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Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine – multiplayer hands-on

Wednesday, 20 July 2011 17:00 GMT By Stace Harman

A recent multiplayer hands-on event has shown VG247 the distant future of the 41st Century: it’s filled with deep space war in an array of fetching colours. Hands-on thought and Relic words inside.

Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine

Created by Games Workshop, the Warhammer franchise started as – and continues to be – a popular tabletop miniatures game.

Nods to Space Marine’s 41st Century setting are included in the multiplayer: first team to reach 41 kills wins, and the level cap is also 41.

The TPS is specifically designed not to be cover-based; real Space Marines don’t need cover.

Developed by Relic Entertainment and published by THQ.

Launches September for 360, PS3 and PC.

It’s not every day I associate videogames with painting, but recent hands-on time with the multiplayer and customisation modes of Relic Entertainment’s Space Marine has struck a chord with the frustrated-artist in me.

Some years ago now, Citadel paints were one of the (many) banes of my teenage life. Attempting to ape the finesse with which both my brother and my best friend were able to apply the Games Workshop range of colours to small plastic miniatures destroyed my confidence as a budding artist.

Goblins, Chaos Warriors, Orks and Space Marines were left half-finished as finer details were clumsily obscured by splodges of paint. In some extreme cases, miniatures were left permanently disfigured as I discovered that rage-quitting can apply to models too.

Fortunately, THQ and Relic are looking to soothe my pain whilst providing those that have always had an eye for Leviathan purple, Adeptus Battlegrey and Mithril silver with the perfect digital paint set.

The Citadel paint inspired custom-colour scheme is one of many parts of the Games Workshop Warhammer 40K universe that is being faithfully adhered to for the unpretentiously titled Space Marine. Despite this devotion, it should by no means be considered an impenetrable clique, inaccessible to those that have never heard of Ultramarines, Dreadnoughts and Warlord Class Battle Titans.

“Space Marines are like these superhuman warrior monks,” explains Relic marketing manager James McDermott. “There’s like ten thousand of them to a billion of us so we really want to put across how rare they are, but also, for people that might not be familiar with the Space Marine mythos, to convey a human element and put in to context why they’re revered.

“So, we show ordinary soldiers kneeling before them and show them to be these 7ft tall superhuman warriors, but we add background context throughout the game world with story details and audio logs that aim to give more of that human element as well.

“We were really conscious of that angle and that people that come to this afresh get a good understanding of who the Space Marines are and what it means to be one of them.”

From what I glean during an afternoon of 8-vs-8 multiplayer bouts, to be a Space Marine is to be a dealer of death. One with access to numerous weapon load-outs and varied armour sets bolstered by special ability perks. In fact, Relic suggests that there are some 1.8 billion combinations of weapons, perks, armour sets and insignias – with which you can adorn individual pieces of armour – and that’s before you’ve started on the custom paint jobs.

Those raptors be deadly

The session begins with several bouts of Annihilation, the team-based frag match in which either side must reach a combined total of 41 kills. We start the round to find that the majority of players have opted for the melee focused Assault class – named Raptor if playing as Chaos Marines – passing up the touted versatility of the Tactical class and the destructive heavy-weapon potential of the Devastator.

In truth, it’s not difficult to work out why – it’s primarily due to the hard-to-resist jump-pack the class comes equipped with. This enables a few seconds of rocket-propelled thrust to reach higher ground, dodge incoming weapon fire and, with practice, perform a brutal air to ground stomp to daze opponents before moving in to finish them off at close-range.

The E3 “Chaos” trailer.

This manoeuvrability and melee prowess comes at the cost of both armour rating and decent firearm options, certainly at the lower levels that make up the first part of our playthrough. Nonetheless, Assault appears to be the preferable option and those that experiment with the other two classes are soon lured back by the jump-pack, suggesting it might be the easiest to get to grips with despite not being unlocked until you’ve progressed to experience level 5 with the default Tactical class.

