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Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine


May 6, 2003
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From THQ and Relic Entertainment comes a new Warhammer 40K game for the PS3 and 360. It looks glorious.

Official Homepage

THQ and Relic® Entertainment Announce Warhammer® 40,000™: Space Marine® For XBox 360® and Playstation®3

Warhammer 40,000’s Vast Science Fiction Universe To Make Action-RPG Console Debut

AGOURA HILLS, Calif. May 28, 2009 -- THQ Inc. (NASDAQ: THQI) today announced Warhammer® 40,000™: Space Marine®, from renowned internal studio Relic® Entertainment, will bring Games Workshop’s (LSE: GAW) Warhammer 40,000 science fiction universe to life on the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system for the first time. The Action-RPG title will put players in control of individual units throughout a narrative-driven story campaign and in wide-scale online battles. Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine will be unveiled at E3 2009 in THQ’s booth – number 5300 in the West Hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center.

“The Warhammer 40,000 universe has a huge global following and Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine will bring that world to life on the Xbox 360 and PLAYSTATION 3 systems for the first time ever,” said Kevin Kraff, vice president, global brand management, THQ Inc. “Relic Entertainment is leveraging years of experience developing games within the universe to create an Action-RPG experience unlike anything seen before.”

“Space Marine is an Action-RPG built from the ground up for the Xbox 360 and PLAYSTATION 3 systems, and will allow gamers to take control of individual units and fight in epic battles across the Warhammer 40,000 universe,” said Jonathan Dowdeswell, general manager, Relic Entertainment. “Relic has a deep understanding of the license based on our previous projects with Games Workshop, and our goal is to ensure Space Marine delivers the most intimate and brutal Warhammer 40,000 experience to date.”

About Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine

Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine takes place in the brutal, science fiction setting of Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40,000 universe. In the 41st Millennium, humanity faces extinction at the hands of horrific aliens and demonic hordes. Only one force offers salvation, the superhuman Space Marines. Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine is an intense Action-RPG featuring epic battles where players take direct control of the ultimate defender of humanity, the mighty Space Marine. Space Marine is currently in development at THQ’s internal studio Relic Entertainment for the Xbox 360 and PLAYSTATION 3 systems. In the grim darkness of the far future there is only war™…


Gametrailers Link


Pre-E3 2009: Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine First Look
Relic and THQ show off an all-new action game.
by Charles Onyett

US, May 27, 2009 - Homeworld. Dawn of War. Company of Heroes. In the world of PC gaming, these are big names. While Relic might not be widely known as a console developer, it's not entirely unfamiliar with the territory. The Outfit, an over-the-top World War II action game focused on multiplayer mayhem, was put out for Microsoft's Xbox 360 very early on in that console's life cycle, and was met with a moderate amount of praise. Now the company is again dipping into Games Workshop's gleefully violent and chaotic Warhammer 40,000 universe and preparing something new, this time only for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Utilizing a proprietary engine and being built by a new console-focused team, Relic is busy putting together Space Marine, a third-person action-RPG. After seeing some early footage, it looks as though it's going to be as bloody as Warhammer 40K fans might expect, filled with large-scale battles, brutal weaponry, and frantic fighting.

In Space Marine you play as (surprise!) a Space Marine, a genetically enhanced super soldier engineered specifically to smash the faces of anything that gets in the way. We witnessed in the video a group of four Space Marines landing on an Imperial planet to fend off a massive incursion of Orks. If you have no idea what Warhammer 40,000 is, then you should just know that it's a universe within which numerous alien races are constantly killing each other in a spectacularly gory manner, and generally enjoying the process.

Of the races included in the footage, the primary conflict involved a handful of Space Marines against seemingly overwhelming swarms of Orks. Near the end we also spotted a Carnifex, a towering agent of devastation and member of the Tyranid race. Relic would not say anything further about to what degree Tyranids will be in the game, so no word yet on exactly what's going on or what other races, if any, might be included. If you don't know what Tyranids are, they're a somewhat insect-like alien race that overwhelm and decimate whatever they happen upon. To get a better idea of what they're like, check out this feature for Dawn of War II, Relic's recently released PC-only real-time strategy game.

