Although the plight of super-powered Spartans and grizzled Gears are known to many, the story of sci-fi's original burly protectors, the Space Marines, has been forgotten. While their efforts pre-date the glamorous adventures of Master Chief and Marcus Fenix, their reputation as mankind's mightiest warriors has dwindled - but that might not be the case for much longer.
Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine reintroduces the chain-sawing, ammo-chugging original bad asses in a mission that sees them battling against the ravaging Orcs, in a last ditch effort to protect an overrun planet.
The games leading man is an Ultra-Marine Captain called Titus, who is contacted by an Imperial Inquisitor developing top secret weaponry and conducting research. Unfortunately, his work has fallen into Orc hands and it has the power to swing the outcome of the war in their favour, you're tasked with recovering the stolen tech.
The Space Marines are a combination of honour-bound samurai, devout crusader, military centurion and never-say-die Spartan. Basically, they're the ultimate hard nut, and we reckon they'd give old Marcus Fenix a run for his money.
Our first mission dropped us straight into the heat of battle; Titus requisitioned a number of Valkyrie gunships and has headed to the last known location of the Inquisitor. Naturally, the Orcs aren't too accommodating and have mounted an ariel assault, taking to the sky by leaping out of dropships and using jetpacks to harass the Valkyries.
We headed straight for the on-board turret and began picking off the daredevil Orcs, their absolute disregard for their own welfare keeping us on our cinderblock-like toes as we attempted to stop them from mounting the helpless Valkyries. Despite our best efforts a few well placed bullets from a maverick Orc took out our turret, forcing us to resort to the comparatively under-powered Bolter.
The invasive dropships provided a steady influx of Orcs from all directions, forcing us to stay on the move to cover our comrades. But our impressive one man defence force wasn't able to stop an overzealous Orc from breaking into the cockpit of a nearby Valkyrie. Although we managed to put a few bullets in him, the Orc was sucked into our engine and we crash landed at a nearby location.
Naturally, we can't be rescued; apparently the Orcs have put their brains to use and set up an auto-cannon to defend a nearby landing zone, preventing the Imperial Guard Command from providing transport. Obviously, that cannon had to go, so off we went.
At this point we started to notice the impressive detail in the environment; everything from building architecture and furnishings such as flags and destroyed vehicles are seeped in the instantly recognisable Warhammer aesthetic.
The visual style of Space Marine betrays the gloomy greys and depressingly dull tones we've come to expect from similar titles. The world is colourful and vibrant without losing the overtly decrepit and destroyed theme. Titus himself is outfitted in bright blue armour that dominates the screen. The numerous little touches peppered around each area are sure to be well received by Warhammer fans and as cool idiosyncrasies that add personality to the world by others.
GEARS OF WHA?
The area we crash land in is a large, open Imperial City that has been noticeably overrun by the savage Orcs. Although the gothic cathedral towering over us still proudly displayed the Imperial flags, the area also exhibited haphazard attempts by the Orcs at marking their territory.