Tags: PC, Space Marine
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Wow. It’s been what, almost a year since I last got off my ass and updated this thing? Damn. Sounds about right, I suppose. Blogging, as it turns out, is hard work. Particularly when one is trying to blog one’s way through a game. Actually, that’s not entirely true. It would be more accurate to say that not blogging is disturbingly easy. This usually (for me, at least) manifests itself as a complete apathy toward taking notes as I play. It’s something I generally need to do—especially in longer play sessions—but it’s just so much easier to just not worry about it and play the game.
And that, ultimately, is what happened here. Not only did I totally slack on actually playing stuff, I didn’t take any notes or gather any thoughts on the things that I did play. The not doing any backlog-related stuff I can live with. I have other projects that won out for attention, so them’s the breaks. The lack of note-taking and writing about what I actually got around to playing is a bit harder to excuse. It pretty much boils down to “gee, if I don’t stop to write I can play more!” And that, in a nutshell, is more or less what happened.
I’m not going to post a big-ass update about everything I’ve been up to over the last ten months or so, but, as the post title already gave away, I am going to wax poetic about THQ’s Warhammer 40000 Space Marine demo. I played through both missions earlier this week and I can safely say the demo is awesome. There is an overpowering visceral thrill revolving around wading into a horde of Orks and delivering sweet, swift justice with a chainsword or a power axe. Admittedly the end result is not entirely accurate to the tabletop game, but meh. I can accept the trade when it involves STOMPING FACES in power armor. And there’s a jump pack. Which is also far too much fun.
The demo gives the player access to four ranged weapons (bolt pistol, bolter, sniper rifle, grenade launcher) and two melee weapons (chainsword and power axe). The full game will have even more weapons in addition to other Chapter skins. Gameplay is a straight up action shooter. There is no cover mechanic like in Gears of War—instead we’re back to the oldschool “stand behind stuff if you don’t want to get shot” method of not getting hit. Even better is killing everything that’s trying to kill you, which you can do either by shooting it in the face or by hacking it apart with a very fluid melee system.
While you’re shooting and stabbing and slashing things, you may want to mix in a few stun attacks. These stun enemies, allowing you to perform an execution. Executions are graphic and satisfying killing moves (and there are multiple animations), and restore a portion of your health for each one. You also have access to a fury mode. A gauge fills up as you mete out destruction, and once it fills you can press a key to fire off a mode wherein you regenerate lost health at a highly accelerated rate and do a whole lot more damage—at least, with melee attacks. In fury mode normal enemies die in one hit. I found no health packs or any such thing in the demo, and it appears that executions and fury mode are the only ways to regain health. Except when the game sometimes give health back between encounters. It should also be noted that you can still take damage in both execution animations and fury mode, and die as a result. So you can’t just go forth and mindlessly execute and fury everything in sight.
The jump pack, for which there is a short level in the demo, is just as much fun as everything else. It’s use is simple—press the space bar to trigger it, aim with your mouse, and click mouse 2 to do a very satisfying and brutal ground smash. This can be used to both gain extra horizontal distance from a jump and send packs of enemies flying. And you don’t have to gain a whole lot of air before you slam down, either; a simple hop will do. Hopping from one group of enemies to another seems to be a viable tactic, and any enemies that aren’t killed outright will be briefly stunned and set up for an execution. The jump pack level took away everything by my bolters and melee weapon; I don’t know if this will be par for the course, but it wasn’t much of an issue.
Graphically, Space Marine is quit pretty. It looks suitably dystopian for the crapsack universe of Warhammer 40000, though distant vistas don’t always have a whole lot of detail. Animations are fluid and really impart a sense of violence and power. And the sound—both voice acting and sound effects—get the job done. I don’t actually recall anything about the music, though that could be because I was too enthralled with the action to care, or because it’s entirely forgettable. I’m not honestly sure which.
Really, everyone who likes shooters owes it to themselves to check out this demo. It’s up on Steam, so there’s no excuse for not trying it. Additionally, I recorded playthroughs of the two demo levels with a running commentary. You can find them at my youtube channel:
I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to do with this blog moving forward. I’m toying with the idea of recording some Let’s Plays in the future, and I think a blog as a counterpoint to the videos. Additionally, I still like writing about my experiences with various backlog-related things, and not all of that would work as well in a video—either because the content is just not suitable, or because I don’t have the means to record it.
That said, if I do decide to continue with the blogging, I may or may not continue on this blog. I am undecided if it would be better to relaunch on this blog or start fresh on an entirely new one. The fact that I’m not exactly swimming in followers would certainly make it a simple affair to pick up and move. And speaking of moving, I’m actually doing that myself over the course of the next few weeks, so whatever I end up doing won’t be happening until mid-September at the earliest. Though, it would be cool to have things sorted out by this thing’s two-year anniversary. We’ll see. There’s time.