“I think you’ve tuned in on the right thing, and it’s fair to say upfront that there’s still tweaking and balancing to do with the multiplayer,” McDermott acknowledges. “But the way it’s intended to work is that you start with the Tactical class and you’ll get to grips with those guys as you build and unlock the other classes.

“Tactical is the most versatile and has the most weapons overall, in the long term the belief is they’ll actually be the best class to play with as you’ll have more options when adapting to the flow of the game due to their versatility.

“The Assault is definitely cool and I think part of the appeal of them is the jump pack which catches people’s eye and they want to dive in a jump around. But if they get cornered they’re screwed, and if they’re not able to get up close to their opponent then they’re really going to face some challenges.

“They’re probably only going to be able to take maybe one or two guys out at a time. It’s like they have the slimmest chance of surviving and are possibly going to have a pretty fast spawn cycle.

“Tactical is likely to have the best chance of staying alive and getting some good kills, and the heavy weapons class could take out in four or five guys in one go – they’re the slow moving easy target but they’re built a lot stronger.”

Redressing the balance

Reinforcing McDermott’s explanation of the studio’s vision for each class is the second half of our session, in which we switch map types to play the Seize Ground mode – capturing control points that accumulate team score for as long as they’re under your control.

Here, we’re levelled up to the maximum cap of 41, which affords many more options for further customising the three classes. The Assault class is still attractive and has options to take it in a more specialised melee direction or, with the right choice of perks and high damage but slow firing weapons, a long-range sniper build.

The Tactical and Devastator classes have a much more balanced array of weapons and perks and some tightly-fought matches are played out with people choosing an array of character classes and loadout options. It’s encouraging to see that the early imbalance of the Assault class should be easily rectified with some minor tweaking ahead of the game’s release in September.

Space Marine’s multiplayer mode is shaping up to be a well crafted affair, allowing you either to dive right in by choosing one of the pre-set loadouts or to spend time customising every aspect of your marine. There are plenty of choices to be made, taking in character class, weapons and perks, not to mention perhaps the most important of all: whether to paint his armour and helmet Tentacle Pink or Nauseating Blue.

Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine launches on 360, PS3 and PC on 6 September in the US and 9 September in PAL territories.

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17 Comments

  1. El_MUERkO

    If there’s a scenario in which I could be a heavily armoured, Thunder Hammer wielding rampage of destruction, then consider me interested.

    #1 4 years ago
  2. Christopher Jack

    Can’t wait, would love for a survival mode like The Last Stand.

    #2 4 years ago
  3. DUFFKING

    An array of fetching colours, all of them orange and teal.

    #3 4 years ago
  4. Flacc

    Why does the devastator have a belt feed as well as a box magazine? it should be either or.

    #4 4 years ago
  5. Crab of Thunder

    Wish we could play as a dreadnought… :’(

    #5 4 years ago
  6. NeoSquall

    This is GLORIOUS.

    @4 I think it’s chara design oversight.

    @5 IMBA!

    #6 4 years ago
  7. Maximum Payne

    Shame there is no Vehicles or Orks :)
    Also they are releasing it close to Gears so…

    #7 4 years ago
  8. NeoSquall

    Introducing vehicles would need maps way bigger than anything worth a good balanced gameplay…

    #8 4 years ago
  9. Maximum Payne

    @8 But at least wouldn’t be look like Gears clone ….

    #9 4 years ago
  10. DSB

    If they had half a brain they’d make the multiplayer portion a bit like Monday Night Combat. DOTA style TPS = Thumbs way up.

    #10 4 years ago
  11. Crab of Thunder

    @6 I see.. we’ll chuck in an emperor class titan to counter it!

    #11 4 years ago
  12. NeoSquall

    Gears what?

    We are discussing Space Marines here, towering demi gods clad in plasteel and ceramite armors that deal the Emperor’s vengeful strike on the enemies of Man, not some foul mouthed jerk whose sole purpose is hide behind a rock and take potty shots at overgrown lizards.

