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W40K: Space Marine — Facts, Facts, Facts

come with usThe world of Warhammer 40.000 was made up of incredibly hard, cold and factual elements. Creators of Space Marine got this well, and they spiced the stuff with the marine heroism you can see on numberless pictures painted for the tabletop game. The result is among those very few games to which I tend to give maximal droidscore. Maybe, till now there was no such game in GD’s history.

WH40K setting is extremely gothic, cosmic and apocalyptic, desperately dark, fantastic and hopeless in the same time, so in short: it’s not simple. Sometimes it called dystopian science fantasy, and this shows well that it’s not classifiable, so a distinct category was made.

The name is telling: We are in the 41st millennium, when humans already populated the galaxy. During doing this it met some things, for example the Ork race spreading like a plague, or the Eldars living on their so-called Craftworlds after they left their home planets which (literally) became the embodiment of the race’s most chaotic nightmare. Anyway, they are not the real problem here, but the warping forces of Chaos and the swarm-like Tyranids are. There are other races too, and every one of them would fill a whole book, so I stick to the basics here.

campAs in countless other settings, human is the average race here. They have high level technology but only some weaker psi abilities, and in spite of maintaining a strict order they always lie under the lure of Chaos. The Emperor’s Children Legion is a fine example here: They was so addicted to the sensations of battle and victory that they fell to Slaanesh, the Chaos god of perverse pleasures. Humankind is a so-called “collector-race” by every means: It mixes Orkish ferocity, Eldar technology and the unpredictability of Chaos.

Orks are green-skinned, violent neo-barbarians. They live by wolfish laws and believe war can solve every problem. Although they are in constant war with other races, there are frequent skirmishes even between the allied clans, be it a simple bar brawl, a battle for an area or even a holy war. They practically have no fear of death, and we can hear about artfully wrought ork solutions only once in ten thousand years.

orkzEldars are more or less like elves in this world. They are mysterious, ancient, highly advanced and mostly standing off of every other race. They are so advanced that they threw out the baby with the bath water, and they have more specialists in their armies than grunts. Of course, I exaggerated it a little, but their armies mainly consist of specialist units, and other races have a higher rate of general purpose force.

There is a big problem with the forces of Chaos: They are unavoidable. On one hand, hyperspace basically is a passageway between our world and the empires of Chaos, and on the other hand psi abilities take energy out of the hyperspace, so Chaos gets a lot of opportunities to infiltrate and infest human minds. Because its nature is deceit, corruption and the annexation by these two methods, it uses all opportunities by nature. What’s more, it has not just high power (obviously, servants of Chaos can use psi energies without being threatened by the corruption of Chaos), but a part of its armies is stronger than other races by physical or magical means, others can aim at the emotions, and others again have enough time and craft to scheme their plans of deceit through centuries.

InquisitorTyranids are a relatively “new” race which is so alien than every try to communicate with them was automatically failed. They are bug-like, constantly mutating and evolving beings that partly destroy every reached planet, partly shape them to their own form. They came from another universe, and because of their alien characteristics even Chaos cannot annex them.

We can already see from these races that in the WH40K games not just planets or folks but, literally speaking, whole worlds are in war. And this grandiose axiom determines everything; While the races are not able to conquer each other, we can speak about only a linear warfare, in which there are no victors but just necessary alliances and inevitable enmity. Everyone is a loser, and the fight is beyond hope; each action is good for only stonewalling while it’s harder and harder to stop the Chaos and Tyranid hordes. The humanoid slice of the world of WH40K is dieing and stagnating, it is judged to fall beyond hope.

WH40K started its carrier in 1987 as a tabletop strategy game, but we waited only a little to get it on the computer screens. Even in the early 90s we had Space Hulk, and in the end of that decade we got Chaos Gate and Rites of War. In the 2000s the now-essential RTS, Dawn of War came with a heap of expansions, and the second episode was born only a few years later. There was a Fire Warrior FPS which is simply not worth to mention, but we had to wait ’til 2011 for the action that can be regarded as a real, overwhelming and absolutely loyal adaptation. In September Space Marine was released, and the angels of war started to sing an anthem.

warboss againEven the trailers gave me the creeps, then I could hardly wait until the release date. The so-criticized 7 hours of gameplay was almost three times longer for me, because I was compelled to enjoy every minute. And because I’m too lame in action flicks, but as it turns out below, it doesn’t really matter so much.