Back to the gameplay, the action appears to be fast, brutal, and bloody. It's still pretty early on, so specifics weren't plentiful, but it seems as though as a single Space Marine you'll move through the story and engage in some large-scale conflicts against mobs of enemies. Using power swords, chain swords, hammers, bolters, heavy bolters, and more it appears your Space Marine will have quite a few deadly tools to wipe out the Ork hordes from range or up close in melee. In addition to acquiring a number of types of weaponry, you'll also get some useful items that can help with taking out even bigger groups of baddies. We saw a jump pack that a Space Marine can equip and use to pop up into the air and slam down on the ground, sending Orks tumbling in all directions around the point of impact. There's also the potential to acquire and put to use more devastating items, which might include something like an orbital strike that sears a large swath of a planet's surface with a blast originating at an orbiting Space Marine ship.

As for the level of gore, it appears Relic wants to make this game really bloody. Since the camera is right in close to the action, clouds of red will be billowing out from every sword slash or bolter round that makes a successful impact. In one part of the video, we even saw an Ork's head get cut in two after a particularly vicious slash. Relic would not, however, confirm or deny that dismemberment and decapitation was actually in the game, but we're hopeful.

Slicing through your enemies and progressing through the game will in some way unlock new armor and improve your statistics. Perhaps we'll see something similar to Relic's item drop system in Dawn of War II, where the occasional enemy and boss encountered in the battle would yield goodies. Or perhaps it'll just be a system where you're awarded with experience or points to boost your statistics after completing a mission. We don't know yet, as it sounds like all that type of thing is still being determined internally at the studio. We did get to see in the video a brief look at a character equip screen, which featured a few slots for inputting weapons, armor, and items, as well as progress bars for different statistics.

How exactly the game controls is another thing still under development. We asked whether it'd be a system where there were light and heavy attacks with modifiers for special abilities, or whether specific buttons would be tied to specific limbs, but we'll have to wait and see. Hopping into vehicles might be another option for your Space Marine. We can say we saw a Titan – a gigantic mechanized walker, strolling around toward the end of the video as an Ork warboss charged a group of Space Marines while a shockwave from a massive explosion in the background caused everything to shake and shudder.

One of the more interesting aspects of the game is the potential for multiplayer. We saw four Space Marines standing around, so the natural question to ask is if the game will support some kind of co-operative play online or locally. Unfortunately this isn't yet something Relic is yet talking about, though it was mentioned that multiplayer was going to be a major focus of the game.

It's still early, but the bits that THQ and Relic showed off of Space Marine definitely looked promising. For those hardcore Warhammer 40,000 fans, it seems like Relic is gearing up to deliver the kind of ferocity Games Workshop's universe is known for, though this time at a much more personal level. Instead of staring down at a battle like you would in Relic's Dawn of War real-time strategy games, this one lets you get right into the action and directly control how you want to tear up the opposition. For anyone who isn't necessarily all that familiar with Relic or Warhammer 40,000, this is still a game worth keeping an eye on, as there's a ton of interesting fiction that could be incorporated and, considering Relic's track record at least on the PC, you've got to at least believe the studio is capable of delivering a high-quality, entertaining experience.

There's no set release date right now for Space Marine, as Relic is still busy building the game and will spend the time required to bring it up to a level of polish they deem acceptable. It'll eventually be released for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 platforms.