    @11 LOL

    #12 4 years ago
  13. Crab of Thunder

    Man if Marcus fenix ever had to square up to a space marine… no contest! Both gears and WH40k are good games though, just one of them has false bravado and sissy cover systems :P

    #13 4 years ago
  14. DSB

    ^^ I actually thought you were talking about the Dawn of Wars there :P

    #14 4 years ago
  15. loki

    still crap

    #15 4 years ago
  16. Suikoden Fan

    Warhammer games tend to be really good, even if i didnt like the change from DOW 1 to 2, 2 is still great in its own good.

    I’d love a HD remake of Shadow of the Horned Rat and Blood Omen, with the difficulty turned down ALOT

    #16 4 years ago
  17. NeoSquall

    You mean DARK Omen?

    #17 4 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    Affordable drones have many uses. Most of them are not nearly as exciting as recreating GTA 2 in real life. I am surprised it took us this long, but someone has finally captured footage using a drone that resembles the protagonist’s experience in the classic GTA 2. These aren’t just shots of cars from a […]

  • PlayStation 4 sales reach 2m in the UK

    Sony has sold 2 million PlayStation 4 consoles in the UK, faster than it did with the PlayStation 2 – the company’s best-selling machine in the country. MCVUK is reporting that as of last weekend, 2 million PlayStation 4s have been sold in the UK. The data is based on GfK Chart-Track estimates. This makes […]

  • H1Z1 gets female characters, skin colour options planned

    In an effort to improve diversity in the game, H1Z1 developer has added female characters. Female survivors can now be found throughout the world of H1Z1. Developer Daybreak added the new feature in a patch released last Friday. You will be able to choose a female avatar in the main game and in Battle Royale. […]

  • Possible teaser site for Castlevania creator Koji “IGA” Igarashi’s new game opens

    Either Castlevania creator Koji “IGA” Igarashi is working on a soon-to-be-launched Kickstarter for his new game, or someone is pulling an elaborate prank. At PAX Prime last year, during Keiji Inafune’s Mighty No. 9 panel, a flyer was handed out to attendees that showed what appeared to be a 2D game of some sort with […]

  • Destiny weekly reset for May 5: Heroic and Nightfall strikes detailed

    Tuesday is here and Destiny’s weekly reset is also here. Bungie announced that your weekly Destiny grind has now begun. The Nightfall and Heroic strikes are now live too. This week’s strike is Winter’s Run. Rainbow burn is back for the Nightfall, which means you do more damage with all elemental weapons, but also receive […]

  • PC version of Project Cars delayed in Australia due to severe weather

    Recent weather conditions in Sydney, Australia are responsible for a slight delay of the PC version of Project Cars in the country. Sydney recently suffered from storms that caused flooding in some areas. One of those is the place where publisher Namco Bandai was storing PC copies of Project Cars. The stock was “severely damaged,” […]

  • Twitch’s new process makes it easier for streamers to appeal flagged content

    Twitch has updated its appeals process concerning videos that have been flagged by the audio ID system. Towards the end of last year, Twitch introduced a new audio recognition system that scans archived streams and automatically mutes the audio whenever copyright music is identified. The system has been in-use ever since and Twitch has today […]

  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has a day one patch, but it’s not a major one

    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will indeed have a day one patch, to make the first-time experience as smooth as possible. Like many modern games, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will have its day one patch. According to the developer however, it wasn’t born out of necessity. Miles Tost, level designer at developer CD Projekt […]

  • CoD: Advanced Warfare owners get free pistol today

    Advanced Warfare developer Sledgehammer Games is adding a new pistol to the game, free to all players. The M1 Irons is a new pistol that comes to Advanced Warfare starting today. The weapon is offered as a thank you gift from the developer. Sledgehammer says the Irons is good at range and packs a punch. […]

  • Fall down the Skullgirls Big Band music video rabbit hole with me

    Skullgirls is a pretty amazing fighting game, but did you know it’s also a passable music creation suite? Earlier today I was idly perusing an episode of PlayStation Underground showing off Skullgirls 2nd Encore, a re-release of the indie fighter packing in loads of new features and coming to PS4 – with full cross-play! – […]