The game starts with an intro showing the situation and the characters. Orks attacked a Forgeworld, and the Ultramarines arrived to spank them. Of course, the story goes a little deeper, but it is relatively average and is not the greatest virtue of the game.

During the battles three Ultras, chiefly Captain Titus is in the focus of our attention. His two companions give only escort and some help – the veteran sergeant carries out the orders almost without a word while the rookie just came from the academy always raps about the rules: Codex here, Codex there. Titus just shows some “I’m doing my work” mentality and literally butchers every little greenskins that is so unlucky to get before him.

Demons comingHe grabs his stuff and methodically gives offerings on the altar of violence, he is producing incredible kill/minute rates as if he wants to compete with Rambo himself. Because the Orks are loyal to their fame and coming in hordes without fear. They try to compensate their physical and technological disadvantages by their great numbers.

There is no character development. You are a captain, asshole, not a recruit! You can’t develop any further, but you can choose your weapons, and as a player you have to use your brain. The game belongs to the hack’n’slash genre, but it is utterly important to see through the battlefield, analyze the situation and get the right position and the right weapons. Of course, a space marine is a living weapon in himself, but sometimes it is good to have a Melta Gun or a Lascannon in hand.

If you die, after reloading the saved game don’t rush headlong to the enemy. If you die, you just screwed something up. Badly. Because Titus is strong enough, his weapons are deadly enough, so there is no flaw in the tools of victory, and everything depends on the player. Even the life force of the last breath is enough to be victorious, and because of this every fall means that you fell, dear player, and not Captain Titus of the Ultramarines.

hammertimeLet’s speak about this a little more. In the title I suggest that the whole game is very factual. Combat is like that too, If you have to reload a situation, then stop for a moment and think over what you experienced. Analyze the situation. Where did they come from, what was their number and in what composition of units did they come? What weapons can get you through most effectively?

I intended not to write “With what can you win?” You don’t win. It’s not about who the fattest cat is. At every time there is a goal, and the hordes of enemy are barriers between you and your goal. Barriers, which you have to cut through, smash down or bypass. In the WH40K setting a space marine never plays for victory, he sees only the completion of his tasks – and you can really feel it real after a few thousand opponents, with arms aching from the weight of the weapons.

But you step forward and smite again with your Thundering Hammer, you evade the armor-crushing smashes of the Ork Nobz while continuously moving you try to be a hard target for the Stormboyz. That twenty Gretchins at the next corner are good only for letting the steam off by some footwork after a fight of life and death. They give you time to breath deeply before it turns out that the Chaos slowly finds its way to you, and through its servants and demons you get to the monster that conceived the whole plan.

pure chaosDuring the way you can get to know the last memories of the Forgeworld’s inhabitants in the form of voice recordings. In these the moments of the Ork siege come alive, they are the last cries of hopelessness which proves that even a simple, common factory worker can be a hero by his own means.

Space Marine is a kind of a game that doesn’t rise addiction but gives undying experience. Even now, writing this article months after, I don’t feel any need for playing with it, but the images from tha game are constantly, endlessly and unstoppably whirling before my eyes. And those are not only the images of the single player mode, but pictures about epic multiplayer battles I fought against or on the side of Chaos.

I cannot let it out that there are some unwanted Hungarian reference at the end of the game. There was a guy named Dugovics, who grabbed and whirled his Turkish opponent from the walls of a castle. His name was Titus…

Garcius—

space_marine_boxTitle: Warhammer 40K: Space Marine
Publisher: THQ
Developer: Relic Entertainment
Homepage: http://www.spacemarine.com/
Style: TPS, hack’n’slash, shooter, tactical

What I liked:
generally everything

What I didn’t like:
meaninglessly tiny things

5_5

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