|System: PC, PS3, Xbox 360|
|Release: September 6, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine has a promising single-player campaign. With an interesting far-future story, plenty of deep lore for the Warhammer fans, and tons of action-packed gameplay, this will be one of this fall's more memorable sci-fi titles. However, in addition to the game's six-to-nine hour campaign mode, the game will also feature an expansive multiplayer mode that pits marine against marine in brutal 8-on-8 matches. We recently got a chance to test-drive the multiplayer mode in Space Marine, and for the most part, we came away impressed.
For most intents and purposes, Space Marine's multiplayer is a lot like what you've seen before. You play as a nameless Space Marine who either fights on the side of good or the side of Chaos. When we started up the match, we were immediately taken to a deep customization area where we had access to tons of different armor, emblems, and accessories. You can store several armor presets for both regular marines and Chaos marines, and while you won't have too much overlap—we still have to be able to tell good guys from bad guys—you can really pull out all the stops in terms of customization. While I tried to go with a traditional black and white look for my guy, one of the people playing with me went all-out with a sassy hot pink number on their space marine. Of course, that made that player that much more of a target. But hey, I'm not one to judge.
Once we were done customizing our look, we were able to get a taste of the loadouts. The loadouts come in two varieties: weapon-based perks and character enhancements. As you progress in the multiplayer game, you'll get access to better customizations, perks, and even weapons. Once we were able to get everything unlocked, the amount of loudouts we saw was pretty impressive. Sticking with the multiplayer in Space Marine will definitely be a rewarding experience, which is certainly encouraging. And with a level cap of 41, players will have plenty of work to do before getting access to all of Space Marines' goodies.
Less encouraging, though, is the format of the multiplayer. We were only able to play through two different modes: Annihilation and Seize Ground. The first was basically a team deathmatch mode that awarded points for kills and awarded victory to the first team that reached a specific point threshold. Seize Ground, on the other hand, challenges you to capture and defend specific points on the map. (Think King of the Hill). Both of these modes were fun to play through, but I can't help but hope that there will be a little bit more mode variety in the future.
Though I wasn't initially impressed by the mode variety, I have to admit that the actual gameplay is quite fun. No matter what side you're on, you can play as three different marine classes: assault, tactical, and devastator. Assault class is the most balanced of the three classes, allowing you to use the game's signature Chainsword in up-close melee combat and fly around using short-burst jetpacks. The tactical class is more of a weapons-based class, and gives you access to the most weapons. And, as you might expect, the devastator class is the heavy-weapons class that allows you to plant yourself in the middle of the action using your gun as a turret.
The class system and expansive loadouts look like they will give Space Marine most of its staying power. What we've seen of the actual modes seems pretty generic, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but could make this less of an appealing multiplayer choice when compared with this fall's other big games. Still, if you are planning to jump headlong into Space Marine's stellar single-player mode, the multiplayer component will be a nice addition to the package.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Contributing Writer