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As a fan of WH40K (mainly due to Relic's DOW series), I'm excited about the prospect of playing a SM in a 3rd person shooting game. However, the details are rather sketchy, and this game definitely needs an online multiplayer mode. Still needs more info before determining if this is a buy or not.
E3 Interview

I'm excited personally.
I've waited for a while to take control of just one Space Marine and unleash hell upon my enemies. Relic did an outstanding job with the RTS games and I have faith they'll deliver a quality game with Space Marine. I hope they include a Co-op option too.
The E3 interview certainly hints that.
Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine First Look

News by Brian Ekberg, GameSpot | Jun 3, 2009 12:50 pm PT

Relic unveils its next Warhammer 40K game with this action RPG stunner.

In the future, there is only war. And that's a very good thing in Relic's upcoming Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine. The developer, best known as a creator of real-time strategy games and, in 40K circles, as the minds behind the two Dawn of War games, is stretching its development muscles with Space Marine, which will be an action role-playing game that aims to give players an immediate and action-soaked look at the Warhammer universe.

Today, behind closed doors, Relic developers showed a four-and-a-half-minute trailer of Space Marine. Although no concrete gameplay was shown, producers made a point of saying that all of the footage shown in the trailer came from in-engine action, which was impressive, considering the visual quality on display.

The high-level story of Space Marine will follow your character as he and his fellow power-suited badasses try to stem the tide of an invasion by the green-skinned Orks on a forge planet (the planetary factories where space marine weaponry is created). Beyond that overview, we don't know much else about the story in the game.But, honestly, when the rest of the trailer was filled with action-packed shots of Space Marines and Orks mixing it up in glorious fashion, who really cares about the story?

Combat will be one of the key factors in Space Marine, and though the specific control mechanics are still under wraps, Relic reps told us that they intend every button to be capable of a violent action. We're not quite certain if means that you'll be able to decapitate your foe with a press of the select button, but we get the point.

One thing we do know is that your space marine will have access to plenty of different weapons at hand, including energy swords, chain blades, and huge, electrical hammers that will be effective for dealing with swarming enemies. There will also be ranged weapons, of course; we saw one marine picking off Orks with a pistol, and another spraying bullets out of a belt-fed machine gun. Choosing which weapons you wield will be only part of the customization options in Space Marine; the footage also showed some leveling aspects, wherein the player will be able to upgrade attributes such as strength, attack, and defense.

So far, only space marines and Orks have been confirmed to be in the game but, given that the game is early in development, there's always the possibility that could change in the future. From the demo, the Orks look to be ferocious (and slightly stupid) enemies, perfectly in keeping with their "chop first, never ask questions" approach to battle. Relic is also being tight-lipped about online options in the game, but hinted that they look to do justice to the Warhammer universe's tradition as a shared experience.

We can't wait to see how Space Marine shapes up, particularly with regard to the customization elements of your space marine, which has always been a 40K hallmark. No release date has even been hinted at yet, but here's hoping the hard-hitting combat that 40K tabletop players have always envisioned in their mind's eye will be brought to life in the game. Stay tuned for more Space Marine coverage in the coming months.
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E3 Interview on THQ's site. Few extended scenes not scene in the Trailer and a short glimpse at the character screen.

Extended E3 Demo

I'm pretty much sold almost here lol. =p
I think I'm already sold on it. Most of the footage seen seems to be actual gameplay, which looks sweet and fluid as hell and most importantly, it's done by Relic. Those guys just know how to do Warhammer 40K. If they put the same love and effort into this game, as they did with Dawn of War, I personally see no reason not to get it. Definitely pre-ordering it.

Relic's behind closed doors presentation laid bare...

"So… does anyone have any questions?"

Jerry Edsall, Lead Programmer at Relic Entertainment, has just finished showing an extended version of the Warhammer® 40,000™: Space Marine™ trailer to a packed booth of wide-eyed journalists. And everyone’s hand goes up.

Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine is a brand new action-RPG for Xbox 360 and PS3, announced to the world just days before E3 with a blistering trailer (playing now on THQ TV). Visitors to THQ’s E3 stand have been treated to a behind-closed-doors screening of the game, but it seems everyone wants to know more. And the first question is, invariably...

