How many testicles does a space marine have exactly?
Before we begin, let's get one thing straight right here and now: the Warhammer franchise has been around for about 25 years. It has a huge cult following and there's been many an RTS game created based on its mythos. So I don't want to hear about how this is just “Gears of Warhammer” or how the only real space marine in the world of gaming is Master Chief. That's total bull. The warriors in Warhammer: 40,000: Space Marine have been doing their thing long before anyone had even thought of Cogs or Covenants. And now, with the first title in what Relic and THQ are hoping to turn into a third-person shooter franchise just around the corner, it's time for the old school to show those noobs how it's done.
[image1]You take on the role of Capt. Tidus, a badass among badasses [Badassi? ~Ed.] who's been genetically altered to be one of the most elite soldiers in the galaxy. He's taller, stronger and faster than a normal human being, and even has more organs than you or me. The dude's got more gallbladder than he know what to do with. But not everything is as it seems for the ole captain, as he has a mysterious tie to the Warp, which is essentially the energy of the darkside in Warhammer terms, and it gives him spooky powers while simultaneously setting him up for some serious internal conflict throughout the game.
As one of the greatest soldiers alive, he's been tasked to fend off an Ork invasion from one of humanity's key Forge worlds—essentially a giant industrial planet—and prevent the dismantling of the Titan factory located there. This turns out to be no easy task, as there seems to be something more than meets the eye going on here. And when the demonic entities known collectively as Chaos show up, there's definitely more to the situation than just what's conspiring on the surface.
In order to survive, stop the invasion and find out what's really going on, Tidus will have to hack and shoot his way through wave after wave of green-skinned, fugly Orks with faces not even a mother could love and somehow avoid being completely obliterated by the legions of Chaos. Luckily for him, he's got balls of steel (maybe even more than two—he does have extra organs, after all), a chainsaw sword, and some very cool guns at his disposal, from the standard machine gun to the more over-the-top sticky grenade gun complete with remote detonator. In addition, he can also do special “Fury” moves for extra damage, such as a brutal chainsword finishing move or a ranged bullet-time mode that adds extra velocity and damage to your projectiles.
[image2]Unlike Gears of War, in which the combat is very duck, cover, and shoot, Space Marine expects you take a more hands-on approach to combat. When you're in the shit, you're in the shit. Not only do you have to deal with snipers, grenadiers, and other various gunmen, you also have to handle wave after wave of foot soldiers all up in your face trying to ruin your day. Do you hack your way through all the grunts in front of you then worry about the gunners, or do you take out the guys who keep shooting you in the back while your chainsword is stuck in some unlucky Ork's skull? Either way, blood will be spilled.
Visually, everything has that Sci-Fi meets Tolkien fantasy look that the franchise is well known for. Gothic architecture with all manner of buttresses surrounded by spaceships and marines that look like they just came from a meeting at King Arthur's round table are abundant. And of course, everyone has a British accent, because in the future everyone's from the UK.
Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine is looking to bring the action right in front of your face and offer up a blend of hand-to-hand combat a la Arkham Asylum while giving you the guns-blazing action of a third-person shooter. We'll find out if it and Captain Tidus are successful in their mission later this year in August 2011 on PC, 360 and PS3.