Greetings 40k fans,
PythNutD here… with a different than usual report to share with the C&C readers. I had the opportunity to take part in the Warhammer 40k: Space Marine Multiplayer press release event last week and now that the July 20th “curtain” has been raised I am able to finally share my experience (and thoughts of the game) with the C&C readers.
More after the break….
First thing first, how did the lowly PythNutD get to take part in the event? Well somebody (tag screwpa) who works for THQ occasionally plays 40k at our local gaming store. Prior to the event he asked for people to loan him armies for use at the event, for display and use in demo games of 40k to the media who took part in the event. Screwpa also inquired if any gamers wanted to help at the event, specifically running demo games, and with the promise of swag (and seeing the game for myself) I agreed to help out…
Multiplayer gaming area
Multiplayer gaming area
The event was split into two main areas; one devoted to playing 40k demos and the other to playing Space Marine Multiplayer. The various media people present where split into two groups and while one played Space Marine, the other played the demo 40k games. Each 40k table was set up with a fully painted Realm of Battle Gameboard and various fully painted terrain, much supplied by GW for the event. The sample armies where mostly supplied by TWQ employees that play 40k and loaned armies such as mine, a few of the forces where made up of models supplied by GW (as few as possible as the staff supplied and loaned armies where much better painted).
Demo table, My own Ultramarines in the shot
Demo table, Screwpa's Necron arranged for battle
Besides the two main gaming areas a counter was set up with various Models and terrain pieces on display for those at the event and one corner of the room was set up for those wanting to play Warhammer 40k: Kill Team, or look through various GW books, codices, and comics.
I spent as much time as possible playing Kill Team as I waited for the event to start. I know those of you with an XBOX 360 at home are probably already playing the game, but for those of you who are like me and have a PS3 or haven’t made a decision about the game yet, let me give a quick mini-review. For an Arcade/PSN game it kicks ass, and after playing for only a half hour I am counting down the seconds till I can download my own copy. The graphics are clean and rather well done for a non-disc based game. The game play is simple, yet more complicated than other twin-stick shooters, and the flow of the game is smooth and action-packed. I’m as excited about this game as Warhammer 40k: Space Marine. Check out a more in depth Kill Team review at BOLS.
Display Counter W/ A few of my Ultramarine Tanks/Squads next to Some More of Screwpa's Necron. In the background you can see the Kill Team play area.
Display Counter w/ a THQ member's Eldar
The Main Event:
The main event started with a quick intro by a GW representative in from England, followed by a video presentation by another GW exec on the 40k Universe. A few of the guys from Relic then gave a quick overview of the Space Marines Multiplayer setup and game play. After the presentations the various press members split into two groups for gaming.
I spent most of the day teamed up with Screwpa running a 40k demo table, but at the end of the event, during an open gaming period I was able to sit down and play Space Marine for myself.
Space Marine: First Impression, Movement:
I’m sure most of you have seen the game play videos online so I won’t waste time talking about graphics, other than that you immediately feel that you are in the dark, gritty, gothic inspired, 40k universe almost as soon as you start moving. The first thing to point out is in the only two races available are Space Marines and Chaos Marines, no orks or other xenos as of yet.
Concerning moving I immediately noticed a difference between Space Marine and other 3rd/1st person shooters. Starting out as a Tactical Marine I felt slower than what I am used to in typical games of the genre, the Space Marine just moves different than a regular human. However once you get used to it the speed (or lack thereof) it feels right and adds to the feeling of being an unstoppable Marine. You can speed up your movement into a flat out run, which also allows you to ram into opponents. I tried the Devastator next and found the bulkiness (and slightly slower movement) to fit perfectly with what you would expect from a marine toting around a heavy bolter or plasma cannon. As soon as I tried the assault marine I knew why the previous two classes moved so slowly, to make large contrast with the third class. The assault marine moves swiftly, and with the ability to switch on your jump pack (and then launch into a foe like a homing missile) you become the most agile and maneuverable of the three classes.
As I already mentioned there are three classes:
1) Devastator (Havoc). As is expected the Devastator is your heavy weapon specialist. His is bulky, slow, but can put out the largest amount of fire at the longest range, but in close combat can only kick forward. The Devastator has access to a wide range of heavy weapons you would expect:
a. The Heavy Bolter feels like the weakest of the available weapons but has the highest rate of fire. I used this weapon for awhile and found it very satisfying as you blast the crap out of your opponent.
b. The Plasma Cannon deals more damage but has a lower rate of fire, plus shots can be charged to explode and burn your target. As with the other plasma weapons you have to watch for overheating. Of course I found that holding my fire to shoot at a target left me a bit more exposed than I wanted to be.
c. The Las Cannon deals the most damage in the game but has the lowest rate of fire. This is one of the two “sniper rifle” type weapons in the game. I didn’t try this one myself (although I did experience being instantly killed by it) but I heard from those that aiming took practice.
