Home > Games, Geek, Reviews > Let’s stomp some Orks…

Let’s stomp some Orks…

The recently launched Onlive Service gave me the opportunity to try out a recently released video game for the princely sum of £1. Being a massive nerd, I chose Relic Entertainment’s Space Marine. Onlive works by live-streaming the game onto your PC, which means you get to play games that use high-end graphics on any sort of PC, provided you’ve got a decent internet connection.1.

Space Marine is a big bucket of fun. It’s not subtle. It’s not going to win awards for clever storytelling, innovative game design or revolutionary insights into First-Person Shooters. What it does do, very well, it let you play a nine-foot tall genetically engineered super-soldier clad in power armour wielding a chain-sword.2 You run round killing Orks in brutal, almost comical ways, and when you’ve killed enough Orks, you pick up a jet-pack and big glowing hammer kill some more Orks.

The game is breath-taking in its simplicity. You shoot the baddies, and when you’ve ran out of bullets, you hit them with some sort of cool melee weapon. It’s brutal. It’s violent. It’s highly entertaining. At the same time, it evokes the grime and futility of the 40K setting; a world where we’ve conquered the stars, yet mankind is trapped in a Dark Ages mentality, surrounded on all sides by hostile forces that want to see the galaxy burn.

Captain Titus (c) Games Workshop

Ultramarines; The Manchester United of Space Marines

The plot focuses on Ultramarine Captain Titus, and his two squad mates, given the daunting task of preventing invading Orks from looting the most valuable assets from a world under siege. It comes with a supporting cast of normal, everyday humans (The Imperial Guard) who are mostly there to look strong, brave and die horribly. They also make for the most compelling characters in the game.

Level design is a little dull in places, but as the game is set on planet-sized factory, that’s forgiveable. Still, in the grim darkness of the 41st millennium, people seem to use a lot of lifts. The cut-scenes aren’t terribly intrusive, and exist to not only herd the player toward the fun, but also add to the overall atmosphere. They are a handful of stand-out sequences (particularly one on the train), though it’d be lovely to see more. Dawn of War fans will be pleased to know that they are some nods to that series of games, and lends a consistent feel to the ongoing narrative. Warhammer 40K is at it’s a best when you get a feel for the how incredibly big the setting is.

It’s a fairly short game, taking about eight to ten hours to get through, and it really does feel like it needs a sequel (and much more plot). Still, Space Marine is worth a look, if you like first-person shooters, and definitely worth a look if you like FPS and Warhammer 40K.


1: Onlive works fine as a service. There is a very short wait to get your selected game to load during peak times, and it dropped out on me once during ten hours worth of play. That’s pretty good. My only criticism is that other users can watch you play and vote on how well you’re doing. This is bad, because I suck at video games. However, you can be easily turn off this function, which means I can hide my shame.
2: A chain-sword is a chain-saw sword, obviously. American science-fantasy gives us light-sabres. British science-fantasy gives us chain-swords, which are way cooler by a magnitude by awesome. This is why Warhammer 40K is better than Star Wars. Fact.

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Categories: Games, Geek, Reviews Tags: ,
  1. Emily
    October 3, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    A chainsword can’t make toast; but a light sabre can’t purge heretics, aliens, mutants and demons while a servitor makes toast for you.

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