  • The many uses of Wolfenstein: The Old Blood’s pipe weapon

    Wolfenstein: The Old Blood adds a sick new weapon to BJ’s arsenal: a pipe. In Wolfenstein: The Old Blood, a pipe is not just a pipe. Not only can you bash nazis with it, you can use it to climb walls, reach hatches, and even break through some walls. Plus? You can dual wield it. […]

  • Mortal Kombat X teaser gives first look at Predator

    Mortal Kombat X’s next celebrity guest was teased during the latest Kast. Today’s Mortal Kombat X Kast was mostly about all about Jason, but also included a very brief nod to Predator. You can watch the full livestream to see the tease in situ if you’re really keen, but IGN shared this convenient edit: There’s […]

  • Rock Band 4 has count-ins, drum fills and vocal harmonies

    Rock Band 4 will more closely emulate the feeling of being a real musician with some neat personalisation touches. For Rock Band 4, Harmonix elected to double down on player ownership of their experience rather than technical precision. To this end, it has implemented a number of cool new features. I am wildly envious of […]

  • Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z, Lost Planet 3 developer shuttered

    Spark Unlimited has gone down with all hands. The Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z and Lost Planet 3 developer has been shuttered and all staff laid off. Chief technical officer John Butrovich confirmed the news in a statement issued to IGN. “Spark Unlimited is closing as a video game developer. The ongoing opportunities for smaller mobile […]

  • PS Now subscription available on PlayStation 3 this month, Vita coming soon

    PlayStation Now’s all you can eat service has finally been dated for PS3. Subscriptions to PS Now, Sony’s cloud-based gaming service, will be available on PS3 from May 12 in the US. The all you can eat package will also be made available on select Bravia TVs and Sony Blu-ray players on the same date. […]

  • GTA 5 is even better with a gravity gun

    GTA 5 modders have made a dream come true, adding a gravity gun to your arsenal of mayhem-causing weaponry. GTA 5 isn’t ready for this. It looks like a heck of a lot of fun, but the poor old Los Santos po po can’t deal with the resulting carnage at all. If Rockstar were ever […]

  • “Mod makers should be able to make money from their creations,” says DOOM creator

    DOOM co-creator John Romero has weighed in on the paid mods debate. Paid mods are a hot issue right now. For years, Valve has been enabling content creators to make money from their work on Counter-strike: Global offensive, Dota 2 and Team Fortress 2, but when it partnered with Bethesda to offer the same for […]

  • Watch WRC driver Kevin Abbring smash through a DIRT Rally challenge

    WRC driver Kevin Abbring has been participating in Dirt Rally’s daily events – and kicking ass. Dirt Rally seems to have ticked one of the most difficult to attain boxes of racing development – creating something professional drivers like to play, and which rewards their years of experience. Codemasters published the video below showing Hyundai […]

  • Mortal Kombat X patch to bring PC version up to console standard

    Mortal Kombat X PC will be fixed tomorrow, NetherRealm has promised. The PC version of Mortal Kombat X has come under fire for poor performance, including stuttering frame rate and bugs as plenty. About 45 minutes into a recent Twitch stream, NetherRealm boss Ed Boon said an update will drop tomorrow to address many of […]

  • Destiny House of Wolves: all new Crucible maps detailed

    Destiny’s House of Wolves DLC will add four new maps to the Crucible, the game’s competitive multiplayer mode. Let’s take a look at all of them. Alex brings you new footage showing all of the four maps that will drop with House of Wolves. He goes over the layout, landmarks, gameplay styles, and other important […]

  • Custom Xbox One Star Wars controllers look very tempting

    Microsoft is celebrating May 4 by showing off concept designs for Star Wars-themed Xbox One controllers. May 4 is of course Star Wars Day and the controller concepts you’re about to see are just that, concepts. Or at least that’s what they said they are. There are four designs and they don’t look very practical. […]

  • Project Cars launch trailer is an anthology of race cars, set to the beats of Deadmau5