"When are you going to show gameplay instead of CGI?"

That question has been asked all day, and luckily it’s one Jerry is more than happy to answer.

"All the action sequences you saw used our brand new game engine. Even that last scene, with the Titan in the distance and the Nuke going off."

The engine in question is codenamed Phoenix, and has been built from the ground up for console development. Although Relic have an impeccable PC heritage with Homeworld, Dawn of War, Company of Heroes and Dawn of War II (the latter two being powered by Relic’s formidable ‘Essence’ engine), Space Marine is a console-only experience which needed a bespoke set to of tools to bring it life.

The result is Warhammer 40,000 like you’ve never seen it before - brutal, visceral and very much up close and personal.

In the demo, we see a Space Marine equipped with a jump pack powering through the skies before slamming down amongst a heaving mob of Orks, and smashing them aside with a gigantic Power Hammer that crackles with blue lightning. A Space Marine Sergeant goes toe-to toe with a gigantic Ork Warboss, his Chainsword sparking against the Ork’s armour plating before parrying the retuning strike and tearing into an exposed flank in a torrent of gore. In another scene, a Sergeant strings together a deadly combo with a Power Sword, cutting down two opponents in quick succession. The demo is drenched with blood, and in one sequence we see an Ork slump to the floor with his head severed at the jawline, exposing a tongue and the bottom row of teeth...

There’s even a variety of ranged combat on display too – one Space Marine wields a Bolt Pistol, and another drives back an onrushing hordes of Ork warriors with a volley of Heavy Bolter fire.

All in all, a far cry from the Real Time Strategy gameplay of the Dawn of War series. Space Marine puts you in direct control of an individual unit – but the game also adds RPG elements to the action. That unit will be customisable, as a work in progress screen showing a Space Marine swapping out the standard back pack for a Jump Pack illustrates. That kind of customisation will extend to weapon load-outs, and it seems we’ve only seen a sample of the vast armoury available to humanity’s finest.

But Space Marines fight in Squads – what does that mean for Multiplayer? It’s the next question to get asked, but this time Relic are being a little more coy...

"We’re not announcing any details about multiplayer right now, but as everyone knows, Space Marines travel in units. Compelling, innovative multiplayer is a huge focus for us – it’s a core part of the Relic ‘brand’ and you can be sure that Space Marine will deliver in this area."

And what about other Warhammer 40,000 races? The plot, as revealed to date, tells the story of the Space Marine’s attempt to reclaim a Forge World – one of the Imperium’s factory planets where tanks, weapons, even Spacecraft are built – from an Ork invasion. But eagle eyes amongst the gathered press have already noticed another Warhammer 40,000 race on the horizon of the final scene in the form of a Tyranid Carnifex.

"We’re not announcing any details about other factions right now" repeats Jerry for the 10th time today, "But the 40k universe presents us with a rich tapestry of armies and characters, and we’re determined to make this game the definitive Warhammer 40,000 experience."

There are other clues in the demo as to what we might expect to see in the coming months – in the final scene, an Ork Warboss looms over a stricken Space Marine Dreadnought, and a burnt-out Predator tank appears in the background… does that mean we’ll see other vehicles too?

"We’re not announcing..." begins Jerry, and we get the message. There’s a huge amount of secrecy around Space Marine right now, but also a staggering wealth of potential. For the time being, be content with the fact that it looks to have nailed the Warhammer 40,000 look and feel with a truly stunning game engine.

You can check out our video interview with Relic’s General Manager, Jonathan Dowdeswell, which includes exclusive scenes from the E3 show that you won’t have seen anywhere else and a few more details to whet your appetite.

As for the rest of those unanswered questions, we’ll have more on THQ.com in the coming months...

That game gets more and more impressive. I can't believe that the last scene with the nuke is in-game.
"It's allliiiiivvveee!"

