
But the worst of the multiplayer don't come from the little amount of game modes and maps (They probably thought that unlocks will keep us playing 4 maps over and over?). No. The worst is... the lack of dedicated servers.
I usually don't care that much about games being ports from consoles. If at least the game as the basic features for PCs... Like a way to have dedicated server, and a server browser. It almost existed since video games have been online dammit. It's not that hard to do it... It's like they port to PC without putting mouse and keyboard controls...
That's pretty much why i don't play the multiplayer anymore: Lag fest are not fun.
Also... Microphones are permanently on. And there is no way to turn it off in-game. You can only mute peoples... Another console ports stupidity... Annoying, but not as much as no dedicated servers.
Though, we may have a Last stand-like game mode later, and co-op. So maybe i'll go back to the Multiplayer when they will be out... But not for now.
So, in the end: If you want some decent and simple singleplayer action, with lot of explosions, and destruction... you may like this game (And if you like the 40.000 universe, you will like it). Though you can probably wait for it to be a little cheaper.
If you want a strong multiplayer experience... Pass... For now. And hope for the best later...
Next time: Red Orchestra 2 (I'm already playing the beta, but i won't judge a beta.) and Dead island (Installed on the Europe day 1 release, so wait a little.)
I can only say that both of them are fun.