    Project Cars comes out this week and there’s just enough time for one last trailer. Project Cars, Slightly Mad Studios’ ambitious racer that has been in development for ages, is finally coming out this week. The racer received plenty of changes throughout its development based on community feedback and the final product will be in […]

  • Star Wars Battlefront dev reveals planet Sullust

    Sullust, a planet that has not been previously shown, will be featured in one of Star Wars Battlefront’s maps. Star Wars Battlefront developer DICE revealed today that planet Sullust will be one of the game’s locations. The planet was mentioned in the films and other Star Wars works, but was only shown today. DICE posted […]

  • Destiny House of Wolves: Tower vendor changes

    House of Wolves will change the inventory of some of Destiny’s vendors and add new roles to others. Here’s everything that has been announced so far. You know that House of Wolves will bring a new social space to the game in the form of The Reef. But did you also know that the good […]

  • Nintendo apologises for Amiibo shortages, will reissue some out-of-stock figures

    Nintendo released a statement today to apologise for fan’s frustrations in finding some Amiibo figures and promised to handle distribution better going forward. Nintendo has been criticised recently for its lack of communication when it comes to new Amiibo figures. Something which has lead fans to not know if certain figures are limited to some […]

  • Halo: MCC “a black eye for us,” Halo 5 won’t suffer the same fate, says franchise director

    The development of Halo: The Master Chief Collection was of an “outrageous complexity,” which was one of the reasons it suffered a horrible launch. None of that will happen with Halo 5: Guardians, according to Frank O’Connor. Frank O’Connor, Halo franchise development director opened up to Xbox Achievements about the difficult task of developing The […]

  • Destiny House of Wolves: weapon Reforging explained

    When House of Wolves drops in a couple of weeks, you’ll be able to change the stats of some in-game weapons. This process is called ‘Reforging’. Alex goes over all the details Bungie revealed about the new Reforging system. This covers the materials you need, the weapons that can be reforged and much more. Make […]

  • GTA 5 PC: control the in-game phone with your iPhone using this mod

    GTA 5′s latest mod lets you control the in-game phone with your real-life iPhone. Reddit user Planetleak wanted to see if he would succeed in getting his iPhone to control the phone in GTA 5. He did it and has a video to prove it. It’s not a mod per-se, but it emulates mouse and […]

  • SoulCalibur dev wants to know fans’ favourite characters for “something huge”

    SoulCalibur developers are probably working on a new game, because they’re asking fans to vote on their favourite characters. Project Soul, the longtime developer of the SoulCalibur series is soliciting feedback on fans’ favourite characters. The developer said as much in a post on its Facebook page. “Calling all SoulCalibur Fans! Project Soul would like […]

  • Jason Voorhees doesn’t look out of place in new Mortal Kombat X trailer

    Jason Voorhees comes to Mortal Kombat X starting tomorrow and it’s time to celebrate his arrival. Jason Voorhees, the first DLC character for Mortal Kombat X has been given the trailer treatment. Jason is part of the game’s Kombat Pack, owners of which can start using him tomorrow, May 5. Being an iconic horror character, […]

  • Dragon Age: Inquisition – Dragonslayer DLC announced, free to all this week

    Dragon Age: Inquisition is getting a multiplayer expansion this week. BioWare has announced that all owners of Dragon Age: Inquisition will receive a new multiplayer expansion, for free. The expansion is called Dragonslayer and it’s centred around fighting dragons, hence the name. Three new playable characters will join the roster as you explore an all-new […]

  • Sonder is still happening, and this is the best news of the week

    Sonder is a really interesting-looking new indie adventure, which I am quite excited to remember exists. We first heard about Sonder in late 2013, when its debut trailer introduced us to a Kamai Media’s ambitious vision. In the intervening months Kamai has been hard at work on its space station management sim slash non-linear narrative […]

  • Twitter axes playable Internet Archive embeds

    The dream has died: Twitter has disabled Internet Archive game embeds. Remember how for a few days you could tweet a link to an a game on the Internet Archive and it was playable direct from that tweet? Well, Twitter has cancelled that. All those tweets now just show links. GamesIndustry suspects it has something […]