It's been nine months since THQ officially announce the Warhammer 40K action RPG Space Marine, and we're finally getting the first screenshots for the game. Are they worth the wait?

Announced in May of last year and shown in footage form at E3 a month later, Warhammer 40K: Space Marine seems to be a title that THQ and developer Relic are taking their own sweet time on. As evidence to that, these are the first two screenshots that have surfaced for the action RPG.

I'd say that if the game's visuals are this gorgeous, Relic can take as much time as they need to make sure the game plays as good as it looks.

I hope we can play as a Space Wolf... That kinda is a Space Marine, but i guess too different. Still very glad to hear they're still working on this and no "sudden cancelation".
This is the first I've heard of the game but I'm always up for frying some xeno ass in the name of the Imperium!

The Emperor Provides!
We only got 2 screenshots since it has been announced 9 month ago. But do you know what's worse? Supposedly THQ pushed the game back to fiscal year 2011.

...the publisher's 2011 fiscal year, which runs from April 1, 2010, to March 31, 2011...The publisher also plans to release Warhammer 40K: Space Marine, the series' first outing on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, ... during its 2011 fiscal year.
I love Relic, which is, with Blizzard, the best RTS developer out there (the 3rd was Ensemble), so, i´m totally hyped for this game.
Just hope they learned a lot since The Outfit, which was their first action game

E3 Trailer

Still very optimistic on this! :)
This is easily one of my most anticipated games. They've done genius work on the Dawn of War games and now they crafted a 3rd person game that looks like the Dawn of War cutscenes come to life. I really hope this'll support co-op, so I can bust some Ork heads with my friends.
Eyes On With The Grim, Colorful Fantasy Of Warhammer 40K: Space Marine

The Warhammer 40,000 universe's descriptive tagline—"In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war"—does not sound like a cheery fantasy many of us would like to find ourselves in.

But Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine is designed to fulfill the fantasy of taking control of the fiction's hulking machines of war, to put players into the hundred pound boots of the titular Space Marine. Relic Entertainment, the developer of the third-person shooter Space Marine and, previously, real-time strategy series Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War, will take you there.

Space Marine trades the distant bird's eye view of the Dawn of War series for battles more intimate and excessively violent. The PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 game will focus primarily on one man, not hundreds, as he charges through hordes of Orks, blasting them to bits, slicing them into chunks.

We recently had a hands-off preview of Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine at THQ's headquarters to see how Relic is turning a 23-year-old tabletop game into an action-packed blockbuster shoot 'em up.

Our demo started without gameplay, but with an introduction to the Warhammer 40,000 brand of Space Marine. Described as serious and devout, highly disciplined and bound by honor—not to mention massive in size and encased in flashy, bright blue space armor—the heroes of Relic's game are familiar but also unique.

They've inspired countless other space traveling soldiers, but they behave differently. In Relic's game, they prefer to charge forward in favor of taking cover. There is no "snap-to cover" system in Space Marine. The preferred method is to clear the room by killing your enemies, not hiding from them.

We saw that in action later, but our first impression of Space Marine started with something rarely seen in grim war games—comic relief.

As the demo kicked off, Space Marine forces approached a massive war factory on an even more massive Imperial Forge World. This was a planet designed to create the weapons of war needed to fight the universe's battles. Billions of workers lived here. It was currently being invaded by Ork forces. Its massive Titan war machine needs to be protected, lest it fall into Orkish hands.

During the initial flight of the Valkyries—Space Marine transports and gunships—flying Orks attacked. The bright green and unintelligent-looking monsters had a low-tech approach. They attacked with cartoonish rockets strapped to their backs, while our heroic Space Marine, Captain Titus of the Ultramarines division, shot them down with a mounted turret and, later, his own rifle.

The Valkyrie ship we were following was eventually taken down—a flying Ork caught caught in the engines, delightfully—crashing onto the Forge World's surface. It was a mostly seamless transition into the on-foot segments of Space Marine.

