|Dev: Relic Entertainment|
|Release: March 1, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
The multiplayer, which we tried out for our preview last month, features a few new maps for the longtime fans, has been rebalanced to accommodate the Imperial Guard, and promises hours of nail-biting tension for those of you who love hectic battles between factions. Thankfully, Games for Windows Live has been ditched in favor of Steamworks. We highly recommend that newcomers try out the campaign first, however; the experts who populate the online multiplayer will waste no time in destroying you, even if you're merely the weak link on a multiple-player team.
The graphics are up to the standard set by the previous entries in the series, which is to say more than adequate, but not mind-blowing. The cutscenes are well-rendered, and during gameplay, the landscapes are detailed, with a good mix of nature and military structures. The animations are smooth, and the combat is deliciously bloody, from the splashes of red that fly off your victims to the pool of crimson that accumulates when they've fallen. In Retribution, war feels chaotic, as it should.
Also, the sound is amazing. The voice acting, from the human Space Marines to the Tyranids' "Hive," did a great job, and the music sets a background without getting in the way. The sound effects are another high point, with gunshot and laser blasts that really pop out of the speakers. Perhaps our only sound-related complaint is that during multiplayer skirmishes, the units make ridiculous comments when you select them.
All of that said, Retribution could use a few patches. We experienced a lot of freezing on the pre-release press build we played, though a graphics-card update seemed to solve that. Also, one of our quicksave files was corrupt when we tried to load it later, which needless to say can be a highly frustrating problem. Also, some of our troops seemed to get stuck when we moved them long distances.
None of that breaks the game, however, and we're confident in Relic's capability to tweak Retribution until it's perfect. Thankfully, all the fundamentals are sound: From the well-designed campaign, to the fast-paced multiplayer, to the graphics, to the sound, this is a solid, well-constructed title that's sure to be worth your money.
CCC Freelance Writer