2) Assault Marine (Raptor). As I mentioned this is the fastest moving of the three classes and of course the best in melee. The Assault Marine can use it’s jump pack to fly high into the air, then if you quickly aim at a close target, you can lock on and swoop into strike. I myself died many times as a Raptor flew out of nowhere to cut me up with their close combat weapons. Speaking of weapons the following are available:
a. Chainsword. The weakest of the four weapons is what all Assault marine starts of with.
b. The Power Axe is a great deal stronger than the Chainsword and is the next un-lockable weapon. It certainly kills more efficiently.
c. The Power Sword is a little weaker than the Power Axe but is faster. If you play Kill Team before you get Space Marine you will have this unlocked at the start of the game, a clear advantage over the chainsword.
d. The most powerful of the weapons (and slowest) is the Thunder Hammer. The Thunder Hammer can be used to knock back/stun (and cause small amount of damage) to any opponent standing to close to your main target (or ground smash).
e. The Bolt Pistol is the default-ranged weapon of the Assault Marine. It is the weakest ranged weapon in the game. For the most part in Multiplayer you probably won’t even bother shooting with the assault marine, however in the single player game I’m sure this backup is available for when your other weapons run out of bullets.
f. The Plasma Pistol is the only other ranged option and like the other plasma weapons you can hold fire to charge a more damaging shot, however compared to the other classes the rate of fire is simply not useful in multiplayer.
The close combat attacks flow smoothly and can be chained for combos, plus the switch between your shooting and melee moves seems flawless and well thought out. I noticed that there was not an option for using a power fist or lightning claw and I hope that these come out in the future as DLC.
3) Tactical Space Marine (Chaos Space Marine). This is your balanced class with the most weapon options and after I tried out the other two classes I found that I preferred the Tactical Marine. In multiplayer the Tactical marine has a knife that can be wielded pretty effectively up close, however he really shines with close to mid-range weapons.
a. The first option is your standard bolter, and when you run up on an opponent firing a steady stream of rounds you feel a bit of a rush. This represents the typical shooter assault rifle.
b. The Storm Bolter is less accurate at range than the bolter but as you move in close you begin to see that it clearly puts out a great deal more rounds. For those familiar with shooting games this is your fully automatic sub-machinegun.
c. Next up in the Bolter family is the Stalker Pattern Bolter. This gun is semi-automatic and is scoped to act as a sniper rifle. Supposedly it has enough penetration to shoot through opponents and terrain but I didn’t try this weapon out so I’m not sure how this dynamic works in multiplayer.
d. My favorite weapon for the Tactical Marine (at least I was able to kill the most players with this one) is the Plasma Gun. It’s rate of fire seemed to be on par with the Bolter yet it clearly dealt more damage. The balance to this is the danger of overheating. The weapon heats up as fired and must cool down to shoot again, and it can damage you if it isn’t allowed to cool.
e. The Melta gun deals the most damage from among the options, but has the shortest range. This weapon acts as a shotgun equivalent in the game. I didn’t get a chance to use this one, after I found the Plasma Gun to work well for my style of play.
f. The only original weapon of the game is the Adeptus Mechanicus Vengeance Launcher. This weapon fills the grenade launcher slot for the game, although unlike other shooting games each grenade fired can be remotely triggered, one at a time or multiple at once.
All three Classes have access to multiple grenade types. The basic Frag grenade fits your typical 1st/3rd person shooter role. The Blind grenade seemed to be used most effectively by the Assault marine to disorient it’s targets, making a swooping kill easier (the screen goes white when you are hit and I found myself shooting blindly hoping to kill the assault marine before he could finish me off).
There are two game types to choose from in the Space Marine Multiplayer (only two available at the release of the game). The two types are Annihilation and Seize Ground, sound familiar?
1) The Annihilation is as it sounds, each side gets a point for each kill.
2) The Seize Ground mission consists of a map with three objective locations that must be seized and then held. Each map location shows up on screen with a marker visible anywhere on the map, as you (or the enemy) takes an objective it blinks with the symbol of your side (or your opponent), the symbol of the controlling side sits solid until the other side attempts to take it. If your side controls an objective you can re-spawn there instead of the default location. At the end of a fixed time the team holding the most objectives wins.
Technically there is a third mode if you include the challenges. Various challenges for weapons and kill types can be attempted to unlock abilities. This mode was discussed at the event but not made available.
Experience Points, Levels, Unlocks, and Perks:
What sets this game apart from most other 1st/3rd person shooters (not including the rpg shooters out there) is the complexity available in it’s leveling system. Unlike some games that have levels to simply represent a general amount of kills you have made, this game allows for a great deal of growth and customization. As you play you gain experience for everything from headshots to holding objectives. This experience raises your level and allows you to unlock the previously listed weapons, armor pieces for customizing your look, and perks.
Perks consist of character skills and weapons skills. The character skills allow you to modify things such as your armor regeneration, amount of grenades you can carry, etc. Weapon perks allow you to augment your damage, rate of fire, armor penetration, etc.
There are 41 levels to reach, and a multitude of perks available for each weapon and class. This alone makes the Multiplayer side of Space Marine a rich and varied experience.
There are two main types of customization, loadouts and appearance. You can set up multiple loadouts for each class, so that you can quickly select weapon/skill variations based on how you choose to play. In addition to your weapons you can modify your own look. You can pick from different chapter schemes or create your own, modifying almost any aspect of your armor.
There were a few hushed hints at future DLC. Somebody mentioned to me in passing of five man multiplayer missions and levels…but with the 40k universe the sky is the limit on what we might see.
Well I hope the article was interesting to our C&C readers. I’m looking forward to getting my SWAG copy of Space Marine in September, and hopefully soon I can play a little Kill Team when it is made available on the PSN.