What followed was a lone wolf attack on an Ork-occupied factory. That structure was colossal and future-gothic in its design, filled with a variety of grunting green enemies. Titus forged ahead, killing waves of approaching Orks, mixing up the run and gun action with hand-to-hand combat. There were exploding barrels, Ork limbs littering the ground and no lack of targets to shoot.

Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine producer Raphael Van Lierop says that the game's mix of distant and up close combat was "like making two games at once," and that Space Marine's melee side required lots of iteration. You'll be encouraged to experiment with both sides of Space Marine's battle system through a progression system. As you use more than a dozen weapons, you'll unlock new abilities, new ammunition types and other skills. You'll be able to use Titus' chainblade to grind through the metal armor of Ork Nobs. You'll be able to charge up a plasma gun for a vicious blast of energy.

There will be exotic weapons, like the chunky Heavy Bolter, a futuristic mini-gun. It's just one of the weapons drawn from Games Workshops Warhammer universe that has rarely been explored in the way that Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine does.

But Van Lierop and THQ's Sean Dunn put a great emphasis on the game's melee combat, which in the build we saw, wasn't as deep as it's eventually planned to be. According to the men making this game, players could play it primarily as a melee attack-driven game, forgoing much of its gunplay for up close and personal action.

Later levels that Relic and THQ demoed showcased a massive waste management area, filled with sludge, Orks and techno-wizard Weirdboys and a runaway transport train that Orks were attempting to use as a battering ram. They showcased some of Space Marine's set pieces, big events that involve massive waves of Orks and huge war machines that can only be taken down with super powered weapons.

Relic and THQ are hoping that Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine's blend of forward-rushing action, seamless shooting and melee, and its "momentum and compulsion" will separate it from some other third-person shooters starring oversized men battling aliens due next year.

The people behind Space Marine don't seem too concern with the competition, however, nor do they worry that Warhammer fans won't take to a third-person shooting game. This Warhammer 40K game puts players in the driver's seat of a Space Marine, a fantasy many fans of the fiction have been waiting to fulfill.

"There's a lot we can do with an action game that we couldn't do with an RTS," Van Lierop says, noting that the Dawn of War games have given Relic a good player base. That they've also won over some of Warhammer's most hardcore fans with eyes-on demonstrations of Space Marine is also reassuring.

For new fans, Relic says they don't need to be invested in the decades-old lore of Warhammer to understand its tropes, tone and treatment. This is an action game starring a bald space marine, after all, only with an injection of not-too-much-comic relief and a different approach to combat.

Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine is due for release sometime in THQ's fiscal year 2012, meaning it should be out before March of 2012. Relic promises to talk about its "robust" multiplayer and cooperative offerings for Space Marine before then, with its gunplay and melee in tact, sometime soon.

Warhammer: 40,000: Space Marine

Looks pretty good I guess. I really can't stand the Warhammer art style though.
They should call it "Bald Space Marine," just for the sake of completion. ;)
Space Marine First Look
Warhammer meets Gears of War in Relic's new third-person shooter.
UK, August 13, 2010

When you first see Space Marine, with its third-person viewpoint, huge guns and beefed-up characters, it's difficult not to think that it looks a lot like Gears of War. The comparison is certainly justified. The name alone brings Gears to mind, along with rather a lot of other recent shooters. Then you see that the walking muscle of a main character has skulls daubed all over his power armour. And then, running straight up into a cluster of enemies, he brings out a chain-sword that bears more than a passing similarity to a chainsaw and hacks an Ork in half with it.

Upon closer inspection, though, Space Marine's resemblance to Blezinski's baby doesn't go far beyond the aesthetic (and you could argue that Gears steals a lot of its bombast and muscle from Warhammer 40,000 in the first place). For one thing, there's no cover mechanic. For another, there's a lot more fun to be had with melee – the chain-sword is just the beginning. What's more, Space Marine's enemies actually fall over when you shoot them rather than absorbing clip upon clip of machine-gun bullets into their leathery hides. And everyone has British accents.

Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine, to give the game its full title, is set on a planet belonging to the Imperium of Mankind that is under attack by Orks, the green, ugly, barbarian baddies. It's an Imperial Forge World, which means it's the centre of production for a lot of very big, very impressive-looking and very important weapons for the human forces. Losing it to the Orks might mark an unfortunate turning point for humanity's fate.

You play an ultramarine amongst a team of space marines sent in to stem the tide of Orks. His name is Titus, and he's a genetically engineered super-soldier who can stand proud in the ever-expanding line-up of videogame leads with muscular arms so enormous that they can't put them down by their sides. The game plays out as a continuous narrative from the second he hits the planet.

Space marines are designed to combine the attributes of all the great warriors of history – THQ explains that they've the iron constitution of Spartans, the honour of samurai, the belief of crusaders and the tactical awareness of a Roman Centurion. They wage war with huge, smoking guns from behind near-impenetrable power armour. The nature of the space marine character itself is most of the reason why the game doesn't have a stick-to cover mechanic, or indeed a cover mechanic of any sort. Having Titus cower behind walls in all that thick armour wouldn't make all that much sense.

Instead of hiding behind walls, you can actually run right through them, smashing great chunks of masonry into anything that may be crouching behind. Space marines are supersoldiers, and you're supposed to be able to have fun with them. The standard machine gun fires exploding bullets, so everything you shoot at blows up, dies, or blows up and dies. There's an anti-bullet-sponge policy; bigger Orks in spikier armour can take more punishment than others, but the challenge comes from the number of enemies rather than their strength.

There will be about fifteen weapons in the game – you can carry two at a time, along with a melee weapon. Interestingly, they level up as you use them, which changes the visual style of the weapon and unlocks new attachments and abilities. We saw a plasma gun which, when levelled up, has a charged blast that kills everything within a certain radius. There are also event weapons, as it were – hugely powerful pieces of machinery that you come across that often have just one ammo clip, but allow you to destroy waves of enemies at a time.

But Space Marine is as much about melee as it is about ranged shooting. In addition to the chain-sword, there will be hammers, power knuckles for crushing fist attacks and different types of sword, all of which have different gory finishing moves. We saw a few different types of enemies that succumbed to the chain-sword in different waves – Titus simply lifts up the smaller ones and cuts their limbs off, whilst jamming the blade into the chests of larger enemies to get them to the ground before stomping on their heads for an execution.

Thanks to all that armour, the space marines can absorb a lot of damage, so you can really get stuck in with a crowd of enemies for melee. It's a lot more entertaining than blind-firing over your shoulder from behind a crumbling wall.

Strong as the marines are, they're not indestructible. There's no stick-to cover system, but you can still hide from bullets by moving behind a wall or crate or other chunk of scenery. It's usually a good idea to get out of the direct line of fire when facing stronger foes, particularly bosses and mini-bosses – standing straight in front of a paint-daubed, spike-adorned Ork aircraft as it empties rounds and rounds of ammos in Titus' direction isn't particularly good for his health, as we're shown during an explosive face-off on a moving train.

Space Marine likes to break up the shooting with such set-pieces to spice things up a little. We're also shown a sequence inside a Valkyrie aircraft, where Titus picks off Orks wearing jetpacks with the mounted gun in order to stop them landing on the fleet and smashing gaping holes in the hulls. The aerial defence reaches fever pitch when Titus' own aircraft is mounted by an unfortunate Ork that gets caught up in the engine, sending the aircraft spinning towards the ground.

Variety will prove key for Space Marine. It's got Warhammer scale and spectacle and very solid shooting, and the melee is a refreshing twist on third-person shooter mechanics, but it will need to mix up the scenery and setpieces to avoid fatiguing the player with too much repetitive Ork-slaughter. What we've seen is good, though, and it piques interest about the rest.


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